Thursday, June 18, 2015

The Secret To Beating Lebron James

One more day of basketball camp and the summer of 2015 is in the books! The three weeks have flown by, interrupted Tuesday by potential flooding of Tropical Storm Bill which never panned out, praise God! I have two teams of girls as always, the Panthers in the morning and the Clippers in the afternoon. This is Shooting/Competition Week which translates into more fun than the other sessions. We teach the campers a number of shooting games like Hot Shot, Around The World, Free Throw Swish, etc. They love it and so do the coaches- it's a much easier format than the other sessions. And, in truth, it's a great way for the kids to test their shooting skills versus other youngsters their age as well as the clock. Believe me, the hours do not drag by in the shooting camps.

Yesterday, I paid my afternoon squad a rare compliment. As a group, I told all eight of them I would love to coach them and have them on my WCS team. I meant it. These eight, a mixture of kids I have known for years and kids I just met, listen well and something you can't overvalue, they like each other. Later in the afternoon, camp director and WCS boys' coach, Trey Austin, introduced another shooting game called Beat Lebron James. When I first heard of the contest back at the David Lipscomb camps of Don Meyer in Nashville, it was called Beat Bill Bradley. Subsequently, it became Beat Magic Johnson, Beat Larry Bird, Beat Michael Jordan, Beat Tim Duncan, etc. Here's the way it works. You have a shooter and a rebounder. The shooter must move around the outside of the free throw lane, hopefully challenging themselves with difficult shots. Every time they make a shot, they get a point. Each time they miss, Lebron gets two. First to 10 wins. A little math shows that to win, you have to make ten shots while missing no more than four, or in math terms, higher than a 70% clip. The best score for each team gets their name written on the wall on a poster. It might not sound like a big deal but competitive kids want to win and competitiveness is a huge factor in becoming a good player.

On the Clippers, two players defied the odds and beat Lebron, both by a 10-6 score. I asked Trey what to do and he said have a playoff, letting each young lady shoot another round. And so they did. I was fascinated by what I witnessed. The girls who tied were Gaby and Gabri who happen to be teammates at another Houston faith-based school. When they were playing to break the deadlock, they rebounded for each other but more importantly, they cheered for each other. Gaby cheered for Gabri to win and Gabri cheered for Gaby to win. It wasn't forced, either- it was genuine. Honestly, I don't remember who won the shoot-off because that became secondary to the story. Everybody can't win but to me, they both did, regardless of a name scrawled by a Sharpie on a piece of poster board.

Truthfully, one of the drawbacks in coaching girls, at least for guys, is the sometimes lack of competitiveness I see. This is a generalization but often, guys want to win and girls want to cooperate. (Also, girls are more thoughtful and give Christmas presents but that's another issue!) And yet, it doesn't have to be one or the other. Both Gaby and Gabri wanted to do their best but that didn't mean they didn't want their friend to also do her best. Believers, including me, could learn a lesson from these buddies. When we all succeed, the Lord is glorified. Christianity is not a contest of righteousness, aka Beat John The Baptist. It's a coordinated effort, or it least it should be, to honor our Savior, Jesus Christ. What did they call Barnabas? The Son of Encouragement! Pretty good title for anybody unless you are female and then Daughter of Encouragement is in order. Lebron, probably the best player on the planet, had a wonderful NBA finals against the Warriors but his Cavaliers ultimately fell short. But that wasn't all. He also lost to two fourteen year old girls he will never meet in an non-air conditioned gym in Houston, Texas. I just hope he doesn't get discouraged!

Applicable quote of the day:
I don't want anybody to know my identity. I'm like a superhero. Call me Basketball Man.
Lebron James

God bless,
Luke 18:1
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