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Lives Through Us

And Through Us


A few years back I had the great opportunity to coach 5th and 6th grade basketball. It was one of the best growing experiences of my life. I got to watch, as my team came together and put into action, the plan I had tried to instill in them. Sometimes it all fell apart and then my job was to encourage and teach. Sometimes it actually worked and the ball went through the hoop at the right end of the court.


As a new coach, I soon realized that players on my team were pretty much all new to the game. Coaches usually followed their son’s from 3rd grade on up to 8th grade and often recruited the best available players before the season began. The guys on my squad were all either new to basketball or new to the district. What made our chances of winning even less possible was, that this was my first time coaching. A big part of the task was to get to know and trust each other. The results the first few games were pretty dismal, though we tried to stay positive and keep believing in each other. After a few games I could see that we were starting to come together. This meant that instead of getting beat by 30 we were getting beat by 10 or 12. By the end of the year we actually won a few games. We did so by having better teamwork than our opponents. To reinforce this, we only kept track of one statistic, assists. They learned the often overlooked secret in 5th and 6th grade basketball, that a good pass creates a good shot. This is also true in life.


Near the end of the year there was still one boy who had not made a basket. We decided as a team that we would try to make that happen. We kept passing the ball until he was open. After a few misses and then a few more, we were loosing pretty badly. Finally he made a basket. All the boys ran over to him and congratulated him. The fans at the game who could see what we were trying to do also cheered. Before we knew what happened, the other team had gone down and scored. It didn’t even matter. At the end of the game we didn’t have more points on the board, but we did have a great team.


I can imagine God being like a great coach, albeit, one who gets fewer technicals than I did. God is part encourager, part teacher and part fan. As a pastor I get excited when the church pulls together and participates in doing things much greater than we could do alone. I am sure God does too. Yes, the task of being the Good News to our neighbors is a tall one. One we will need much practice at, and the help of a good team, to do well. I am not sure if any of the kids on my team will grow up to be great at basketball, but I hope they will grow up knowing the value of a great team.

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