Basketball season is drawing to a close, which always puts me in a reflective mood. One of the key moments as the season winds down is our last home game. It is a time to recognize and honour our Grade 12 players, in the final opportunity they will have to play in front of our home town fans. I always come to this game with sadness, because it means that the relationship I have worked to build with these players over the last several years is transitioning. It’s also a time of joy and thankfulness because this moment forces me to evaluate how my assistants and I have done in coaching. Have we accomplished what we set out to do? Of course this leads to another question, “What are we trying to do as we coach Senior Girl’s Basketball?”
I told you this time of year makes me reflective.
When it comes to basketball I have a phrase that I come back to over and over. “It’s bigger than a scoreboard.” Our goal as coaches is to build people. We want the girls on our team to learn the long term life skills of sacrifice for a cause greater than themselves, loving service of the other, and that the circumstances around them don’t determine who they are. As a follower of Jesus, I want the girls to get a taste of what it means to be loved unconditionally by God and for the relationships I have with them to create a hunger in them to know who Jesus is.
Of course, we also want to win games, but it’s possible to win games, be seen as a successful team, and miss the boat on what is really important. This year I am encouraged. Our season, as far as the standings go, was not the best. But our one graduating senior actually embodies very well what we are trying to do in our program. As I recognized Camryn for her amazing season and the person that she has become, I saw several of the past graduates of our program in the stands, tearing up because of what moments like this meant and mean to them. Something is happening in the hearts and lives of these young women, and in my own heart.
What does all this have to do with transitions? I am being reminded that relationships go through transitions - people come in and out of our lives on a repeated basis. The question is this, “While they are here with me, how are I impacting them?” In the gospel of Mark, Jesus chooses His disciples. It says in Mark 3:14, “He appointed twelve that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach.” He called people to be with Him, knowing the time would come that He would send them out. All of our relationships will in some way, some day, transition in how they function. Are we living today with that perspective? Are the relationships we have valued and cherished, understanding what a gift it is to be a part of each other’s lives, even if it’s only for a short time?
At almost every funeral I do some family member mentions how great it is to be with the family as a larger group, regretting that it took a death of someone they loved to remind them of this. I guess this post is my attempt to remind you to look around and cherish the relationships you have right now. God has put these people in your life for a reason, and if you will be open to what is actually going on, life changing things can happen. You may not even realize it until later. But if we are too busy to open our mind and heart to what is happening at the present moment we risk losing so much. I will miss coaching Camryn, but I am looking forward to seeing what God has planned for her future, and am so thankful that He gave me the opportunity to be a part of that. Acknowledging that gift with thankfulness helps me to not lose sight of the others around me and the role I get to play in their lives and they in mine.
I am the richest of all men.