Growing up as a kid in Atlanta meant that I had pretty much every sport available to me. Both to watch and to play. Early on I played soccer and roller hockey at the Peachtree Booster club. I played little league baseball at the Doraville Recreation fields. I played baseball, and basketball on church leagues. I even remember hanging out with friends on golf courses and picking up abandoned balls, cleaning them up, and selling them to people in the neighborhood. (not my neighborhood, but a friend from church.) There was tennis, kickball, flag football…everything.
Love of baseball turned to drama at the Doraville Arts Theatre, which probably turned me more towards my destiny of geekdom. I loved those times doing plays and musicals. This led to chorus in middle school where I met my wife. (That story at another time) Which led to high school chorus…where eventually Gina and I started dating and the rest is history.
Growing up, I was always picked on. I had a low self esteem and ended up trying to make up for it by saying and/or doing things that just added to the bullies ammo. It all came down to me not having the confidence to stand up for myself. Now I realize that I was really no different than any kid. Maybe shorter – not physically fit and the thick glasses from 2nd grade didn’t really help either.
But I still loved sports. I would stand outside for hours playing baseball, basketball, or football by myself. I’d pretend that I was in an important game and was dominating. I feel that I was a pretty good athlete, but wasn’t put in the position to really develop. And, I had my creative juices that needed to be fed through chorus and drama. Ultimately, that won out.
So where does the title to this blog come in? Highschool. My growth spurt happened between my freshman and sophmore year. I came back after the summer break and was seemingly a foot taller than those people I sang with in chorus. I was in showchoir, and the joke was that I was shorter than my partner before summer and taller after summer. The new found height pushed me more into love of basketball. I played in church leagues and played into late hours of the night at home.
I ended up playing pickup games after church with whoever would play. It was great. I was a tall and skinny center. Having no real dribble skills and absolutely no muscle meant that I had to find other ways to shoot the ball. Picture this gangly looking kid trying to do “sky hook shots” over my opponents. I tell you, it was ugly. But it was the way that I had some control and chance to score. I’m not sure what my shooting percentage was (Lousy I know) but that was how I could help add to the team… Well… that and 3 pointers. But, I remember those other players like Bobby Gastley who would make it a point to involve all. That made me feel special. I would often look up and see the ball coming my direction right at the time that I had the perfect chance to make a shot.
And I had the ugliest 3 point shot of anyone. I would often venture out to the line and instead of doing a jump shot, I’d take the ball directly over the top of my head and arc it back towards the net. I actually had a pretty good 3 point shot. Many nights at home shooting the same shots over and over will lead to that.
I was reminded about all this today. I was playing the role of Referee today for 5, 6, and 7 year olds at church. Looking at these kids and seeing the love of a game in their eyes. One boy who I coached last year bringing the ball up the court with calm and determination. The “tall for his age” kid who shot over 4 defenders in the lane and made the basket. The kids who are hesitant to rebound and when the ball comes ricocheting off the rim they flinch and take cover. Wow it is so much fun.
In our daily christian walk, there are times where we need to bring the ball up with confidence. We need to take control of the game – either pick up the pace or slow it down to get in control. We need to know when to pass to a friend and when to drive the lane. We need to be ready with arms up to rebound when our teammates need us. We need to follow the rules that God has given us in this game of life. We need to involve every member of our team to assist them to their full potential.
The Church is one big team. We shouldn’t play games against each other to “win” other believers to our team. We are already on the same team. We should be out there reaching those who don’t know our Coach and don’t know His gameplan. This isn’t a farm system/minor league Church. We are all apart of the professional team that has a mission. We have a playbook. We have a God that wants us to win.
Ugly Hook Shot or Not.