Friday, April 3, 2015

Basketball Lessons

I love basketball. I love playing basketball, watching basketball, reading and talking about basketball. I am obviously obsessed with basketball. Naturally I wanted to get into coaching and was blessed with the opportunity to coach a young men's high school basketball team this year in a CYM league. I was one of three assistant coaches on a team that hadn't won a game in two years. Visions of being a great coach, getting the most effort out of his players and transforming a team into a winner ran through my head. I wanted to be Phil Jackson, George Karl and Jason Kidd all in one.

As an assistant, I was in charge of running practices on Tuesday and Wednesday nights, running drills and scrimmages and designing plays. I really wanted to help make immediate improvement with the team from the past two years. Despite all of our efforts, however, the coaching team and players weren't able to register a single win this year for the third year in a row. It was definitely frustrating being the competitive guy that I am. Some of the other coaches playfully joked that all I needed to do was shave my beard and they would have an extra jersey for me. I just wished that I could be out there and get a win for this team. Sadly it was not meant to be.

Coaching this year, and being a fan on the sidelines watching this team in years past, made me realize how impatient I am. I hate waiting for results and I am not a fan of losing. I want to win and I wanted to win this year with this team. It wasn't until the last game of the year that I realized how short-sighted I was when it came to the team however.

To be a good coach, in my personal opinion, you have to be a disciplinarian, but at the same time you need to be a teacher for your players. In a down year, you have to be able to show your players how the game should be played, help them develop their games and prepare them for life.

This year of basketball taught me that I have a lot to learn as a coach and as a young man growing in the Church. Lent and Holy Week are also a period of harsh realization that nothing works the way you or I think it should. In the Passion of Christ that is read in the Gospel on Palm Sunday and Good Friday, we hear that so many of the Jewish people thought that the Messiah should have the characteristics of warrior. Seeing that Jesus was a sheer opposite in comparison, they arrested him, put him on trial falsely, humiliated him up to the point of death on a cross. After three days in a tomb, Christ rises and ascends to His heavenly throne.

I learned that nothing turns out the way you expect it to, no matter how hard you work for it. Sometimes you have to go through the nightmares to get to glory. Trophies don't go to the ones that have a good beginning. I think that is fitting that my coaching debut lasted through the Lenten season because this is what this period in the church is all about.

Isn't it beautiful that because of Christ we get to live life and earn a spot next to Him in heaven? Are we up for the test like Jesus was? We are not always going to have an easy go of it. We are not going to be champions right away like Christ. But aren't we lucky to have countless chances to make things right and reach our goal of heaven? Thanks be to God!

Have a Blessed Easter!

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