A Grizzled Veteran
I was watching an exhibition college basketball game in which my team has eight freshmen this year. An older gentleman in front of me told me a story about one of the players. I missed the first exhibition game which was the very first college game for the eight. Apparently one of the new players was asked to check into the game. In his enthusiasm he bypassed the scorers table and just raced into the game. For those who do not follow basketball protocol new players in a game are required to go to the scorers table. The scorer will then make note of who they are replacing and pencil them into the line up. At a break in the action the scorer sounds the horn and the new player is allowed in. This is typical procedure in leagues from junior high through professional. I’m sure this particular player knew the procedure from his previous experiences but got caught up in the moment and the excitement of his first game. I remember a similar incident years ago. This time when the freshman was called into the game he was on his way to the scorers table. However, in his hurried state as he tried to get up and run over he slipped down face first as his feet apparently got ahead of his body! He scrambled to his feet and made it to the table amid much laughter from the fans.
Along with the ability to actually get to the scorers table and get checked into the game, freshmen are often required to perform next to and against veteran players. I’m sure the veterans on the team shake their heads with a smile as they remember a couple of years back when they were in the same position. It’s not easy for someone who has always been the star of their team to perform in a secondary role. In college everyone on the team was a star. That is why it is so hard for new players to adjust to their new surroundings. Often I see freshmen trying to make passes that may have worked in high school, but have no chance at the college level. What they don’t adjust for at the beginning is that players they are competing against now are bigger, stronger, faster, and can jump higher. In the basketball war everything must be accounted for. There is only so much that the freshmen can be taught. The rest will have to be an adjustment that they make on their own as they seek to fit into their new environment and reach their full potential.
I’ve heard the story so many times in interviews. Although the faces change the interview goes something like this. Interviewer to the veteran player, “You are playing with some young talent this year, What adjustments have you made?” The veteran player answers, “I’m just trying to be someone they can talk to and someone they can ask for help. I went through what they are going through. I want to lead by example, but also to be there for them. I want to be a leader that the coach can depend on to get his message to the young players!”
In January I started on this writing journey. Back in the 1990’s I wrote a christian poem book. It began as I turned to God for help after the tragic loss of my daughter. God in his mercy began giving me beautiful poems that were very helpful to others in their time of need. This went on for a few years before someone mentioned I should put them together in a book! As the years passed I often wondered how God could use those poems in a bigger way? Early this year someone gave me the idea to write on the internet and it seemed like the right thing to do. After all it is the world wide web right? I thought that I would just share the poems, but just as I felt the spirit telling me what to write in the poems, God started leading me in writing other things that can help others as well! It has been over ten months now and I am thankful for people all over the world who have visited my site! I’m so thankful for my new friends who have let me know that what I am doing has been helpful in their walk with God! The encouraging comments received on this site have been more uplifting than you will ever know!
Encouraging others that are trying to be useful in what they feel God wants them to do is very helpful! If someone has impacted your life in a positive way spiritually, make sure you tell them and encourage them to continue! This past month (October) this site had the fewest viewers of any one month since it’s existence. It’s at these times that it is easy to become discouraged. I asked someone who was one of the longest subscribers to this site the other day if he still read the articles? “Oh sometimes”, was his quick reply. “I get so much email that I can’t read everything.” I know in my experience with email I sort what is important to read with what is unimportant. Apparently in this case my site has fallen into the unimportant category. I have to ask myself these questions, Is the site still up to the quality that it has been? Are the articles relevant to everyday life and helpful? The answer to these questions I believe and which is confirmed in my spirit is yes it is!
Branch Rickey (the famous baseball general manager who initiated change throughout his career to make the players better and the game opened to all) stated “I would rather the errors of enthusiasm than the successes of complacency.” What he is saying is the player who is enthusiastic can have that enthusiasm channeled in the right direction! Being enthusiastic they will be more apt to listen to their coaches so they can do the best job possible! When the veteran player smiles at the freshmen, remembering what it was like for them, they also see hope as they see that enthusiasm being channeled for good!
The bigger issue is the complacency problem. As Christians it is easy to fall into this category. Daily life can scramble us until we lose track of our priorities. The veteran player looks at his new teammate and notices he is not listening anymore. The new teammate keeps making the same mistakes over and over. At first it was OK because everyone realizes there is a learning curve. Sooner or later though we are supposed to learn from our mistakes.
I stand before you a grizzled veteran. I have been shot and bloodied in this war and I’m still standing! I have seen my daughter and my parents die in combat and I miss them dearly. You have to realize that we are in a war here! The difference between a game and war is that if you make mistakes in a game you lose the game. In a war if you make mistakes you die! We all will die a physical death, but it is the spiritual death that concerns me.
The vision for this site is not only to encourage Christians, but to reach the lost. There needs to be more non threatening places people can go to find what they are missing in life. There has to be more of a reach out effort! I need your help, prayers, and encouragement to keep going to that goal! With God’s help we can do great things! I am speaking to you as a teammate in the fox hole and a grizzled veteran.
This video is about two brothers, a basketball player and a soldier and how their love for each other encourages and makes both stronger!