The varsity basketball team at Saint Albert put on a demonstration last night that contained many lessons. The lead changed back and forth multiple times throughout the game, but in the end, the Saint Albert Falcons came out on top by three points. What are the lessons? I choose three points of interest today.
1. Practice well. You play how you practice. Watching the fundamentals being executed well during the game shows that they have been practicing in a way that pays attention to detail. What made this stand out for me? I compared it to the play of the junior varsity in the game before it.
Time after time in the first game people were beat along the baseline. That is basic "no-no" that players learn from early on. Defensive players have to cut off the baseline.
Secondly, on multiple occasions in the first game the opposing team got numerous attempts to score because no one was blocking people from the boards. It is hard to win if you give your opponent three and four chances to score each time because of successful offensive rebounding.
Why do I point these things out? It shows that as the players age and grow, they can be taught the fundamentals as individuals. This results in success as a team. With good coaching and a strong work ethic, players gain the skills needed to execute these fundamentals. When it gels together as a team there is no limit to what can be achieved. This should fuel the junior varsity players to keep practicing well. It will bear fruit.
2. Teamwork is essential. There is no "stand-out" player for the Falcons. Thus, they have to work together if they are going to be successful. Each one has to pull his weight. It was evident last night that they are able to do that.
3. Persistence is an attribute that serves the team well. The Falcons began their season with five consecutive losses. They now have five consecutive wins to make them an even 5 and 5. What if they would have given up after three losses, four, or even five?
Do you practice well? You can use that question for a multitude of areas in life. Start with prayer. Do you pray frequently and fervently? Is your prayer life stronger now than it was five years ago?
Are you on a strong team? Do you belong to a faith community and participate fully in that community? Do you have a small group of people with whom you gather and pray? Do you hold one another accountable?
Are you persistent? When you fail and fall into sin, do you get back up and seek God's grace and forgiveness? Are you consistently striving to grow in virtue?
Basketball is a game and has only temporary consequences. The way we live has eternal consequences. Are we putting as much effort and attention into our spiritual walk with the Lord as we do many other worldly things?
I encourage you to reflect upon the priorities in your life? Are you satisfied with how things are arranged or are some changes needed?