Lessons From Basketball

Continuing with my life lessons from everyday things, today I want to focus on a simple element from the game of basketball.

When I was younger, I was very active in sports. However, I was not blessed with a lot of physical tools which made me a natural athlete. I am not very tall, by athlete standards, (unless you’re talking about jockeys, then I’m Shaquille O’Neal.) I couldn’t jump all that high. And I certainly wasn’t very fast. I spent some time at an orphanage in Mexico, and one of my favorite things to do was play basketball with the kids. One of the older boys gave me a cool sounding nickname. I felt pretty special. I mean, he said it almost with a reverential tone. He dubbed me, “Tortuga”. Wow, it’s so percussive. It just sounds powerful! It sounds majestic! I couldn’t wait to get home and get a personalized license plate that said, “Tortuga.”

When I proudly reported to my mom that the boys gave me a cool nickname, she laughed.

How can you laugh at me? I am Tortuga!

That’s when she sprung the news to me. Tortuga means “turtle”.

That whooshing sound you hear was my ego flying around the room like a violently deflated balloon.

Anyway, back to basketball. When you shoot a basketball during the context of a game, you’re typically being defended. When you lift off from the ground to take a larry_bird_jump_shotjump shot, the defender instinctively will jump with you, with their arm extended in hopes of blocking your shot. If nothing else, they want to distract you with their pressure.

As you look at the picture to the right, you’ll notice the shooter’s eyes. They’re not fixed on the distraction, but the goal. He’s fully aware of the presence of the guy in front of him, but his concentration is greater than the would-be distraction.

My life is filled with potential distractions. As I write this, I am still unemployed. My bills continue to arrive, and oh by the way, Christmas is just over two weeks away.

Guess who that is waving a hand in my face trying to distract me.

The lesson is that no matter what leaps into my life in hopes of jostling my faith, I must keep my eyes on the goal; God. My faith, my focus, my devotion must be greater than the obstacles set in my path to rock my world. Like the basketball player, we must practice the fundamentals which will help us experience success, no matter what conditions are before us. Keeping our eyes fixed on the Lord is the first step. Taking your eyes off of Him and putting your focus on the obstacles will certainly create instability in your life.

So this is where I am. There’s a lot of stuff going on around me which are very real, and very important. I’m keenly aware of them. But my eyes are fixed on Jesus. He is my goal. I trust He’ll see me through.

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