Playing our best to the very end

2 Aug


© 2014 Lydia Liu, Flickr | CC-BY | via Wylio

I took my son (who is 9) to his community basketball game. He loves the sport, enjoys his team, and plays hard.  This season has been hard, and they are not the best team. They lost today’s game by the score of 45 to 0.


The zero is not a type-o.

As my son struggled on the court, I found myself on the sidelines trying to deal with my own emotions. My son was the team’s only dribbler who could get it down the court, and when he was out (which by league rules was every other four minutes), they stole the ball every single time. I watched as time after time, the opposing team would attack the ball at half court, steal it, and make a lay-up.

At some point in this game – remember it is a game – a coach might call his team to back off, back up (to maybe three point line), and allow the other team to shoot the ball. I kept thinking he would, but it didn’t happen.  He yelled at them the entire game.

With five seconds left, the coach called a timeout in order to ensure my son’s team wouldn’t even get a last chance to put a point on the scoreboard. Following the game, three of the boys sat on the bench crying.

After the game, I overheard a parent tell this coach- “Good game.”

Was it a good game? At what point, do we as parents (regardless of which side our child is on) question the “goodness” of such a game? At what point, do we wonder if something is wrong?

Apparently, some people believe winning is not enough to win. Apparently, some people believe you must do your very best to the very end. However, I think doing your best includes looking across the court, across the room, and across the world to see how our best can actually lead to the destruction to others.

I want my children to know that a game is a game. I want them to know that there comes a point when you work to make the game enjoyable for all.

The following night at practice, I asked my son how practice went. My son replied, “Well, I was playing offense in a drill against my team. I kept scoring, and they were just not getting it. “So I pulled back, so they would learn what the coach wanted without getting discouraged.”

I am thankful my son naturally had this insight that others lack. A way of life that doesn’t work towards their own best interests, but also looks to the interests of others. This is a way of life that I believe Christ would call us to follow. This style of play is truly winning.

Philippians 2

Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.
You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.

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