Monday, December 6, 2010

December 6, 2010 - When is it time to quit?

As a coach and a dad I often am faced with situations where players want to quit. As a general rule I believe that if you start something and commit to it, then you should finish it out.

Yet there have been times with players that they came to me and had legitimate reasons for wanting to quit. Maybe it was an academic reason or simply a conflict in time with something that was truly a higher priority. (One time it was as simple as a player tht wasn't respecting his momma so his dad and I agreed that he would have a leave of absence for an attitude adjustment.)

I came to a new point with one of my sons this past week. I told him that I fully understood if he wanted to quit his team.

I had watched part of his practice one day and was so proud of him. He worked his butt off! He is not near being the fastest guy on his team, yet I saw him finish first or second in each of the runs. He is not the most skilled player on his team but he competed hard. The day following that practice he anxiously went to his game (also knowing that his grandpa was in town from Inidiana.)

As we got to the game we waited for him to be put into the game. Once in the other team had gone to full court pressure and had a small guy that was simply too fast for my son. The smaller guy stole the ball a few times in a short amount of time and my son's coach immediately pulled him out. And there my son sat until the final 30 seconds of the game. I watched as his spirit was crushed. (Yeah, yeah I know there are many kids that go through this, but not all have a dad that is a coach or an older brother that is a gifted player.)

The reason I told him I understood if he wanted to quit was because to me it was more important to let my son know that his identity was not tied to a basketball game. I wanted him to know that his self-esteem should not be built by a game. I wanted him to know that I loved him the same if he were on the floor or on the bench - or not playing at all.

What he did surprised me and thrilled me. He went to the next practice. Today he played the next game. He chose to persevere and honor commitment even though I gave him an "out."

To me I was even more thrilled because I had just preached a sermon about the Apostle Paul when he was imprisoned in Philippi. When his chains were loosed and the prison doors were opened, he chose to stay for the good of others; he chose to honor God over "freedom." Maybe he understood that freedom was not truly found in circumstances. He ignored the "loosed chains and open doors" I offered him.

I believe my son showed great character. I believe he is growing. I believe he handled more maturely than I would have. (It was such an amazing show of character that I had to wonder if I was more the one that was ready to quit so I didn't endure the pain.) Ultimately a few splinters from the bench are not a reason to retreat from a commitment!

Acts 16:
22 Then the multitude rose up together against them; and the magistrates tore off their clothes and commanded them to be beaten with rods. 23 And when they had laid many stripes on them, they threw them into prison, commanding the jailer to keep them securely. 24 Having received such a charge, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks. 25 But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. 26 Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were loosed. 27 And the keeper of the prison, awaking from sleep and seeing the prison doors open, supposing the prisoners had fled, drew his sword and was about to kill himself. 28 But Paul called with a loud voice, saying, “Do yourself no harm, for we are all here.” 29 Then he called for a light, ran in, and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. 30 And he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31 So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.”

Honor! Commitment! Perseverance! Great ways to show a solid testimony!

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