Lately I have been reminded a lot of my younger years; man did I love to play hoops! I know I sound like the old man here but… I remember as a 4-yr-old heaving the ball up to the goal on the drive at our house on Boeke Rd. I remember back yard games on Rotherwood where we had to avoid the cracks in the raised concrete. I even remember games of HORSE, Line-21, and Around-the-World against my mom. I remember shoveling snow off the court by Chris’s house on Blackford so we could play. I remember showing up at Iglehart Park to play and having to wait our turn on the court and then trying to keep winning so we could stay on the court. I remember late night trips up to the Washington School lot to shoot baskets at the one goal illuminated by the light on the corner of the cafeteria. I even remember venturing into the inner city where most white boys didn’t go just to get in some good games. (Maybe that explains the missionary spirit that loves to go into different cultures…)
The point is that much of who I was as a ball player was developed on the streets, not in the gym. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the excitement of the organized games in the gyms but the playground is more of where I got a feel and love for the game.
As I was watching through some more of the ESPN stories on streetball dying out, I listened as old timers (like me) talked about the streets giving them a “hunger” for the game; about playing in the park giving them confidence; the playground was a “different atmosphere” being in the gym verses being outside; and one statement that really stood out to me made the observation that “we give them (kids) more today and they don’t take advantage of it.”
I understand the need for the organized stuff; I even host and conduct clinics and camps… I spent years as a coach… I do personal training for players. Yet being around those circles just solidifies my thoughts that kids need to be out on the streets/playgrounds/driveways more! This is where players are developed!
Now on to my adult soapbox as a believer that is commissioned by Christ to make a difference in the game of life! (And by the way you are commissioned as well if you have believed on the Lord Jesus Christ to be saved!)
The church is great at planning for “organized games inside the gym”; and I am not opposed to that. But the reality is that most believers do not have a “feel for the game” because they are just going through the motions that have been choreographed for them. I talk often with pastors that express the desire for their churches to be active in ministry only to follow up by asking how we can help draw people to their facilities.
As stated before I still host/conduct events to do just that… so what is my point this week? Those things are fine and dandy but what about you as an individual reader of this blog? Are you taking time to be out on the “playground”, in the “streets”, or maybe even on the “driveway” in your own neighborhood getting the job done? Are you “playing the game” in the non-choreographed places? This is where you will be developed!
Scriptural Picture: Acts 3 – Peter and John are on the way to the temple. It is a god thing to be “in the gym.” Yet an opportunity presents itself on the street to minister to a man. They ministered to him where he was; and the cool thing is that as a result the number in the temple grew since the man chose to go in with them after they took the time to “play the game in the streets.”