She was a rising third grader back then when she signed up for her first basketball camp at school.
Back when she considered giving up.
Now Grace is a rising sixth grader with three years of practice and games under her belt. She’s signed up for a week ofcamp.
And she’s fired up.
She tells the girl across the street she can’t play Sunday afternoon because she has to “train” for camp the next morning. So she shoots some baskets, then runs down the road and back, shoots some more.
“Grandma, can you come out and bounce me some passes?”
So I go outside and bounce the ball, and she turns and dribbles and fakes a pass and shoots. Then I get low and get in her face. I steal the ball and shoot.
“Grandma! You made it!”
I shoot again. “My form’s not so good.”
She agrees. “But you’re sixty-five years old!”
“Sixty-four,” I correct her. “Sixty-FOUR.”
When we come in, she sets out her new bright orange shoes with the yellow laces, her orange and black socks, and her aqua and orange sandals.
And come cool sunshine morning, we head south several miles–far enough that I decide to hang around for seven hours rather than drive back and forth. Besides, Grace likes an audience.
I’m glad I can do all this so my daughter can stay home with the younger grandgirl–even though I should be home writing this post.
I slouch on a metal bleacher amid backpacks and bags and sweatshirts and lunch boxes and sacks and water bottles and jugs and a rainbow of Gatorades. The gym echoes with the bounces of fifty plus balls until it’s time for the kids to hold the noise for the first instructions.
And as I listen throughout the morning, I take notes because these things the camp director is saying, they make me sit up straight and take note.
1. Always be ready to play. Stay low, and keep your head up. Your body follows your head.
2. There’s so much about the game you can’t control. The referee might make a bad call. Your coach might pull you out. The ball may refuse to go into the basket. But you have complete control over how hard you play.
3. Once you jump, get right back into ready position.
4. You will make mistakes. Let them go. What’s the next play?
5. Focus on the target.
6. Be the best you can be, whether the visible star player or the twelfth person on the bench.
7. Don’t make free throws harder than than they need to be. Take a deep breath. Dribble three times. Then shoot.
8. Hang in and play on through noisy distractions.
9. You have to listen to your coach and do what you’re told even if it sounds crazy.
Can you draw any spiritual applications from these notes? Do they remind you of any scriptures?