This past weekend Josiah finished his first and probably last season of basketball.
In September when we signed Josiah up for basketball he was so excited to be playing. We knew he loved soccer, but he wanted to try another sport and we were supportive of it. Practices started in November and things were going great. I was anticipating having to make him choose between basketball and soccer, but there ended up being no contest. After the second game Josiah came to me and said he was tired of basketball.
“I don’t want to play basketball Mom,” he said. “I don’t like dribbling and I’m not good at it. I just want to kick the ball.”
I think the season would have gone differently but we didn’t have a very good experience with our coach. The coaches are just parents who happen to know a little bit about basketball and volunteer so their kids can play. At this age kids are supposed to get even playing time and are basically learning the principles of the game.
Our basketball team, which consisted of six children, was really only a team of two — the coach’s son and the assistant coach’s daughter. Those two kids spent at least 75% of the game with the ball in their hands. The rest of the kids spent time taking turns on the bench and running up and down the court.
I’m not one of those parents that gets all worked up because their kid doesn’t get to play, but I was NOT the only one noticing the trend. The worst part for me was when Josiah got to where he didn’t even want to try anymore. When he told me he didn’t want to play anymore I explained to him that I was OK with him not wanting to play anymore, but he had to finish the season.
I told him that when he agreed to play basketball he made a promise to his coach and his team that he was going play the entire season. He said fine and moved on. The next weekend he played the worst game I’ve ever seen him play. Honestly he wasn’t even trying he was just running back and forth. I asked him after the game what his deal was and he started going on and on about how he didn’t like playing.
This was difficult for me. I really wanted to tell him that I was sorry he hated basketball and that he could miss the next four games and just forget basketball altogether. I wanted to tell the coach that he shouldn’t play favorites and his favoritism has caused unnecessary problems. I wanted to tell him that it was completely understandable that since his coach wasn’t expecting 100% he didn’t have to give 100%.
Despite the fact that his coach wasn’t expecting 100%, I was expecting 100% and so was God. I told him that no matter what God always expected us to do our best.
This is a lesson that isn’t just about basketball, but about many choices we have in life. There will be teachers that don’t expect much, but we still have to give our best. There will be jobs that we hate with bosses that we hate and yet we will still have to give our best.
This basketball season Josiah had to learn that he will not always be the best or the fastest and he may get overlooked, but no matter what he should always do his very best and try his hardest. It doesn’t matter what other people think of him, it’s about how God sees him.