Monday, April 9, 2012

Did I ever tell you how much I don't care for basketball?

Oh, but I've learned to enjoy it. At the end of March, known for its basketball hoopla and madness, I was invited to attend our goddaughter's trip to the Lutheran Basketball Association of America (LBAA) National Tournament. It was close to home and while I had some competing priorities, everything fell into place so I could spend an afternoon and evening with our extended family of friends from Southern Indiana.

I will admit, I wasn't going for the basketball by any means. I've never really caught the fever, so to speak. I remember a long ago Chicago Bulls run at the NBA Championship. I can't tell you the year, I can only say it was just at the tail of Michael Jordan's era, and now I can't even tell you if they won or lost. It was exciting, and I hadn't watched or kept up with any team sports at that time. By the next season, I think it was delayed by some sort of strike or disagreement, I had lost all interest.

Enter in the day long visit with friends on the nearby Valparaiso University campus. We met for lunch in Merrillville, and parted for a few hours after so they could go back to their hotel and recoup. I realized it had been more than two years since our last visit. Somewhat shameful on our part, but I also recognize how busy each of our families have been in that time, and the personal tragedies we've encountered. The kids are certainly growing up quickly and they make me happy and proud to be their godparents.

I sat with the mom and dad and watched part of a boys' game. They're tall eighth and seventh graders, and they're focused and strong. The girls' teams are really no different. We faced a delay of game and waited to watch our star's team play. Our goddaughter didn't get any court time in the game I watched--the opposing team was aggressive in a questionable way, the referees were making dubious calls against our team, or not making calls against the opposing team, and yet the team was on fire. The energy was not merely on the court, it was on the bench and in the fan section as well.

I've been having a difficult time getting the impact of that energy out of my head. I don't want it to leave, mind you. It has become a vital part of my day. The sweetness of the support for these young women who were on the court after delays which served only to increase their nerves was unbound. And its message has taken hold and carried forth outside the doors. This was such a blessing to my Holy Week observance. I can't count the number of times I chanted, " I! I believe!" in moments of quiet, and in my head. While sports were at hand, I believe the voices were lifted in support of the Creator, in support of all that is good, in support of what it means to have a shared vision, in support of what it means to Believe.

I! I believe! (In Basketball and so much more!)

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