By Greg Johnson
You’re one of eight players on your YMCA basketball team. This is only your second year of playing competitively, but you’ve picked it up fairly well. You can dribble with your right hand without looking, and can almost dribble left-handed. You’re good a lay-ups and free throws, but not too hot on the shot from the side. As one of the guards who brings the ball down the court, you can usually get it to the forwards and center without throwing it away.
It’s Saturday morning and you’re playing another team. Today you’re in the starting lineup. Though you were feeling good in warm-ups, the game isn’t going to well. By the end of the first quarter, you’ve missed all three of your shots and the other team has stolen the ball from you twice. Plus, you’ve thrown the ball away once and dribbled it out of bounds another time. Not a good start.
Your team is down by seven as play begins in the second quarter. As you sit on the bench and cheer your teammates on, they make a comeback and tie the game at seventeen. With three minutes left in the quarter, the coach puts you back in. Your first pass is intercepted and the player goes for a lay-up. As you’re inbounding the ball, your foot is on the line. Violation, other team’s ball. They score again to go up by four. You begin to get a sick feeling in your stomach because you can’t seem to do anything right. Your goal now is to make sure you don’t touch the ball. The half ends after you miss two easy shots from inside the key.
Unfortunately, the second half gets worse. Every time you’re out of the game, the team comes back. Every time you’re in, you turn the ball over. In fact, you miss another four shots and turn the ball over five more times. You can see the frustration on the coach’s and players’—and parents’—faces. You team ends up losing by fifteen.
After the game the coach takes you aside and gently mentions a few things you need to work on. All of your teammates walk by while he’s talking to you. You know you need his help, but you feel embarrassed.
Questions to Think On
• Have you ever felt badly because you let others down by not measuring up?
• What do the words “being humbled” mean to you?
• Though it doesn’t feel good to not do as well as you’d like, what can you learn from failing?
• Mom and Dad: Describe a time when you failed, how you felt, and what those around you said.
What Does God Have to Say?
He who listens to a life-giving rebuke will be at home among the wise. Proverbs 15:31
Before his downfall a man’s heart is proud, but humility comes before honor.