Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Life's Lessons

Today's idea came from a Facebook posting a half a world away.  A friend from high school, who was a basketball star (he's going to hate that "was" I put in there, lol) and is now a professional basketball coach in Austrailia posted a message that struck a chord in me today.  He's seen and lot of young men in various states of maturity, including himself, as a high school player, then a college athlete, and now as a coach.  He posted today that coaching is "teaching life lessons through basketball blessings."

As a university teacher, I too see a lot of young people at various stages of maturity.  As a teacher in an urban neighborhood where often life is hard scrabble, getting to the next goal, the next paycheck, the end of the semester, even the next meal or the next bus ride, are more than little mental victories. They are the portrait of survival. Sincere relief is felt in paying the bills and having money left over to buy books, being able to reschedule a job interview so class isn't missed.  Where's the joy, though? It's often found on the basketball courts, where release of problems is absolute, pure, and golden.  Defend your position against an opponent, pass the ball, move down the court, catch the ball, drive for the basket. The activity is removed from the daily struggles, and it helps to leak the toxins of the world out of your pores. It's focused, it's energetic, it's a place where victory has hope each day.

I've had a lot of young men come through my classes, many who needed a push or a kick in the pants, just like I know my friend does on the court.  Even more, though, need to be taught focus, follow through, being the leader instead of the follower, and how to make their skills work for them, not against them.  My friend does that on the court, too.  He's handing out those life lessons where they want to be. I hope they appreciate him, along with those lessons.

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