[free throw tension]
Sam and I went to watch a basketball game a couple of weeks ago, and because I wasn’t feeling the greatest, I was really into my observer’s mode. It was a European Final for 16 year olds. (Gosh, those kids are tall! Sam and I met a few of them at the store when we went to get some water and munchables… The top of my head could easily fit under one of the guys’ armpits… and I am 5’10″… Oh well.)
The tension was almost tangible.
Serbia and Spain, the two teams who got to the final, were good (obviously, since they made it to the final game.) Four periods of the game ended with a tie – 55 points each.
Foul on Serbian side.
Rodriguez, #12, from Spain stands at the free throw line, bouncing the ball against the floor and trying to calm his breathing and concentrate.
He takes the ball into his hands, and the crowds are thrown into a frenzy.
Cheers, yells, boos, whistles… all around, the noise erupts.
But Rodriguez has one goal. He needs to score a ball. If he scores, his team wins.
Spain yells in desperation, Serbia yells in jubilation.
Five more minutes were added to the game.
Two minutes remaining of the additional time, the very same Samuel Rodriguez scored a two-pointer that won the cup for the Spain.
As I watched, I wondered… it must be hard to concentrate with all this noise around.
Granted, they train to concentrate on the ball and on teammates instead of the crowd, but it’s hard to tune it out sometimes. Especially when you’re at the free throw line and every single eye is on you because you’re the one with the ball and you have to perform.
In Christian life, it is the same way.
There are crowds cheering you on, and there are even bigger crowds whose only desire is to see you lose.
There are your teammates and people who are playing against you.
And there are times when all attention is on you – how will you react, what will you say or do in a given situation…
When someone is driving you up the wall – will you snap at that person or will you try to remain calm and solve the issue peacefully?
When you’ve got more than you can handle – will you whine or will you work and do your best no matter what?
When you’ve been fouled… will you take revenge?
It’s not easy, but what I’ve observed in my own life – when you don’t give up and still stick to your principles, it pays off.
Most of the time, you don’t get to see the results (unfortunately). You’ve been the sower, someone else is a reaper. Yet, there are results. There’s nothing that goes unnoticed. (We usually think of that phrase in a negative sense, but good things also are noticed.)
Perhaps, we still miss the basket sometimes (or often). Perhaps we still need to work on our free throws…
Yet we shouldn’t let the crowd’s boos and yells intimidate us.