The Basketball Hoop

The Basketball Hoop

I will always remember a specific event in my life that changed me forever. It changed my thinking, it changed my future, it changed my purpose and it changed my motivations. I was only 18. I had graduated from high school, had plans set to attend community college, I had a good job working at a movie theater, great friends, a supportive family and a girlfriend of 2 years I thought I would marry. I had the world in my hands, so I thought. More about this story later.

Some moments happen in life and we forget (where were you and what were you doing in 1982, 1996 or 2015?). Some events we kind of remember (birthdays, holidays, vacations), some events we don’t recall all the details (conversations, activities, sports, performances, etc.). Other events happen that are historical, personal or traumatic that we vividly remember. I remember the day I saw and met my wife. I remember in elementary school watching the shuttle explode. I remember a car accident I was in at 16. I remember my first U2 concert. I remember 9/11. I remember riding on the back of my mom’s bike and catching my heel in the spokes and having to go get stitches. I remember an accident I witnessed with a motorcyclist getting hit by another vehicle a few years ago. I remember a bad accident at summer camp last year. I remember numerous trips to Urgent care and the E.R. I remember when my grandma (me me) died, I was 10. I remember my wedding day and the birth of all my 3 boys.  I remember the day I had to put our dog Dakoda down. I remember when the Rams won the Superbowl! I remember so many events with clear detail. I’m sure one day we will look back and remember the Covid-19 pandemic and the current crisis in our nation as well. What do you remember?

Back to my story. It was a normal Thursday night of work in late August of 1992 at the theatre (Mann Theatre Poca Fiesta 4 – to be exact). I was in the concessions area in between the movie rush, making more popcorn. All of a sudden my girlfriend showed up to surprise me… so I thought. She did come with a surprise. A surprise break up. Ouch! My heart dropped… I was in shock. She walked out and the sadness hit me like a truck. I left work.  I didn’t know what to do or where to go. I just knew I didn’t want to talk to anyone. I drove mindlessly with tear filled eyes. I ended up at my elementary school (Alma Elementary School where we used to play “dunk ball” on nine foot rims). It was a place my friends and I spent a lot of time playing basketball. I went to the courts under the moonlight and started to shoot around. I was mad, confused, hurt, broken hearted, devastated and sad. I’m not sure how long I was there or how many shots I made or missed, but no one knew where I was. No cell phones back then. I was sweaty and smelled like popcorn. Then my dad showed up. I thought I was in trouble for sure. It had to have been at least Midnight. I didn’t say anything. I just kept shooting my basketball, crying and thinking. Why? What did I do? She must have found someone else. I’m not good enough. Life is over.

My dad came over in silence. He stood at the bottom of the hoop and rebounded the ball and passed it back to me. This probably happened for about 20-25 minutes. No words. Just the sound of a basketball bouncing and the chain hoop net. Then in the dark quietness my dad said, “Son I know this is hard, but be confident that He who began a good work in you will be faithful to carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus”. My dad stood there at the bottom of the hoop for another few minutes as I continued to shoot my basketball. He rebounded and passed me the ball. This went on for who knows how long. It seemed like an eternity. My dad then said “Take whatever time you need. I’ll see you at home, I love you son”.

I will always remember this moment. I share it with others. I’ve used it in teaching students. I use it with hurting clients. I use it in my own life to remember that God is faithful and will carry me through anything. I’ve lost a lot in life… pets, relationships, a child, family and much more. I have experienced hurt, pain, loss, death and darkness. However I have “confidence” that things aren’t finished in my life yet. There is a lot of happiness, healing and joy that has happened and is to come. I just know it and believe it… because of my trust and faith.

I don’t know your story or your current situation. Maybe you are experiencing sadness, heart break, loss, pain, or devastation. Your situation is real and the emotions you are feeling are true and valid. However I hope you can see someone standing at the bottom of your basketball hoop, passing you the ball and saying to you “be confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6

I hope you know there is someone in your life who stands at the bottom of your hoop who will catch your rebound and who supports, encourages and loves you. I don’t know who that is, but you do and you never know when they might show up.

Thanks dad! And thank you Jesus for your promise!

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