This past Saturday night, our son, Hunter and his team had a big basketball game. Big as in rivalry. Big as in they were on a six game winning streak. Big for district standings. Big as in an opponent that we can count the times on one hand that our team has beat them in the past 20 years. Just ask my husband about 1994, his senior year.
Saturday night’s game wasn’t a pretty game. We led at halftime by a basket. The baskets didn’t fall like our guys wanted them to. With about one minute left in regulation, it was 40-41. We had the ball. A shot went up. Miss. We got the rebound. Put it back up. Miss again. We got ANOTHER offensive rebound. We shot the ball again, right under the basket. If we make it,we are ahead. Miss again. The opponent gets the ball. We foul them. They make two free throws.
40-43. Timeout. It’s our ball at half court.
There was 17seconds left in the game. Mostly silence at the timeout in the gym. Sometimes I miss cheerleaders. Sometimes I think I am a cheerleader.
People in the crowd around me were saying, “Well that was their chance. If they were going to do it, it had to be those three shots. It’s over.”
But there was 17 seconds left. I sent up flares of prayer to God. Please. In our home gym. For the five seniors. Please God. Let us tie this game and then win.
My brother is the head coach for our team and I could see him drawing out the play on his clipboard. This was it.
The play worked. The open three-point shot came. Hunter shot it. As he will tell you, “I just felt it. I knew it was going in.”
It went in the rim and out. The opposing team rebounded the ball.
Game over. Hunter missed. We lost. It could have been any teammate on the court that took the shot. Anyone is capable of making that basket, just like anyone is capable of missing it.
But since it was our son. I have done my fair share of thinking of it over the past few days. He has done his own play-by-play in the kitchen, tossing wads of paper into the garbage can to tie the game and then win it.
He isn’t replaying the missed basket. He is playing to win.
There are layers of life lessons in team sports, lessons you don’t learn on your own. The missed shot will be one Hunter never forgets but is one that he is not dwelling on today. He has a team that encourages him, that needs him and that is playing to win.
In life, we all miss, again and again. We miss more shots than we make. Somehow we have to move on from the misses, forgive our failures and bury them in the past. We have to keep living in the present, chasing after the goals and dreams ahead of us.
Tomorrow night, from our past winter storm scheduling issues, we play the same opponent again. In their home gym. In their town. It’s big. And no one on our team is afraid to miss. Everyone is playing to win.