lenten journal: taking my shot


To paraphrase an old commercial, “I don’t play basketball, but I watch it on TV.”

Actually, I played on one team when I was in sixth grade. We were on leave from Africa and living in Fort Worth. I was on the Royal Ambassadors team for our church. (If you don’t know what Royal Ambassadors are, ask someone who used to be Southern Baptist.) Everyone else on the team had played together for years; I had never played in an organized game. They were really good and had been the perennial league champions. I was then—and remain—an amazingly average athlete.

Late in the first half, the coach told me to go in as a substitute. I didn’t know I had to check in at the scorer’s table. I just walked out on the court and told the other kid I was coming in. The ref blew his whistle; my coach blew a gasket. I went back to the bench. At halftime, he explained the rules to me. With two minutes left in the game, he put me in. Two minutes. I fouled out.

That’s when I knew I was born to watch basketball.

And that’s what I am doing. I am taking these days on the best basketball weekend of the year to watch young men and women do what I cannot, which is always worth doing. That is also the reason I have not written for a couple of days. I’m not sure this qualifies as a spiritual retreat, but it sure feels like one.



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