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Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life? Mary Oliver

Saturday, January 28, 2012

A Life of Courage

Last night the varsity girls basketball team played a tough game and lost.  I sit in the stands because my husband is the coach and not one, but two of my daughters happen to be on the team.    It was an intense physical game we played, without one of our best players, who happens to be hurt.  When I sit in the stands during games like last night I marvel at the intensity of the fans.  Last night's game took the cake in intensity.  It was a small gym with packed out bleachers-most of which consisted of the opposing team's fans.  There was yelling and heckling, clapping and cheers.  People booed and jumped up when a particularly exciting play happened.  I cheer for my daughter and my husband, wanting them to succeed, knowing how hard they work in practice and how much time it takes from our family time.   I see their courage more at home, when they talk through the game and decide to learn from mistakes and move on, it is just a game after all- but what is God showing them about their responses and how they can learn and grow from each situation.  I love watching my husband pace around the room, digesting each play, and then eventually he shakes it off, and goes upstairs to play legos with Luke-it is just a game after all, right?  Our family has experienced various levels of high level sports- The pro's, college, and intense club level.  We have watched the agony of defeat and experienced the extreme highs of victory- but when we come home- we laugh, it's just a game right?  
This brings me to the point of this post- courage. 

Why does our culture seem so crazed over "the game?"  I enjoy a great game like everyone else, but what is it about a sporting event that can break out in fights?  Why do people spend 100's of 1,000's of dollars to be a spectator of other people's participation in a game?   There was a man a few nights ago who kept making comments about my husband and the decisions he was making as the coach and I wanted to turn around to him and yell- "get a life." Does it take courage to criticize another persons performance?  Does it take effort to sit on the sidelines and clap and yell?  What about when this is a HS game and the people you are yelling at happen to be children?  The most disturbing thing I saw last night was a young player from the other team being drug back to the gym after the game by her father, while she was crying.  Maybe her father needs to get some courage and start acting like the protector of his daughter he is supposed to be and not some sort of drill sergeant that is disappointed in her when she plays bad.  Is this really for "HER" sake?  I doubt it..But I love watching the girls play- watching them battle for something they want so bad- a win.  They have worked for this, and later in life when they face difficulties they will draw on lessons learned on the court or the field.    
the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear; bravery.
Obsolete . the heart as the source of emotion.
have the courage of one's convictions, to act in accordance with one's beliefs, especially in spite of criticism.
As I think this through it occurs to me that each one of us have a deep desire to be found courageous.   The thing that is wrong with this is when we try to find that through our kids.  How our children perform in school or on the court should not be the way we find our worth.  That yearning in each of us should be filled through noble endeavors that help our fellow man.  There is nothing wrong with sitting on the sidelines and cheering on our favorite team, but it is when this takes place of seeking a higher adventure, possibly something that requires great courage.  Parents- don’t live through your kids pursuits and achievements.  This puts a great deal of stress on them and limits the possibilities of becoming the hero they so want us to be.  It takes courage, boldness and strength to continue having goals as we get older.  Last week I read about Terri, a woman with stage 4 cancer who participates in triathlon’s.  She decided to fight negativity and reach for her dreams in the midst of chemo!  I make sure I read missionary journals that come from remote regions of the world where people are serving against all odds, facing possible death to carry the gospel to these remote regions.  There are humanitarians involved in amazing work around the world with only a desire to help the hurting.  Look for stories of courage, they will inspire you to do more and be more, while setting the example for our children that there is more to courage and worth than winning a game.

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