I started playing basketball on Tuesday nights again for the last couple of weeks and it has been fun. I haven’t played in over a year due to a leg injury. Most of the guys who I am playing with are about 25 to 30 years younger than me. The first week, my shot was just okay and I gassed out after game 3 and was not much of a factor in the outcome of the last game. I was tired. The second week, my shot was even better and I did not run out of steam until game 5. I can tell that I am progressing and that my stamina is coming back. I ran the floor with the best of them, dribbled behind my back during one fast break on my way to a layup and I even illustrated the “Dr. J baseline scoop” on a couple of occasions. The scoop shots were a crowd favorite and elicited shouts from one bystander of “Old man buckets!” every time I scored. He didn’t get tired of saying it and there were a couple of games where he got to say it a lot.
I have been running during the week to prepare for the games. I figure it will take about another month before I get back to what I consider being in “good game shape” and being able to run all night, for two hours without getting tired so that I can compete well. For me, doing well at basketball has always come down to being able to run well. I am not a natural three point shooter but I can play defense, I can rebound and I can run. When I think of running well I think of what Paul said in 1 Corinthians 9:24:
1Cor 9:24 Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win.
Paul, at this part of the chapter is speaking of the importance of the gospel and living for Christ. When I think of the effort and the energy and the practice and the pride that I put into running well and winning at basketball, I wonder if I always place the same effort and energy, the same practice and pride into sharing the gospel and living for Christ as I do for playing basketball. I hope I put more emphasis on my relationship with Christ! I think I do. I hope I do. I pray that I am always concerned about learning God’s word, living God’s word and lovingly sharing it with others. I pray that I am running the Christian race in such a way that I am winning where it counts.