10 Hands!

"It takes 10 hands to score a basket." John Wooden [1] We're on the verge of college basketball's Final Four! These are the High Days of the Hardwood: buzzer beaters, upsets, and unsung heroes! Fans are on the edge of their seats. We are following the brackets and riding the emotional roller coaster with our favorite teams. Some think, "It can't get any better than this!" But it can . . . in fact, it did!

I was driving out of the parking lot after church when I spotted a friend. When I stopped to say hi, he said, "It was a great day at Upward yesterday." Upward Basketball is a nationwide youth sports ministry that puts the player's experience above the final score. That means making every attempt to see EVERY player score.

Saturday was the last day of the season. At least two players had not sent the ball through the net.

"It looks like it's just not going to happen," one coach said to another. "They are just not going to score!" To which Coach M said, "You don't know our God! Don't tell God how big the mountain is, tell the mountain how big God is!"

Sure enough by the grace of God, great sportsmanship, and a savvy referee, both players scored. The crowd went crazy!

Coach Wooden said it takes 10 hands to put the ball through the hoop. That's what I always thought until I attended the end-of-the-season Upward Celebration yesterday afternoon at Spanish River Church. There I was introduced to 323 players, 49 cheerleaders, 86 coaches, 25 referees, 15 concession workers, 100 prayer partners, and 14 league commissioners. Hmmm, that is 1,224 hands by my count. No wonder the ball went through the net!

So a big THANKS to our Upward volunteers! You are living-breathing examples for a younger generation that the upward callis so much more important than the final score.

I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 3:14 ESV


[1] Wooden on Leadership: How to Create a Winning Organization [Hardcover], page 129.