© 2016 by Charles D. Jones

Lessons From Coaching, Part One: Draft Night

August 17, 2017

There are many perks to fatherhood; none better than coaching my children from age 6-11 in basketball. Most of my Hall of Fame coaching career took place within the friendly confines of the Woodway Family Center. As with most life experiences, the teacher became the student. I learned some meaningful lessons that are helpful as I experience life now within the not so friendly confines of Bastrop Federal Satellite Camp

 

At the beginning of each season, all the players and coaches would gather for a meaningless tryout which consisted of each child attempting to dribble a ball the length of the court and shoot a layup. Immediately thereafter, the coaches would convene for the all-important draft night. Dynasties were built and rebuilt within this room, as each coach strategically picked 8 players using his/her limited allocation of draft points. A coach could use all the points on one player and just fill the roster with "outcasts" like the Los Angeles Lakers later adopted with Kobe, or alternatively try the San Antonio Spurs balanced team approach, which I preferred.

 

I was always lucky because I didn't have to use points on my kids who would have been first round picks, but that was no real advantage as all the coach's kids were good, too. I wonder now if they coached because their kids were good, or if their kids were good because they coached. That's almost interesting now, but on draft night I had no time to ponder such existential drivel because I was "on the clock" and talent had to be evaluated and critical decisions made on the fly. 

 

Generally by round three, I was out of ideas and had to fall back on the GLM (Good Looking Mom) draft method. Oddly, this proved to be as successful as any of my other plans. One year this method even equated to our team getting matching hair bows while "looking cute and kicking boot."

 

Ten to twenty billion years ago, God created a slightly different draft night. God had unlimited draft points and there was only one team. We were all chosen, even before we were born. It's like we all have a good looking mom, and no tryouts are necessary because talent or performance is irrelevant. In fact, we can't escape being on the team. 

 

Just so there's no doubt, 2000 years ago Jesus, the Christ who was present with God at the original draft night, hung out with and even became an outcast. He taught with stories about great banquets where the master/host said, "Go out to the roads and country lanes and make them come in, so my house will be full." All this seems hard to grasp because we would have done it differently. God's way seems too good to be true. Some call it grace; it's definitely Good News. 

 

As the Psalmist wrote and sung in Psalm 139: 7-10
       Where can I go from your Spirit?
       Where can I flee from your presence?
       If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
          if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there. 
       If I rise on the wings of dawn,
          if I settle on the far side of the sea,
          even there your hand will guide me,
          your right hand will hold me fast.     

 

Draft night is not in the future. It already happened. It's confirmed every day, and we're all universally and inescapably chosen. Some of us just don't know it yet.

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