When I was in college at UGA, I played a season of basketball in the girls’ intramural league. Our team wasn’t polished, but we were scrappy. We had all played in high school and, even though we were rough around the edges, we were still pretty good. We won every game we played, landing us in the play-offs and then the semi-finals.
Feeling pretty confident by this round, we didn’t think much when we saw that we were paired up against the UGA Lady Bulldogs Volleyball team for the semi-final match. Well, maybe my team members had enough sense to think twice about that, but I sure didn’t. After all, we had stomped every team we had come up against. The only problem was that the teams we had played against had all consisted of sorority girls who were not quite as tough as we were (or at least that’s my memory of it).
I’ll never forget walking into the gym for the play-offs and looking UP at those ladies on the opposing team. I’m 6 feet tall, and every one of them was several inches taller than me and MUCH bigger. I barely made it off the floor during opening tip-off before the other team took control of that ball and scored.
I don’t remember too much more about that game except for the final few minutes when I snagged a rebound from the top of the key at our goal. I was in MY spot… the spot I could always score from, no matter what. Even though the 6’4″ volleyball player guarding me was a little intimidating, I still took my shot…. and I MISSED. Not only did I miss, but the ball rebounded straight back to me.
“Okay,” I thought, “I can do this! I’m still in my sweet spot! I’ve got it now!” Up I went, up went the ball, and…. it hit the rim and came straight back to me AGAIN. Not only was my guard still intimidating, but now she was laughing at me. I wanted to pass that ball off to someone else, but third time’s a charm, right? I mean, this was my best shot and I surely couldn’t miss it three times in a row, Bulldog Women or not. I took a deep breath, dribbled once, and shot… and as God is my witness, that ball hit the rim and came right back to me AGAIN. Only this time, I was so embarrassed and frustrated that I didn’t even reach out to grab the ball. Instead, the girl guarding me snatched it.
What she did then marked me forever. Even though she was laughing pretty hard because I had missed that danged shot so many times, she looked at me, handed me the ball, stepped up next to me, patted me on the back, and said, “You got it this time!” Everyone on the floor froze. The audience went from laughing at me to cheering for me. I totally didn’t want to take that shot again. As a matter of fact, I would have walked off that floor if I could have, but I didn’t. I took that ball, dribbled a few times, set my feet, and shot again… SWISH! I got cheers from the crowd, cheers from my team, and every girl on that opposing team clapped for me and patted me on the back. You would have thought I had done something miraculous instead of just FINALLY making a stupid easy shot from the top of the key.
The UGA Lady Bulldogs Volleyball team went on to beat us in that game… of course. But we ended up having a great camaraderie with them, and we were the loudest ones cheering for them as they ended up winning the Intramural championship.
When you drop the ball or miss a shot in front of people, you have to deal with your pride. If you do it once, you can probably find some kind of excuse to get you out of it. Do it again, and you might just get mad enough at yourself to try it over. Do it one more time and you’re more likely to pass the ball to someone else and run right off the court and vow never to try it again. But, hey… it’s only a ball, right?
So… I dropped the ball this last year where the Celebration blog is concerned. I had a goal, and I didn’t make it. I started towards something and didn’t finish. I got tired and I quit… for a while. But, rather than walking off the scene and pretending it never happened, I decided to get back in the game, pick up the ball, and try it again.
So, here we go…