I was blessed to be allowed to bring my youth to a Korean Basketball Tournament. I had done a presentation and preached at this church a few weeks ago and discovered the upcoming tournament. I have plenty of experience with doing sports and even some playoffs. I understand how competitive the male ego happens to be and the reality that even pastors can get technical fouls called on them and be ejected from a game.
What I didn’t necessarily understand would be how a group of rag tag teens from the hood would do against a group of 20-30 something guys that are high achievers who wouldn’t be push overs nor consider cutting my group any slack. I was excited to have one of my key leaders be the coach. He did a phenomenal job and went the extra mile with providing T-Shirts that were incredible because we stood out. This I think made it a little easier for our group which had never played together before to become a team.
I know that one of the latent fears of most younger guys is to be involved in forced sports at school where a coach will purposefully pick teams. When you end up being the last to be placed you know that no one really wants you to play and that most likely you will be warming the bench the whole time. You wonder to yourself what is the point and why be embarrassed. I knew that this would happen with a few of our younger kids who weren’t that great and were a couple feet shorter than some of the others that seemed like giants. I know that Number 5 on one of the other teams had to be over 6 foot 8inch. I talked to the organizers, who are good friends and asked if the giant, I didn’t know that Koreans produced 7 footers, was a ringer that had been bribed to play or whether he was legitimate.
I understand that no one, especially older males, like to lose and especially with a group of hoods. I knew that we might clash with at least one of the teams. I had hoped that our first game would be too rough and that we wouldn’t lose by much. We decided to let the little guys play a little which meant that after a good first period that we would be trailing and then lose by 10 or so. Yet, all in all we did ok for our first time playing as a team. Our next game went much better and we lead most of the time and finished with a 10 point win!!!
The following game we had our A team playing and they literally took off and put the moves on the Pink Team. They didn’t really like us and there were a few collisions. We ended up winning by 20 plus points. Now we were into the playoff with the brackets. The challenge was that 2 of our big guys that had helped win the games had to go to another game. Now we were playing a bigger team, like one of the guys must of weighed close to 275 and our point guards, who are awesome were like 130 pounds. So we initially took the lead but it wasn’t took long before they were pushing us around and we were behind by 10 then 15. Our superstars showed up with about 4 minutes left.
I knew that we were going to lose whether our not or older guys played or not. So the real question for our group and really any male with sports testosterone is if there is a tomorrow when you loose? I pride myself on saying that winning is easy but being a gracious looser is what makes you a better person. It is so easy to walk away and blame the other team for being foul and abusive or the refs didn’t call the game.