Basketball: A Gift

Basketball plays a major part in my life. Every since I got some basketball trading cards at a young age, watching and playing basketball has been immensely important to me. Perhaps too important. I’ll let you be the judge of that. Here is my basketball history.

I started playing basketball on a team at a young age. Being a homeschooler, I have been blessed to live in West Michigan with the WMHSSA (West Michigan Home School Athletic Association). West Michigan has numerous home school basketball teams. We are privileged to have a place to play our home games at. It is aptly named the Home school Building. For four seasons from 2009 to 2013 I played for the Southeast Cougars. I played my first year on Elementary when I was 9 and 10., second on Junior High, and the next two on Junior Varsity. Although over the years we didn’t win many games, especially on JV when we only won two games during the season of 2012-13, I had lots of fun and created many great friendships. Many of them still last till today.

The next year, 2013-14, the Cougars weren’t going to have a JV. I was in a tough spot. Pretty much it narrowed down to either playing for the Wyoming Warriors on Varsity, because they didn’t have a JV, or playing for the Hudsonville Hornets on JV. After contemplating the decision for the entire summer leading up to the 2013-14 season, I eventually made the hard decision not to play basketball that year. My decision was based on the hardship of having to pick a new team, wanting to focus more on my school work, and desiring to grow closer to God. Immediately, once the season started and I wasn’t playing, I felt a hole in my soul. Just kidding, I’m not that obsessed! 🙂 I admit, I don’t think my school work production got any better. It was hard not being on a basketball team anymore.

Summer 2014 rolled around and I’m about to be a Senior. You know, last year of High School, major crazyness, stress over what to do after, and generally feeling overwhelmed. So, to make the year not all boredom (just kidding mom, I love school!), I really wanted to play on a team again. Once the 2013-14 basketball season ended, Mark Corliss, whose kids used to play on the Cougars, called asking to take me out for lunch. To backdrop that, the Corliss’ left the Cougars to play for the the Wyoming Warriors the year before for the same reasons I did. After the Corliss’ inaugural season, Mr. Corliss was appointed as the Warriors President. So he was calling to recruit me. He made it obvious that he wanted me to play on the Wyoming Warriors not just because of my basketball ability (which, believe it or not, isn’t that spectacular), but because he felt that I could be a spiritual leader on the team. Isn’t that a dream come true? Thank you Jesus for using me for your glory and that people can recognize the amazing work you are doing through me.

Although of Mr. Corliss’ strong appeal to play on the Warriors, I went through the beginning of summer leaning more toward playing for the Hudsonville Hornets. To make the decision harder, two of my friends and old teammates on the Cougars played for the Hornets. And one old teammate played for the Warriors. Also, one of my very best friends played for the Warriors. It wasn’t going to be an easy choice. I spend most of the summer leaning more toward the Hornets, going to all their open gyms. But then one of my old teammates who played for the Hornets decided to go to public school for his last year of high school. So I had one past teammate on the Hornets and one past teammate including my very close friend on the Warriors. To say the least, I spend a lot of time in prayer. My parents and God weren’t going to make the decision for me. It was whichever team I thought would be better for me.

Making one of the toughest decisions of my life, I chose the Wyoming Warriors. I did it for numerous reasons. Because of Mr. Corliss personally seeking me out and saying what a great addition I would make to the team. Because there was a past teammate on the team. Because one of my closest friends played for them. Because I felt (correctly) that they had a better team and would win more games. So I was able to go to the last few Warrior open gyms and get acquainted to my new team. I wouldn’t say immediately, but gradually I felt right at home. As this 2014-15 season has progressed, we have continually grown closer. We have a great head and assistant coach. My new teammates have been tremendously accepting. It feels so right to be playing basketball again. I don’t think I realized how much I missed basketball during the year I took off. But now that I’m back at it I am reminded of what I was missing.

Basketball has been instrumental to my adolescent life. It has taught me how to be a better leader and example to the younger kids on the Warriors. Although basketball isn’t everything in life, when we are able to use it to glorify God it is an amazing thing.

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