I dislike sports for one reason: Adrenaline. I hated the way it made me feel as a participant—athlete is too strong a word for what I was—and I hated the way it made me feel as a spectator when my very athletic little sister did her thing on the basketball court.
Dragons in my stomach, my pulse in my ears, I struggled to sit still when Regina was competing. So did my mother. There were times that I actually had to plant my feet and lean into her just to keep from being scooted off the end of my bleacher!
It was a miserable feeling as I recall, wanting the win so badly for someone I loved, but being completely powerless to help her attain it. Head throbbing from the roar of the crowd, the boom of the band, and the screech of high-tops on new flooring, I watched from a distance, licking dry lips and sweating as if I were the one making plays, the one responsible for the outcome of the game.
Actually, it’s not too far removed from what I’m feeling now. Our son is in college.
Twenty years old, Hunter is on his own these days, calling the shots and making his own plays, and all we can do is watch. So far, he’s only given us reason to cheer, although I’ll admit that I’ve chewed the inside of my cheek to shreds a few times waiting to see what he would do when pressed, hoping all the drills we ran at home would come back to him, praying he wouldn’t forget the basics while trying something new.
But the Father is faithful. Over and over and over again, He keeps reminding me of a promise He made before Hunter was ever even born:
“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6
Notice that this verse says “even when he is old he will not depart from it,” not “he will never take a single step out of line between now and then.”
I’m not naïve enough to think that Hunter will never make mistakes, although I hope none end up costing him too dearly, but I do know that Todd and I did our dead-level best to raise him “in the way he should go,” determined not only to give our son a moral compass, but also to teach him to love, rely on, and serve The Way Himself.
At least, that’s what we thought we were doing.
Looking back on the practice tapes, I see with startling clarity all of the mistakes that we made as coaches. Looking ahead, I see all of the things that could go wrong as a result of those mistakes.
Honestly? It’s enough to send me off the end of my bleacher if I let it.
How do I deal? Two years into this adventure, I’ve learned to plant my feet firmly in the truth of God’s Word. When my lips go dry and perspiration pops over something Hunter just said or did, I remind myself that Todd and I are not responsible for the outcome of Hunter’s game—the Father is—and I cheer to beat the band!