Okay, I will admit it. I am competitive. I love to win whatever I am playing. There are few things in my life that hurt like losing. I guess it is just the competitive nature in me. It really doesn't matter what it is, I hate to lose. It might be a card game with friends, a board game or video game with the kids, or even a sporting event I am participating in. I hate to lose and love to win. In no way am I saying that this is a good thing. I am just confessing publicly how competitive I am in life.
But I never thought my son would be the one to teach me perspective on competition. Last night was a real learning experience for me. My youngest son, JT, is playing 3rd-4th grade basketball with the local recreation team. And he does really well. His team had their second game last night and for the second time, they lost just by a few points. In their first game, they lost 18-16 in overtime and last night they lost 21-18. It was tough to handle and I just kept telling myself throughout the game, "Thad, it is just 3rd-4th grade basketball."
A few things about the game before we get into the lesson I was taught. The game was very close going into the last quarter when the other team took a lead. The coach kept setting up plays for the point guard to come down and get JT the ball and then he was to beat his man and take it to the basket. This means he was shooting almost every time down the court. And he scored a bunch of points. As a parent, I never want my kid to be what I call "The Chucker." You know, the kid who shoots whenever he gets the ball. After the game, I went to the coach to ask him if he was designing those plays for JT to shoot just about every time. He said he was going to the hot hand and he wanted JT to carry the team last night. I felt better that JT, and the team, listened to the coach. But it still felt weird that my kid was shooting so much. I wish he would have been told to pass it more.
But onto the lesson. After the game, I asked JT if he was disappointed in losing. You know, there is a bit of me that would like him to never get content with losing. That way it will drive him to get better and better. When he said that he was not disappointed, I was somewhat shocked. Who's kid is this? I mean, I think I was more disappointed in the loss than him. Then I asked him, "why not?"
His answer put me in my place. He said,
"Dad, haven't you ever seen Facing the Giants? Remember we should praise God when we win and when we lose. I am just trying to praise God when we lose."
Yep, he said that! Monique looks over to me and says, "Karsten would say, 'you've just been schooled.'" I guess I was. I went to the school of a kid who is growing into a young man who has a soft heart towards God. I just hope I don't get in the way of what God wants to do in his life.
By the way, here is the short clip of the part of the movie that JT was referring to: