We sat at the edge of our seats.
With every score we rose as one, the cheers reverberating through the whole building. My mama heart was bursting, Brian’s papa heart was pounding. Local siblings donned makeup and hair-dye to match the team colors. Distant siblings, aunts and uncles, gathered around the livestream as nephews and nieces sang a cheer.
This was the moment we’d been working toward, fighting for, dreaming of… the Colorado State Championship for girls basketball.
It had unfolded a bit like a made-for-TV movie. One of our best players was down, battling sickness all week leading up to the championship. She was fighting with the heart of a champion, but it was a tough up-hill battle. Not only that, but we were facing two of our major rivals who’d defeated us multiple times over history – we would face one for the final four game, and one for the finals. Our coach had taken the boys to the finish line, but never the girls. He was hungry. We all were.
I sat with one of the coaches as we prayed earlier in the week. Her intensity shone through the tears that welled up in her eyes. “There’s nothing like it as a coach. When a coach sees their team rise up, when the players do what they were made to do and work together in sync. When there’s no jealousy, no jostling for perfection. True teamwork. It’s a beautiful, beautiful thing. Much more than the number of points or who scores, it’s seeing them as a team, working as one.”
Yes, yes, yes.
Only this time, with one of our best players pushing through sickness, the team had to step up and make up the difference. They had to fight for her as much as they were battling for themselves.
And they did it.
Each individual out on the court gave it their all. They zigged, they zagged, they defended, they shot, they rebounded, they stole… and the coaches stood by them, directing, encouraging, correcting, building up.
While the crowd went wild.
I can’t help but think about you and me – and the battles we face. How when we come together in sync, we can do amazing things. When we fight like champions through hardship, when we don’t lose sight of the team, when we cover the one who is down, when we use our gifts and talents to make a difference for good, when we don’t let jealousy or jostling rob our joy – that’s when we win. That’s when we ALL win. And not only does our Coach smile and direct and encourage – but there is a cloud of witnesses decked out in makeup and hair-dye, screaming and cheering as we touch lives who hang in the balance.
Because it’s not the state championship we are all fighting for, it’s for people, hearts, relationships, hope. It’s joy restored. It’s life received.
Let’s do this thing together.
As the crowd (and our Coach) goes wild.