Windle’s Warriors: Life Lessons From High School Basketball

23 Jan

We all remember High School. (Life was so much simpler then).

High school were carefree days, at least for the most part. This photo is a perfect example.

It highlights a high school basketball team having a good year, celebrating life and their coach. These are the “Windle’s Warriors.” And every day and week of the basketball season, Coach Windle leads these hardcourt warriors onto the basketball battlefield for guts and glory.

But, alas, I’ve gotten distracted.

The real reason for this post isn’t actually the basketball team, per se, but the life lessons that I thought about when I saw this picture of a celebrated team and their talented coach, Kevin Windle (Coach “K”).

The coach was, himself, a player in high school and college. He was “one of these guys” just a few years ago. But we move from adolescence to adulthood. We live at what feels like breakneck speed, only to look up at the clock and find that we’re already at half-time.

I’m currently 39, at the time of this writing. Just writing that number “hurts.” Coach K is now 30. Sure, he still plays ball. He’s still in great shape. He can still own every guy on his team on the court– and he can slam down a nasty dunk and hang like a chimpanzee on the rim anytime he wants to… but he’s not 15 anymore. And neither am I.

Each of us in the land of the living, except for maybe the Benjamin Button types, are getting older, not younger. As someone told me though– it’s better than the alternative (death). But though the Apostle Paul may argue with that, life is grand and worth living when it’s a life well-lived. So… we age.

In a way, this aging bit is curious. After all, age is SO “relative.” I’ve met 70-somethings who talk about those “old people” who are 80. I’ve talked to 60 year olds who talk about “middle age” (even though I’ve never met a 120 year old, which is sort of what that would mean). At the same time, when I’m 60, I’m sure that I’ll think that is middle age as well, so I’m not criticizing.

And because age is all “relative,” some people who are 65 think that 30 is practically pre-pubescence. As one approaching 40, I assure you it is not. Emotionally, aging (and especially certain milemarkers– 30, 40, 50, 60+, can all cause us to reflect about life and the things that are ultimate.

Aging Forces the Issue– with Meaning and Mortality

The two main points I want to make this this hopeless meandering I’m doing in this blog, are about what aging produces: musings about mortality and meaning.

When we hit certain ages, it hits us like a Mack truck (See Figure 2).

Figure 2 (Yeah, this one will do…)

And it’s then (at certain ages or when some health malady sets us back) that we’re hit with the sobering force of our mortality.

Mortality: the recognition that we are not invincible and the acknowledgment that we will not live (on earth) forever.

That’s also when our minds, because of the crushing blow thoughts of mortality can be to our spirits, move to greater consideration of Meaning.

Meaning: The consideration of the relative worth and/or impact of the totality of our lives in comparison with the resources with which we have been endowed by our Creator.

So it’s natural to think about mortality and meaning as we continue through life… but it needn’t become crippling. Being immobilized by fear isn’t the answer. And that’s where I get to my conclusion.

How God Uses It

The way God creates life is interesting. He could have made life to where it wasn’t measured in positive integers or numerics– especially in divisions of 10! But He chose to do so, and part of the reason for that is to force us to deal with reality.

In life, it’s SO EASY to fool ourselves or to self-delude as the case may be. We tell ourselves what ourselves want to hear. We tell ourselves what our itching ears want to hear. But God breaks into that reality from time to time, and insists that we look at life as it really is— in stark and brutal honesty. When He does this, intermittently through life at different times, it not only gives us a reality check, but it also helps us reorient ourselves and put ourselves back onto the right trajectory. Only things as sobering as our mortality (the fact that life’s end is but a heart beat away) or ultimate meaning (the conscience-evaluating scrutiny of a life lived in folly) are serious enough to jar us back on track… to the epicenter of God’s Will (or, in some cases, to discover and to live out that Will).

Action Extinguishes Fear

I’ll close with this. Once we get body-checked by these fears, and we’re forced to see that we’re 13 points behind with 15:00 left in the game of life, we realize it’s now or never. Even Rocker Jon Bon Jovi realized that when he wrote that amazing song, “It’s My Life.” And though he’s not quite the theologian and though you don’t want to base your life on his slippery when wet theology, the point is “It’s my life. And it’s now or never. I ain’t gonna live forever. I just wanna live while I’m alive. It’s my life.”

So what’s the moral of the story?

It’s that we can sit in fear about our impending mortality and the fear of meaningless living– or we can act resolutely and DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT.

That’s why I say that “Action Extinguishes Fear.”

When a person realizes they need to make life count, because they’re not going to be playing hoops at Fill-In-The-Blank High School forever, the answer is simple: when we make the decision to do something about it, that changes our entire frame of mind. Our actions in these areas of concern immediately remove our fear and imbibe us with hope and vitality.

Unsure about whether or not it’ll work for you? Try it.

Choose areas you need to address in your life. Make a game plan to win. Act on it. You’ll see… Action extinguishes fear.


2 Responses to “Windle’s Warriors: Life Lessons From High School Basketball”

  1. raedixie January 23, 2009 at 7:55 am #

    Glad to see you writing again. : ) As always…good stuff. Keep it up.


  2. Dr. Freddy Cardoza January 24, 2009 at 5:27 am #

    🙂 Thanks Rae!


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