A group of young kids loved to play basketball at recess. They weren’t any good, but they loved to play the game. They didn’t even keep score.
There were only two basketball courts on the playground. Some older, much better basketball players used one court and the younger kids played on the other court. The older kids actually played on the school’s basketball team, while the younger kids weren’t old enough to be on the team yet.
The older kids usually played by themselves and didn’t bother the younger kids, but one day instead of starting their game, they came up to the younger kids.
“Want to pay against us?” said the tallest of the children.
The younger kids shook their heads. They enjoyed playing on their own.
“C’mon, are you scared?” asked the tall child.
“No, we’re fine. We just want to have fun,” said one of the younger kids.
The leader of the group came over and stole their basketball. He smiled and said, “Let’s play.”
The younger kids didn’t feel like they had a choice. They matched up and started a game against each other.
The score wasn’t even close. The older kids were much better. They defeated the younger kids easily. The only people having any fun anymore was the good team.
So the next day the older kids made the younger kids play again. The older kids made fun of the other team. They laughed at all the mistakes. The younger kids didn’t want to play anymore, but they were more afraid of what the older kids would say about them.
On the third day of the match up at recess, the basketball coach for the school was on recess duty. He saw the kids playing and overheard what some of his players said about the younger kids. The coach was furious. He came over to the courts and called the older kids over to talk to them.
“You are an embarrassment to the game. This is not the way I taught you to play. Give me the ball and get out of here. Go play something else. I don’t want to see you on this court again until you have shown me how to be better leaders,” said the coach.
The older kids tried to speak up, but the coach became angry and yelled at them to go play somewhere else. The kids listened and ran off afraid of what the coach might say to them next.
The younger kids were looking down embarrassed. The coach tossed the ball to them and said, “Enjoy yourselves, kids. The game is meant to be fun.”
The younger kids played their game again. This time the coach watched and encouraged them when they did well. They all finished recess that day loving the game a little more.
“For the needy will never be forgotten, nor will the hope of the afflicted ever fade. Arise, LORD, let no mortal prevail; let the nations be judged in your presence. Strike them with terror, LORD; show the nations they are only human.”Psalm 9:19-21
- Why was the coach angry with his basketball players?
- What are some games you play just to have fun?
- Why do some people enjoy winning so much?
- Is there anyone who is struggling to succeed at something that you can help?
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