When I was in high school, I pretty much lived to play ball, almost any ball… soccer, volleyball, basketball, softball and track. In my next blog post I will discuss a track story that has stuck with me since I was a Sophomore in high school! For today though, I am going to pass on a story that is a TRUE story, it happened my Senior year and I probably learned some of my biggest lessons from sports from this one story alone.
My Senior year of high school started out with a surprise letter from a school in Fremont who wanted me to come to their school and play basketball for them. I debated it intently because I loved the coach there and I would have many more opportunities for colleges to see me if I played there. After much thought, I decided it was best for me to stay at my private school, Temple Christian Academy and finish my high school career where it started. My coach was David Lee, now my brother in law, he was one of the best coaches I ever had. (despite what he says) He was very glad my decision was to stay at TCA and he and I began practicing on my jump shot long before the season started.
Right before the season began, four of our varsity players were suspended from our team… at a school the size of ours, that was a MAJOR set back.. So, for my final basketball season, we had four JV players and me! We had a blast and went through the season with highlights for me of scoring my 1,000th point and eventually heading into the state finals in Findlay being undefeated! We had previously defeated Findlay Heritage twice during the season, but they were not very fond of that fact and were ready for us. Due to our lack of girls with any type of varsity experience, I had to carry the team with steals which lead to break away lay-ups and scoring a bunch of points! David had even surprised me at a game in Lima by having a college recruit come there and watch our game, she actually recruited me that night!
Anyway, our final game of our state tournament that year was vs Findlay Heritage, at their gym. I knew that gym and that particular team like the back of my hand. The game went back and forth throughout the entire thing and finally it was down to two minutes left in the game and we were ahead by 2 points! David called his last time out, he looked at me square in the eyes and said, ” Lynn, I am going to need you to stall the rest of the 2 minutes by dribbling around with the ball, DO NOT PASS THE BALL! ” I questioned his sanity and he reassured me that this was the best plan and it would work if I executed it. We went back on the court, someone threw the ball in to me and I dribbled to half court where Findlay put 3 very large girls on me to trap me. I looked down under our basket and one of our players was standing right underneath the hoop, WIDE open, I mean, no one within 5 feet of her. I did a couple of spin dribbles, looked down and there she was again, even more wide open than the time before. I reached around the biggest defender and bounce passed the ball directly to her. She caught the ball for a brief second, looked up to check her surroundings and throw up the reassurance shot, but instead, the ball went through her hands and out of bounds!
The gym was silent until my coach stood up and yelled, ” Lynn Case, if we lose this game by 2 points, it’s YOUR fault! ” I looked over at him and the disappointment was all over his face and oozing out of his body… I passed the ball… ! Findlay came down and we fouled them, they made 2 foul shots and tied the game. As our team tried to inbound the ball to me, Findlay intercepted it and scored again. Now, with 15 seconds left in regulation, they were ahead 49-51. I caught the pass and sprinted down the court, I ran over to the right side base line in front of our bench and looked at the clock, 3 ticks left, I squared up and took one of my favorite 10 foot shots, it rimmed the hoop and fell out… WE LOST THE GAME BY 2 POINTS!
I can still remember laying in the floor crying and not wanting to get up because I knew that I blew it, I did not follow through with my coach’s very specific game plan and we lost the game. (just to clarify, we lost 49-51 and I had all 49 points, but at that point, it did not matter to me at all) After David finally coaxed me into getting up off of the floor, he talked to me and reassured me that an 18-1 season was awfully impressive and that tomorrow would still come, the sun would still shine and I would get over this defeat.
I share that story with you today because my friend Chad has a reminder me for me based on the above account, no matter how rough my days get, he always reminds me that the current struggle is my game to play and that the truth is still there, DON’T PASS THE BALL! He reminded me that again today as I was a little down after an eventful chemo day. So many days, like today, when I get a bit insecure and think that my way is better than God’s plan for me, I need that big reminder to keep on dribbling and trust in His game plan for me. He is able to see the big picture that I currently cannot and He knows what is best! Right now, no matter the circumstance, the best thing for me to do is take a deep breath, remember where my strength comes from and most importantly to remember these very simple but profound words that have helped me and stayed with me since March of 1985! DON’T PASS THE BALL!
What are you facing today? Does your task seem too difficult? Are you losing faith in yourself and in the plan set out for you? Take heart, friend, look to the One who has it all under control and knows what is best and keep your head and heart in the game because that is the only way to WIN! #INITTOWINIT #DONTPASSTHEBALL