I threw my arms up in the air and unhappily exclaimed out loud, ”Ugh! I have basketball practice tonight!”
I thought about all the homework I had to do—all the time I would waste practicing basketball instead of getting it done. I felt like my precious time was being stolen away from me.
And then, I heard a voice.
“Are you serious? I’m right behind you!”
It was my basketball coach. Oops.
Thankfully, my coach was really easygoing. He just laughed it off, along with everyone else in the computer lab who witnessed my outburst. But I still felt embarrassed and guilty. Even though my coach didn’t take offense, I realized that anyone else could have.
This experience made me re-evaluate my attitude toward basketball.
I thought about my coach, who was also a student at Herbert W. Armstrong College. He had to play on his own basketball team and go to his own practices, yet he was willing to sacrifice time from his schedule each week to help us freshmen girls improve our own basketball skills.
I had never been very good at basketball—or many sports, for that matter. That’s why I was happy when I found out I was on the B league, which is less competitive. But even though B league is less competitive than A league, my coach was still determined to help us improve so that we could enjoy the game more. That was the whole point of having basketball practices.
After thinking about this, I realized that I had been really selfish. Basketball was an amazing opportunity to develop new skills and enjoy spending time with my classmates. I was taking it for granted and even complaining about it. Many people have to pay a lot of money to be a part of sports teams in the world, but at AC, we enjoy these sports opportunities for free.
Later that day, I apologized to my coach for my attitude. I determined in my mind to change my approach to basketball.
At our practice that night, I walked onto the court with a positive and grateful attitude. I put aside my selfish thoughts of finishing my homework and focused on basketball. I was going to embrace this opportunity.
As the basketball season progressed, I noticed that I began to cheer on my teammates more during practices and games. My attitude was no longer centered on myself. This helped the rest of my team as well. When one teammate has positive energy, it can easily transfer to others. I was having a lot more fun, and my teammates around me were too. I was even beginning to improve at basketball—we all were! What used to be a bunch of uncoordinated girls racing frantically around the court began to form a coordinated, organized team. By the end of the season, I found I even looked forward to practices and games.
My basketball experience taught me to embrace opportunities wholeheartedly. Ecclesiastes 9:10 says, “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might ….” It doesn’t say, “Whatsoever your hand finds to do, do it begrudgingly.”
Basketball was mandatory. If it had not been, I probably would not have signed up because I knew I wasn’t skilled at it. How often have we given up opportunities because we believe we will be bad at them? Opportunities are open doors for us to gain new experiences and learn new things.
There are a lot of things we don’t like to do—even on a daily basis. But we should look at them as opportunities rather than trials or burdens. If we put our whole heart into an activity we dislike, we may find that, in the end, we actually like it. Whether it’s a job, a class or an extracurricular activity, try to put this attitude of embracing opportunities to the test—and see the results.