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Previous Message From Virtual Church

The Coach

A stranger was walking by an inner city playground. He stopped for just a minute to watch four tough kids shooting basketball. The four kids were at the far end of the court from where the stranger stood. The ball bounced down to where the stranger was standing. The stranger grabbed the ball and let her fly. The ball went so high up into the air the ball seemed to disappear into the sky only to reappear again on the ball's descent. The stranger was standing at least 150 feet away from the goal. A regulation court is just over 84 feet. The ball seemed to float through the air in slow motion. Every kid had his eye on the ball. The ball hit the chain net with a loud metallic rip sound. The ball didn't even hit the rim. The kids went wild. Exclamations of "No way, man!" and "Lucky shot, dude." could be heard from the kid's end of the court. The stranger yelled out, "One more shot!" and he held out his hands to receive the ball. One kid said, "Ain't no way the dude can do two. No way at all. The wind is blowin'. No way can he do two." One of the kids threw the ball down to where the stranger was standing. The wind was blowing so hard it pushed the ball sideways so the stranger had to run after the ball to pick the ball up. When the stranger picked up the ball, he let her fly one more time. This time when he let the ball fly, everything got quiet. The wind still blew as hard as ever but it seemed like all the city sounds quit for the seconds the ball was in the air. Again, the ball seemed to disappear up into the sky only to reappear again on the way down. The ball hit the chain net with the same metallic rip sound and the ball dropped to the ground.... again, nothing but net. This time the kids didn't go wild because they were too stunned. One kid finally said, "The wind is blowin'." Then another kid said, "We're dreamin', man. This is a dream. No way a dude can hit two shots in a row, that far away, with the wind blowin'???!!!!" Another kid grabbed the ball and threw it toward the stranger. The stranger lofted the ball up in the air the same way with the same result. One kid said, "He ain't pro cause I know all the pro guys. And even no pro guy could do this." The stranger started walking to where the boys were. One boy threw the ball to him when he was at half court. The stranger shot the ball with the same result...nothing but net. The stranger said, "You guys wanna learn to shoot?" The kids didn't say anything. They just stared at the stranger. One kid asked, "Who are you man? Where you from?" The stranger smiled and said, "I'm just passing through. Wanna learn to shoot? I'll show you how." A big kid named Duke spoke up and said, "Yeah, show me how, dude." That started the ball rolling, so to speak. The stranger worked with each kid showing him how to improve his shot. Every kid improved immediately. It got so the kids couldn't miss. The hours quickly passed. During the time the stranger and the kids had spent together, the stranger got to know each of the boys and about their lives. Suddenly, the stranger disappeared. Three of the four boys looked around and saw only an empty asphalt court. The biggest kid, Duke, wasn't moving. Duke's eyes were about to bug out of his head and his mouth had dropped wide open. It seemed like Duke was frozen in place. One kid looked at Duke and said, "Hey, Duke. Where did the dude go?" Duke was too stunned to speak. He just shook his head. "Duke, whatsa' matter with you?" asked another. Duke finally spoke and said, "The guy blinked out!" The others said "What you mean 'He blinked out.' Hey, man, the dude is not a light bulb." Duke said, "No, man, the guy went invisible." The other three didn't say anything for a moment they just looked at Duke being stunned. One kid asked, "What was he, a ghost or somethin'?" Another kid said, "No way. A ghost don't shoot basketball. Come on man, a ghost can't even hold the ball." They laughed a nervous laugh but were still staring at Duke. Duke hadn't moved in about five minutes. Another kid said, "He had to be a ghost. No human can blink out." Suddenly the stranger reappeared out of thin air. Everything got very quiet. The stranger said, "I am not a ghost. I do what the coach tells me to do. Today I am a teacher teaching you how to shoot basketball and other things about life. I taught you how to shoot but I also taught you about more important things than basketball. Remember I taught you if you don't have a goal, you don't have a game. I taught you unless you pass the ball and share the scoring you lose. I taught you if you do not follow the rules you cannot win. I taught you that you have to be honest with yourself. You need to know what you can and cannot do. I taught you to develop the part of your game you do best. I taught you to play defense against the bad things of life and play offense to keep the good things going. I taught you to improve your game and improve your character. I taught you not to repeat mistakes in your game but to eliminate the mistakes as soon as you can. You must quickly eliminate the mistakes so the mistakes do not become a habit. I taught you to put others before yourself. There is one more thing you need to learn. You must always talk to the coach. If you don't talk to the coach, the coach won't talk to you. If you don't talk to the coach you will always be sitting on the bench. You will never really be a player unless you and the coach communicate. I have to go now. The coach has other work for me to do." In an instant, the stranger went invisible again. The boys just stood there. Not knowing what to say, think, or do. The boys just froze in one place and swayed back and forth as the wind blew around them. One kid said, "Hey dude, come back a minute." However, there was no reappearance...just a lot of wind and a lot of silence. One kid said, "I think my momma sent this guy." Another kid said, "No, man, your momma wouldn't send a strange guy to teach us to shoot. She'd send Shaq, or La Bron, or Reggie, or some other famous NBA dude. Your momma wouldn't send some dude that blinks on and off." They all kind of laughed but the kid persisted and said, "No man, my momma is always prayin' for me. My momma is always talkin' to the coach."

A facetious story giving wisdom

This story first appeared in October, 2005, in the Virtual Church web site at http://www.findthepower.com

 

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Scripture quotations marked (NIV) are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

Scripture quotations marked (RSV) are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, Revised Standard Version of the Bible, Copyright © 1952 [2nd edition, 1971] by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Shepherd's Care Ministries author and webmaster, Rev. Patrick Kelly, is affiliated through ministerial ordination with Church of God Ministries, Anderson IN 46018