KS Hawaiʻi Kahu Kaunaloa Boshard shares how mastering the basketball skill of “the pivot” will give you a distinct advantage over your opponents during life’s challenging times.
Ka Ipu o Lono shares weekly devotionals to provide spiritual enrichment to members of the Kamehameha Schools ‘ohana. For more inspiration, visit the KS “Our faith” website.
A ʻo wau nei ma ke kānāwai, ua make
What actually took place is this:
He manaʻo o ke kahu
Throughout my educational career, I also enjoyed coaching youth leagues and high school basketball. As a coach, I was adamant about teaching the fundamentals and spent a lot of time drilling my players on basic footwork. Of all the skills that I made sure my players mastered, the reverse and forward pivot was among the most important. It didn’t matter if I was coaching a group of 5-year-olds or teenage varsity players, we would spend at least 10 minutes at the start of every practice on this simple but powerful 180-degree basketball ability. If done correctly by a player at the right time, whether on defense or offense, the pivot gives a player a distinct advantage over their opponent.
At one Parks and Recreation youth league game, our oldest daughter Kehau’s grade 7-8 team was beleaguered by the flu and we only had four players show up to the game. Her younger brother Kekai, who was four at the time, took his regular seat next to me on the bench to lead the cheers and furnish water to the players. Realizing we couldn’t start the game with just four players I turned to him and asked if he wanted to play. He looked at me with enthusiasm and instantly jumped at the opportunity.
Now being a coach’s kid means you learn how to play that sport, just because. Kekai was present at every one of his sister’s practices and participated in warm-ups, three-on-three drills, and even full-court play. So, when he stepped onto the court to join his sister and the other three boys, they knew he could play, and they all gave him high fives for saving the day. Parents on both sides of the court smiled as he got into his ready stance just before the jump ball.
Kekai played all four quarters and demonstrated his skill level was on par with all the players on the floor. He even scored on two free throws as we pulled off a close and sweet victory.
Kekai came off the court excited about playing in his first official basketball game. Parents that hung around to see the game congratulated him and they also came up to me to praise my son’s talent and skill. As his dad, I was thrilled for him. As his coach, I marveled at his ability to transfer what he learned at practice to his play in the game.
Above all, it was his use of the pivot move that caught most people by surprise. His technique was textbook as he successfully blocked out his opponents from getting a rebound. Like his older sister, their playing skills became a living testimony of their love and passion for the game of basketball. Furthermore, my children were living extensions of me and my joy of teaching this fast-paced game to the youth.
In the Bible, we discover a different kind of pivot than the 180-degree basketball skill. The Apostle Paul’s conversion to following Jesus was a 180-degree turn away from what he was doing to persecute believers in Christ before meeting our Savior, his Savior.
Before he met Christ on the road to Damascus (the capital of modern-day Syria) he went by the name of Saul and he was sent out by the Jewish Priesthood to squash this new faith movement of Jesus known as The Way. He was instrumental in searching for those who believed in Christ and would put them in jail or worse.
However, while he was traveling with a small group of other religious marauders to Damascus to continue his torment and arrests of new believers, Christ appeared to him as a bright light that blinded Paul. Right in the middle of the road Paul dropped to his knees in shock, and while his entourage watched him with blank faces, he heard Jesus’ voice, say, “Saul, why do you persecute me?” Saul cried out, “Who are you?” And the voice replied, “I am Jesus, the one you are harassing.”
Paul receives Jesus in his heart and is healed from his physical blindness. He then makes a pivotal decision – a 180-degree turn – that releases him from his spiritual blindness. He changes directions from being a tormenter to the followers of Jesus to becoming a champion of Jesus Christ with all his heart, soul, mind, and strength. Rather than persecuting the Lord’s people, Paul successfully blocks out every opponent of Christ, becoming the most important spiritual leader and church builder to gentiles all over the Roman Empire and beyond.
One of Paul’s key teachings about what it means to believe in Jesus with your whole heart is summed up in this passage, “Christ lives in me. The life you see me living is not ‘mine,’ but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I am not going to go back on that.”
Paul became a living testimony of his Savior, his Redeemer, his teacher, and friend. When we learn to live life with this deeper understanding that our belief in Jesus affirms that Jesus lives within us, we too become living extensions of our King. Living life with Jesus brings a sacred peace within us that overcomes all challenges. Because, if Christ is for us, who can be against us?
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