Today marked the end of the 2011 Upward basketball season. My team fought hard and played a great game. My daughter, Elise, scored her first basket of the season today, so that made me happy. Unfortunately, we came up a little short and lost 30-28. We finished our season at 2-6, but all the girls played well and had lots of fun.
I’m always sad to see the season end. It is so much fun watching the kids week after week and seeing how much their skills improve over the course of the season. This was my third year as a coach. I have such a great time coaching the kids and plan to do it for at least another couple of years. I also had the chance to do something different this season. I was one of the Upward coordinators at our church. I was there for every practice to get things set up and make sure the practices ran smoothly. I must say that I enjoyed that part of the season as much as I enjoyed coaching. I had an opportunity to see all the teams during practice and get to know many great people. I’ve made some friendships that I’m sure will last for years to come.
Learning basketball skills is great for the kids. I know many of them will go on to play in more competitive leagues, and they can use what they learn in Upward. But, the most important (and my favorite) part of the program is teaching the kids about Jesus. The mission statement on the Upward Sports website reads:
To introduce children to Jesus Christ by creating opportunities to serve through sports.
That is why I love Upward so much. Each week during practice the kids recite Scripture they have been given to learn and are led in a halftime devotion by the coaches. We also have an opportunity to go through the plan of salvation. In the end the score or the record doesn’t matter. It’s all about Jesus Christ!
I can’t wait until next year when I have the chance to coach again. I look forward to another great season of basketball and another opportunity to share the love of Christ with the kids.