Loons called to one another from across the lake, the stragglers reluctant to head south for winter. The ice-blue water lapped against the bare sand of the deserted beach and the trees rattled their naked branches against a late autumn breeze. Down a leaf-littered path in the woods beneath a cerulean sky, 19 girls stood facing a broad log/beam  suspended parallel between two larger trees a good six feet off the ground. The goal? To get each girl up and over the log, one at a time. How would this happen? Communication. Teamwork.

There were numerous unsuccessful attempts and much strategizing. They tried going over feet first. Backwards. Rolling up and across on their stomachs--ouch!! At last, a system was worked out as, one by one, the girls were boosted, muscled, and dragged over the beam. A couple of the girls made themselves human ladders and literally let their teammates walk all over them as they breached the log barrier. Balancing so high off the ground, trying to get a foot underneath their bodies proved to be a frightening position and some of the girls were visibly shaking. “You’re okay--I’ve got you,” was called out over and over.

Later, the team participated in a service project of raking and bagging leaves for the camp. The girls enjoyed amazing meals together and more group events that fostered trust and cooperation. Time was spent worshiping together around a campfire under a starlit sky. Several hours of the last morning found the team lounging in pajamas and affirming one another, eliciting many smiles, laughter, and a few tears.

How do these activities translate to life in general and time on the Bball court specifically, you might be asking?

1.They reinforce the reality that we were made for community. No one is strong alone. We need others because together we can do so much more than we can individually. There is no such thing as a one man team.

2.Everyone is important, not just a few. Naturally gifted individuals may stand out early on, but every person is necessary for the good of the whole. Every person has value. Every person has gifts and talents and brings something unique to the group. Those who cheer and encourage are as valuable as those who screen and score.

3.You can’t learn from others if you do all the talking. It may be that the quieter members of the group have the answers you need but you can’t hear them if you don’t stop talking. Listening to your teammates on the court can mean all the difference between a botched play and success. Others can see things you can’t. If you’re smart, you’ll listen to them.

Basically, I think the Take-Away from the retreat was a renewed appreciation for sisters in Christ--people who not only lead the way on the court but in the greater scope of life as well. These are the people we want to emulate--friends that display the heart of Jesus and point us to His finished work on the cross. People who make us want to be our Best Selves and, in all we do, bring honor and glory to God. It’s going to be a GREAT season of Comet Girls Basketball! Come on our and cheer us on!

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