A few months ago, our son became a member of a travel basketball team. The twelve man team is made up of thirteen-year-old boys from different backgrounds, ethnicities and various skill levels. A few of them attended the same school, but for the most part, they did not know each other until they came to be on the team. When they first started playing together, nothing worked—not the plays, not the drills, not the cohesiveness. They argued amongst themselves, they put each other down, they lay blame on each other and turned the court into a battleground; they were their own worst enemies. Their coach always kept the lines of communication open, if there was a problem he would have them talk about it, as a team, until it was resolved. And slowly week after week, practice after practice, game after game they have started to turn their team around.
Today, they are growing as individuals, learning tolerance and patience and learning that they are each a work in progress, and mistakes are expected. They are learning to build from their mistakes, making them stronger and better for the next game. They are learning there will always be a team that is better than they are, but instead of letting that defeat them, they have learned to challenge themselves to be better. They are learning to trust themselves, but more importantly, they are learning to trust each other. They are learning to become a family and stand by each other. So, is basketball like the game of life or is life like the game of basketball? If we practiced being tolerant, patient, understanding, trusting and began to communicate better, I know we would be winners at the game of life, our society would flourish and our battlefields would disappear.