Sunday, June 11, 2006

Behind the Scenes

I've been watching the NBA playoffs. I love watching the Mavs play. I don't know much about the strategic plays of the game; I watch simply for enjoyment. My mind just doesn't work in a way that sees plays and looks for strategy. (I have attempted to coach a Rangers Rookie League 4th and 5th grade baseball team in the past. After that I gained a whole lot more respect for coaches and their abilities to pull a team together!)

Avery Johnson (head coach of the Mavs) has that strategic mind. I am very impressed with how he utilizes his team. His strategy seems to be different than most. Instead of putting all of his time and energy into one group of five, he develops his whole team, realizing that the players on the bench are just as vital to the game as the starting line-up. Although injuries to key players always affect a team, Avery takes injuries in stride. He is constantly switching his line-up, readjusting his strategy depending on the team they're playing, and his team doesn't usually miss a beat.

Of course, there are always going to be the main people who receive the bulk of recognition. On the Mavs, it's all about Dirk. But the truth is, if Dirk didn't have Terry, Dampier, Stackhouse, and some of the others, the team wouldn't win. It takes the shooters to win a game. But if we didn't have rebounders and blockers we wouldn't win either. Their contributions are often overshadowed by the very visible points that go on the board when someone makes a shot.

Life is like that. There are those of us who are in the "spotlight" because what we do is apparent. But there are so many other people who are blocking and rebounding. Without all of us working together, none of us would succeed.

Here are the blockers and rebounders in my life:

Any number of teenagers who have made the decision to stay in school when no one at home tells him/her to or even encourages him/her.

Parents who provide meals for their children on a minimum wage salary.

My neighbor Gino, who is more than willing to help me fix my lawn mower, my gate, or anything else I need.

My friend Juan Carlos, who always comes to my aid when my computer is down.

Robert, who I've witnessed helping a random stranger at Wal-mart as they tried to fit something they purchased into their too small trunk.

Lorenzo, who delivered a grill to my house, cooked the links and hotdogs for the party last week (on a hot evening!), and then came back to take the grill back to it's rightful owner, though I know he's exhausted from working, taking care of four girls at home, and then doing so much for other people.

Roy, who loaned the grill.

Tom, who has let me borrow his car while mine's in the shop.

Rachel bringing the teenagers to speak to my graduate class.

Gary, who is always available when I need a favor.

I could go on and on. Most of the people I've mentioned are content being the rebounders and blockers. They definitely don't get the recognition they deserve. But the truth of the matter is, the "team" couldn't exist without them.
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