If you’re a basketball fan, you’ve probably been watching the NBA Finals; between the GOAT and the Baby-Faced Assassin. Of course, I’m talking about LeBron James, who some say is the Greatest Of All Time (GOAT) and Stephen Curry, the thirty-year-old, baby-faced basketball phenom, who throws up three-point shots from another zip code and somehow they go in. The final game of this series could be tonight, since the GOAT’s team is down to the Assassin’s team 3-0.
Most people I know love the game of basketball. But unlike hockey and curling, to be honest, it can be a little confusing at times.
For example …
It’s called basketball though you never see a basket. At least not something that resembles what you’ve come to know as a basket. The game is played on a court. Not in a court like racquetball, but on a court. Regardless of whether the surface is concrete, asphalt, rubber or wood, inside or outside, it’s still called a court. And, even though it’s called a court, there’s no judge, jury, or bailiff to be found. Just referees who enforce the rules.
There’s more shooting in basketball than in any other sport. Yet, there are no guns and no one gets in trouble for shooting, unless you shoot and miss a lot, which is called an airball or a brick. Those who shoot a lot of airballs and bricks wind up on the bench, which is really not a bench. Usually, it’s just a chair.
Here’s more: You have to be out-of-bounds to inbound the ball. You can’t inbound the ball from inbounds. You have to be out-of-bounds to do that. If you step across the line, inbounds, well, you’re out-of-bounds and the refs will blow the whistle and give the ball to the other team. If you’re inbounds and step on the line, the refs will call you out-of-bounds and give the ball to the other team. (The moral is: stay off the line.)
Speaking of lines. They have a free throw line. But no one ever throws anything from there. They shoot. If you step on the free throw line when you’re throwing, (I mean, uh, shooting), the refs will blow the whistle, take the ball away and give it to the other team.
There’s only one ball allowed on the court in the game of basketball. Both teams are allowed to shoot other balls prior to a game, but no one is allowed to shoot the game ball until the actual game begins. When the other team has the ball, it’s their ball. However, when your team has it, it’s your ball. When the game is over, the refs take the ball and give it to someone else who didn’t even play in the game.
There are two goals in basketball and the goals have rims which are also called hoops. You’re not allowed to touch your goal unless you’re dunking. You can look at your goal, shoot at your goal, even reach your goal, but you can’t touch your goal or tend your goal unless you’re dunking. And you can’t touch the other team’s goal either. If that’s not confusing enough, halfway through the game they make you switch goals.
When you dribble the ball twice you’d think that would be called double dribble, but it’s not. However, if you touch the ball with both hands and only dribble once that’s double dribble. (Go figure.) When you’re running down the court, if you stop dribbling but keep running that’s called walking or traveling. If you’re stopped and move one foot and then move the other, that’s called walking, too. (That call makes sense.)
The devil loves nothing more than for us to get all caught up in the wrong stuff and miss the point altogether.
Scoring in basketball can also be confusing. Sometimes you get one point for a shot, sometimes two points and sometimes three. Foul shots, which are also called free throws, are always one point. Although you may get to shoot two or three of them at a time depending upon the foul.
Another confusing aspect of basketball is that the sign for a time-out and a technical foul are almost identical. Sometimes players will make a fist to call a time-out. But that might not be smart — putting your fist in the face of a ref. You might get a technical.
One more thing … there’s a net on each goal, but the net has a big hole in the bottom because it’s not really designed to catch anything. Not even the ball. Which makes you wonder why they call it a net?
Confused? Don’t be.
Here’s the point: you’ve heard the saying, “The devil’s in the details.” Often he is. You see, the devil loves nothing more than for us to get all caught up in the wrong stuff and miss the point altogether. Like someone who’s more concerned with all the intricacies, idiosyncrasies and explanations of something like basketball and, consequently, isn’t able to simply enjoy the game.
Should we sit in the dark until we can adequately and effectively understand and explain how electricity works? Should we walk every place we need to go because we can’t understand or explain how an automobile works? Of course not. In fact, when you flipped that light switch this morning or drove to work in your car, you didn’t give it a second thought. You just enjoyed the blessing of both. Right?
So today, instead of trying to figure out everything that’s going on in your life or in the world around you, why not just enjoy it? Why not join with the psalmist and say, “This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 118:24). School yards around the world are full of children enjoying what they can’t explain … and actually having fun doing it.
You can do it, too, and be a better person because of it. It’s a slam dunk!
© 2018. Barry L. Cameron
Barry L. Cameron has been the Senior Pastor of Crossroads since 1992 when the church was averaging 188 in morning worship. Pastor Cameron and his wife, Janis, have three children and two grandsons. He’s the author of the bestseller: The ABCs of Financial Freedom, Contagious Generosity, and The Financial Freedom Workbook. The Cameron family has been completely debt free since November 2001.