Playing to Win



Most of you know me as a pastor at EastLake Community Church.  What you may not know about me is that for the past seven years, I have had the privilege of coaching the varsity girls basketball team at Parkway Christian Academy.  It is one of those things that I never really set out to do but as the father of 2 daughters whose school did not have a team,  I found myself volunteering to start their girls program. 


Although basketball has afforded me the privilege of spending considerable amounts of quality time with my daughters over the past 7 years, I will suffice it to say that I have not accumulated nearly as many wins as I have hours with the kids.   For most of these years we were on just about everyone’s invitation list for their homecoming game.  I’m sure the mantra amongst other schools went something like this, “Hey, invite Parkway, we need a win.”  I’ll never forget the night in Stuarts Draft when we were the “guest of honor” for senior night.  It was full court press for 4 quarters against our young girls who did not know what hit them.  I believe the final score revealed we lost by nearly 80 points. 


This experience has allowed me many great opportunities.  The opportunity to coach, teach and impact future leaders has been afforded to me through this experience.  But perhaps the great opportunity I have had is the opportunity to learn.   Yes, what they have taught me is equal to any influence I have had on them.   Although they may have learned about a 2-3 zone defense from me I have learned some powerful lessons from them. 


Coaching young ladies, I have learned the lesson of Perspective.  Once after a rather rousing pre-game speech the silence was broken by sweet voice, “does anyone have a cracker?”  Yes, basketball isn’t all that matters!  There is nothing that helps a competitive dad regain perspective any more than to have watched these girls be charmed by the simplest things regardless of a win or loss.  Their oft-distracted spirit has allowed me to see a picture that is larger than just a game. 


Coaching young ladies, I have learned the lesson of Passion.  For the first few years we had absolutely no chance of compiling significant wins or beating certain teams.  However,  to watch these girls play you would think they were competing for a state title.  Game after game, loss after loss through the years they left the game having given it their everything because they loved the game. 


Coaching these young ladies I have learned the lesson of Perseverance.  I have learned that the characteristics of faithfulness, hard work and persistence have their reward.  This past Friday and Saturday after seven long years the Parkway Lady Eagles won their first VACA South Regional Championship and a birth in the VACA State Tournament with a record of 19-3.  Yes, although some who started didn’t get to experience it for themselves, their leadership and hard work was the foundation upon which this year’s team was built.    


These lessons are even more important in life, business and in our families. 


May the Lord grant us all the ability to stay focused on what is most important, help us to live our lives with godly passion and regardless of how bad or how often we may get beat, help us to remember there is a trophy for those who do not quit! 

About Pastor Troy Keaton

Founding pastor at EastLake Community Church at Smith Mountain Lake Virginia. View all posts by Pastor Troy Keaton

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