Friday, December 12, 2014

I wish I was a little bit taller. I wish I was a baller.

I wish I was a little bit taller.  I wish I was a baller.

Let me preface this post by listing my considerable athletic accomplishments:

Ballet/Tap/Jazz - 1979-1982; The choreography for "Disco, Disco Duck" is instilled in me so deeply that I could bust it out right now, right this minute.  You don't want to see that.  Nobody wants to see that.  (Look at that cute Josh Olinger clowning around)

See-sawing - An unfortunate see-sawing incident at Miller Perry Elementary School in the 2nd Grade left me with emotional scars that, to this day, have not healed and a bruised tail-bone.  Dangerous playground equipment should be outlawed in my opinion.  (I had visions of scraped knees and concussions at the time of this photograph.)

Bicycling - Josh Olinger (my only brother - seen above in clown apparel) ran over my forehead with his bicycle in 1984 causing a severe learning delay in my bicycle-riding abilities.  At the grand old age of 36, I finally mastered the art of bicycling and without training wheels even.  (Pandemonium was skeptical, but Chaos was ever the encourager.)

Holston Optimist Cheerleading - 1988-1989; I never learned to do a cartwheel.  To me, there is something inherently wrong with putting your hands in the air and hurling your face toward the ground.  Isn't that really something we should avoid at any and all costs?  (Let's not pretend that the 80's weren't hard on everyone.  I'll bet you have pictures of poodle hair-dos and giant glasses in your past as well.)

Water-skiing - It took Bobby and Cameron Sells 14 hours in a bass boat before I ever stood up.  Sadly, Boone Lake is still missing the 2,800 gallons of water I ingested that day, causing The Great Boone Lake Drought of '91.  (Also, Rachel of the distant past, Tom Petty called and he wants his sunglasses back.)

Softball - 1992-1993; My softball accomplishments included a fine trophy and the awarding of MVFP (Most Valuable Flower Picker).  I never fielded a ball, but I made some absolutely STUNNING daisy chains.

Horse-back Riding - 2001; I was thrown from the same horse three times in the same day, but points to me for getting back on the Devil's Mare.  (That's a picture of the Devil's Mare herself)

Backyard Football and Wiffle Ball - Every Sunday afternoon at Granny and PaOlinger's house for all of my formative years.  Robbie and Jason Olinger were and are fierce competitors and I'm the only girl, so our games usually ended in tears and/or bloodshed.  I love you guys!  (We've even carried this tradition on to the next generation.)

Hide-and-Seek - Terrible!  I am truly dreadful at hide-and-seek.  I giggle like a loon the entire time I'm trying to hide.  (Chaos has some issues with it as well.)

All this evidence should confirm to you the statement that I am not an athlete.  I can barely walk effectively.  I run like a chicken-mongoose hybrid.

The kids, fortunately, got Mass Hysteria's coordination.  He has a 3 inch vertical jump shot that would put NBA players to shame.  (In his defense, he'd just arrived home from an Ugly Sweater Contest when I demanded this picture be taken.  Also, he's not angry; that's his game face.)

So, it all started like this... (now that you have all pertinent background information)

Pandemonium and Chaos are participating in their first competitive sport this winter.  Upward Basketball.  I love Upward Basketball.  Not only does it teach them how to play the game, it teaches them how to play it in a Christ-honoring way.

The sad fact of the matter is, though, that I could fill a thimble or one of those tiny measuring cups you use for cold medicine with my knowledge of the sport of basketball.  I am not an athlete, but I knew that one day my children would want to participate in some sport or another and that my general lack of sports knowledge would come back to bite me.

In the parent drop-off line of the kid's elementary school, my worst nightmare was realized.  Pandemonium asked me to go over the rules of basketball with her.  The dreaded day had arrived.  It was worse than her asking for my help with common core math.  The light filtered slowly from my eyes.  And then...

BAM! It all just clicked.  All those years of watching Dad coach Josh in basketball and watch innumerable hours of basketball on TV and all those years of hearing Mass Hysteria spew out sports trivia like he was reciting the alphabet and watching innumerable hours of basketball paid off.  The basketball knowledge rushed into my brain. Like a lightning strike, I started telling her about offense and defense and staying open to shoot or pass the ball on offense and man-on-man vs. zone coverage on defense.  My arms were flying in demonstration.  My voice, strong and proud, regaled her with tales of Michael Jordan and Larry Bird.

It was inspired!   It was amazing!  Who's picking daisies now?

I got everything right, except that I called the mid court line the Line of Demarcation.  Doesn't everyone sometimes mix up their basketball terms with their 1493 Spain/Portugal history terms?  Common mistake.

Later that evening, I was recounting my inspired speech to Wayne Olinger (he's my Dad; he can confirm that I am no athlete) and he said, "It was kind of like when Jesus was asking his disciples who the people thought He was and then He asked them, "But, who do you say that I am?" and Peter answered, "You are the Christ." Then, Jesus goes on to say that this information was not revealed to Peter by flesh and blood, but by God.  (Matthew 16) You know, Rachel, in the similar way, your basketball knowledge must surely have been revealed to you by God."  That Dad of mine can really relate Scripture to everyday life lessons.

It is entirely possible that God gave me the words to help Pandemonium with her basketball game because Philippians 4:13 says, "I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength."  And I think that it is pretty obvious from my lack of athletic prowess that this information did not come from me.

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