Posts tagged redeeming failure

‘Dad, what are you doing?’ : Redeeming failure



My sons and I have always enjoyed basketball together. This season I’ve had the honor of coaching the Flames, Jacob’s 14-and-under homeschool team. The greatest joy is being a part of the process of these boys growing into manhood.

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Last Saturday we played the Hornets. It was the last game of the regular season with the winner claiming the #1 seed in the state tournament. It was a big game for the boys. From the outset, it was an intense defensive battle; the score stayed tight throughout, with neither team leading by more than four points. With less than a minute left and down by three, we worked the ball for a good shot in the paint. There was a foul on the shot which was not called, then a foul on the rebound — also not called.

I jumped up and shouted, “That was over the back!” That was all it took. The ref called a technical on me.  Jacob came running over to me pleading, his hands out, “Dad, what are you doing? Just let us win the game!”

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Inside I was immediately heartbroken for the boys. The Hornets made both free throws, and while we did score again, it was those two points that were the margin of victory. My actions cost our boys the game.

Many people came up to me afterwards in my defense and said, “What in the world? I have never seen a technical for that. What happened?” But I told each one, “I needed it. God knew.”

The book of Job reminds us, “Blessed is the one whom God corrects, so do not despise the discipline of the Almighty” (5:17 NIV). It was His discipline. He disciplines those He loves. I might not have deserved a technical for that comment. But I realize now that my heart deserved a technical. Over a string of three games, I had stopped treating the refs with the respect they deserve. I had stopped honoring them in my heart.

As soon as I got the technical, I called a timeout immediately and apologized to the boys. And as soon as the final buzzer sounded, I found the referee to apologize for my actions and ask for his forgiveness. Again in our team huddle after the game, I asked the boys for their forgiveness.

We didn’t end up with the #1 seed. That’s okay. The real goal of our season is to help these boys grow in character and skill. My outburst impacted them in a negative way. But hopefully, seeing me apologize and seek forgiveness will have a greater impact — an eternal one.

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