Sunday, April 01, 2007
Sometimes the way life works out makes for a beautiful story. This is one of those times. My friend Danielle says that my heart is made of stone and that I am dead inside. She says this, because instead of crying when people die in movies, I have an awful habit of laughing. But I am not dead inside. I cry- just not usually for sad things. I cry for the overwhelming happy stories. And here is one.
Marcus just finished playing in a basketball league called Upwards. This is an incredible program that brings Christian values to a competitive sport. I was really worried about Marcus, because, although the child can write beautiful poetry, can beat me in chess, and can do every chore on his list without being reminded, he can not catch a ball for the life of him. On top of inheriting my lack of coordination and awkwardness at sports, Marcus is also autistic. He is gangly when he runs, and in any situation that is overstimulating, he gets confused easily. I was worried.
I should not have worried. God is in control of all things. He sent us to a perfect team, with wonderful coaches. Everyone fell in love with Marcus. Well, how could they not? Marcus is sincere. He is kind. He is lovable, obedient, etc, etc, etc. Marcus also is fragile, and I was still worried.
Practices went by and Marcus was frustrated. He just couldn't shoot the ball anywhere close to high enough to get a basket. All the other kids could do it. But he struggled. And boy did he struggle. And his mommy worried. Marcus decided that if he couldn't shoot, he would be the best defender on the team. He practiced dribbling the ball in our basement. He practiced for hours at a time. And during a game, when he was assigned a boy to guard, that boy never saw the light outside of Marcus arms or fingers.
But he wanted to make a goal. After all the hours of dribbling, his arms must have strengthened, because during practice, he was able to make goals. But only when he started out with the ball. Marcus couldn't catch a basketball for anything. During games, his teammates tried so hard. It was so sweet to watch them. You could almost see there cogs turning inside their heads. They knew that if they passed to another teammate that they would make a goal. But there was Marcus, eager and wanting a goal so very badly. And so, they gave him a chance. They did it over and over again. Never once did they roll their eyes or groan as they watched their passes roll out of bounds, with Marcus just standing open mouthed, and open eyes. Every game they tried. And Marcus kept practicing. And his mommy kept worrying.
It was the second to the last game of the season. Marcus was on his toes more than usual. The whole game, in hindsight of course, seemed more electrified than usual. They make the Pass! MARCUS CATCHES THE BALL! the entire team, coaches, and crowd (even the other team), yells "SHOOT THE BALL!" Marcus Shoots the ball, It goes in! Swish! HE SCORES!!!!!! The crowd was on their feet, screaming. "Did you see that? Did you see that?" Everyone talking and shouting. "Marcus made a goal!!!" Marcus' face shone with pride, and mommy had tears in her eyes. Mommy STILL has tears in her eyes. See? I'm not dead inside.
Marcus stole two balls during that game, had two perfect passes, and an assist. He wants to grow up and be a professional basketball player. Mommy is not sure she will ever stop worrying.
This is the picture that was taken just moments before Marcus caught his first pass, and made his first goal. There he is, with his arms held open, just waiting for his chance. Mommy shouldn't worry so much. This kids will get what he wants in life. He will practice, and he will work hard until he accomplishes his goals. I wish I was more like him.