Good times and KU Jayhawks

Growing up in SE Kansas, it was always a highlight to watch the Kansas Jayhawks play. Whenever they were on TV, my dad had that look in his eyes that said “come on, isn’t it awesome to watch KU play?” So I’ve been watching KU blow out Missouri this afternoon and remembering good times J

As a kid I was able to attend two Jayhawk summer basketball camps with a friend. They had several pros in to help with the camp, the biggest name being Jo Jo White. He had been one of the top players at KU and was playing for the Celtics, about to win two NBA championships. As a 12 year old, Jo Jo was bigger than life to me. Other players included Roger Brown, Dave Robisch and Wilt Chamberlain (actually Wilt didn’t make the summer camps).

The majority of our time was spent learning and practicing fundamentals, hard work, discipline and repetition. Not too exciting… But the message was clear – these guys didn’t get to where they were by goofing off. They worked really hard every day. We could be just the same (except for their natural gifts, height, quickness and 3x the vertical leap).

The highlight of the camp (and most nerve-wracking) was the testing of your skills on the last day. Every kid had to be graded on different skills by a pro athlete. And next to your grade was the pro’s autograph. Thankfully they put J0 Jo on the easiest test, dribbling. Everybody wanted a good mark from Jo Jo. After getting an “excellent +++” I was pretty proud, even after figuring out most kids got the same score…

Following Jesus is really a lot more like basketball camp than you might think:

  1. We get to follow Jesus and His example, learning and incorporating His “best practices.”
  2. An important part of following Jesus is learning the fundamentals, hard work, discipline and repetition.
  3. We don’t do this in our own strength, as Jesus (the most exciting person ever) comes alongside us to help us through the empowering presence of the Holy Spirit.
  4. We learn from great examples, heroes of the faith and others who may be just a page ahead.
  5. Consistent challenge, evaluation, and encouragement happen through God’s Word, being under authority and in healthy relationships.

So as I get ready for March Madness, I’m remembering good times watching the Jayhawks with my dad, and thankful for the very real life and love of Jesus.

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