Morning, pregame, March 4, 2021
If you ask any Free Lutheran Bible College player, coach, or support staff about this basketball season, you won’t have to wait long to figure out that they deem it a success. Overwhelmingly, the response will reflect thanks to God for a season of growth, some semblance of normalcy, and an amazing new facility to call home. This season has been a resounding success.
Later this morning both teams will play their final game of the season. If neither team wins, FLBC basketball will finish the 2020-2021 campaign a combined 0-30. Now I hope they win. I have some level of confidence that they will, so let’s say 2-28, best case scenario. But worst case?
I’m calling 0-30 a success. It’s not because I’m not into winning. I’ve played and coached a lot of basketball, and never once have I entered a game without an intention of winning, and a bit of melancholy when we didn’t. Nor have I ever completed a season without tears. I care, to a fault. But if it comes down to it:
I’m calling 0-30 a success.
I see a group of young men and women with good attitudes and an exceptional work ethic. Circumstances have always conspired against FLBC basketball teams. We used to practice on borrowed carpeted church gym floors; now we are thankful to God and Heritage Christian Academy for years of a real gym in which to practice. But this year everything was turned upside down. Nobody knew when they would be able to use their space, let alone when we would be able to use it. We have a facility now, and we may even be able to practice more than three times per week. [Old man comment warning: When I coached, we practiced twice per week whether we needed it or not].
They didn’t complain. They didn’t make excuses. They didn’t grumble about COVID restrictions, reasonable or ridiculous. They didn’t gripe about a gym that taunted them with presence, but not completion, in these past couple of months. They went to class and did their homework (all of our students do– it’s just who we are now).
Other teams tell me they like playing us, and not just because they won. Other coaches show respect. Officials like us (except for that one guy and I don’t understand what his problem is). Our players “get” what we’re trying to do. Our coaches do, too, and make it happen. I can’t say enough about Wendy Greven (and assistant D. J. Alverson) and Brad Bierle (and assistant Ignacio Davalos).
At FLBC we don’t play basketball to win games. Check that: We play to win but winning isn’t why we play. We play for the leadership development and discipleship that comes with a team effort. Everyone needs to be a part of something bigger than himself or herself. Sport is a laboratory for life, and a tool through which to make disciples.
As time goes on at FLBC you will see “Ministry through Sport” more prominently. Sports can be an idol, as indeed they have been to me in my past. But sports is also a tool through which to teach leadership, discipleship, industriousness, and integrity.
This is success, and I’m happy to call it so. Sometimes “zero” is a success. Now let’s cheer for an also-successful 2-28* season!
In Christ’s Service,
Dr. Wade Mobley
President, Free Lutheran Bible College and Seminary
Has-been basketball coach
* The Conqueror women’s team won their final game of the season beating Oak Hills Christian College 44-38. The final combined record was 1-29.
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