By Claire Yorita Lee 

“Mommy, basketball is hard and our team never wins.”  My 8-year old, Sparkles, recently joined a new basketball team of girls.  Unfortunately they play against other 3rd graders who've been playing for 3+ years.  But yesterday Sparkles scored for her first time ever during the game. Not only did she make two free throws, she made a bucket too!  They're also the smallest team out there.  When I saw her afterwards I told her I was proud of her.   She turned to me and said, “It's because I prayed before I went in.  I asked God to please let me make a basket.”  

I didn't really want my kids to play on a basketball team.  It's not that I didn't want them to learn a sport but more that I didn't want to make the commitment.  I mean, 2 days of practice and then a game!  It seemed like way too much, especially in elementary school.  And depending on the times of the games. I might not be able to go to church, which bummed me out.  But somehow, a spot on a team opened up, and somehow, it worked out that both Sparkles and my 6-year old, Pigtails, could each join a team.  

At first it was overwhelming.  But then as we started getting to know the parents, watching the girls play and actually get better, suddenly it became kind of fun.  Despite taking up our entire weekend, somehow our family got used to the schedule, and began enjoying the time together (or not together, depending on game time!).  Friends and family came out to cheer on the girls, which really made them feel special. 

Yes, it's true, Sparkles' team doesn't win very often (so far they've only won 1 game since she started playing), but the truth is, it doesn't matter.  And yes, sometimes I have to dash out of church to get the kids to their games, but it's okay.  I had no idea the kind of growth my children would experience from this, and while I felt slightly guilty for taking them to basketball instead of church on the occasional Sunday, I realized that, no matter where we were, God was going with us – even in a small prayer, on a basketball court, in the middle of a game.  Now that's something to really be proud of.