Every year I tell the team my “acorn” story:
Growing up in Redondo Beach, California, there many Eucalyptus trees. We had a giant one in our backyard. It was so big and shady that no grass would grow under it. Eucalyptus trees drop a large nut I called acorns. They were about the size of a thumb and they were scattered all over our backyard.
When I entered Junior High school I really got serious about being a good basketball player. Unlike today in the era of Club Sport etc. I had to find a place to play. So my dad put up a backboard and hoop on our garage which was in our backyard. I was thrilled to have a place to dribble and shoot. One big problem… “those darned acorns” – hundreds of them constantly dropping off that huge old Eucalyptus tree. Before I practiced I had the dreary task of sweeping them up. At first I would spend several minutes sweeping them up so I would have a nice smooth dirt surface to play on. However after a while, I got tired of the sweep up part so I skipped it leaving the acorns there. I just went out and dribbled and shot with the acorns on the ground which obviously interfered with any smooth ability to dribble.
One day all while playing shooting hoops with some other kids on the playground I realized something. My dribbling was getting much better. I was becoming the best little dribbler of all my classmates. The reason? It had to be “those darned acorns.” I had learned to constantly adjust my hand to compensate for the slight changes in how the ball bounced back up to me after it hit an acorn. Having to deal with this hardship had, in the end, made me a better player.
Years later after I had accepted Christ and began to study His Word I came across Romans 5:3 where God tells us to rejoice in our affliction because affliction produces endurance, endurance produces character etc.. All of sudden I remembered “those darned acorns” again. All the time what I thought was a nuisance had made me better and I went on to play basketball at Long Beach State. And what was one of the main reasons I made it? I was known as a really good point guard who could dribble past most of my opponents.
Do you have any of “those darned acorns” in your life right now? I hope so!
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