The power of the pivot (part 1)

Title IX was passed in 1972; it had no impact on the sports programs offered to women during my years in high school. (Go, class of 74!) So, unlike the women of today, I had no sports team opportunities. But, we did have sports in gym and we had neighborhood pick-up games. Of all of those games, I loved basketball the most.

Basketball has always been a part of my life. My brother, Jim, played on school and city league teams. My dad had coached a team. And, my niece, Kelsey, is a marvelous point guard and now a coach. As a player she led her collegiate team to their best post-season record and set a few individual records.

I understand and love the game, but I was never any good as a player. Oh, for a short period, I had a good average from the free throw line but I was never able to do much else. So, it was exciting to be named the assistant women’s high school basketball coach at Bonner Springs High School. And, I loved teaching the fundamentals of the game. Today, let’s talk about the pivot, a fundamental tool of the game. Pivoting is one of the things that sets basketball apart from other team sports.

To pivot, one must keep one foot on the same spot on the floor while they have freedom to move in a complete circle using the other foot. If a player pivots correctly they have a significant advantage over the defensive player. If they pivot too long they are trapped in a box that they helped to create.

And, pivoting can give leaders a huge advantage. Instead of focusing only on how we have messed up in the past or how far the goal is from where we are standing, we can have a 360⁰ view of our surroundings. By taking a moment and doing an honest assessment, we can see the advantages and challenges ahead of us, behind us, approaching us, in front of us, and over us. As we perfect our pivoting skills, we can complete assessments more quickly with better accuracy.

But, sometimes we really don’t want to see what is around us; an honest assessment will reveal things that we would like to pretend don’t exist. I can tell you from my own experience that denying truth does nothing to change it. And, so we must turn to God. As King David said, “You, Lord, are my lamp; the Lord turns my darkness into light. With your help I can advance against a troop; with my God I can scale a wall.” (II Samuel 22:29-30)

Have you ever seen a basketball player who is stuck, forgetting that they have the advantage of the pivot? Ever seen a leader in the same position? Ever been there yourself?

No worries. Just because we have failed to examine our circumstances or have stood in the same place too long, God is faithful to answer our cries for help. As we grow closer to Him: we quit being embarrassed at being weak as we rely on His strength; we accept the challenges ahead because He is our champion; and, we can pivot, looking honestly at our circumstances, because He has set our course.

OK, time to test the power of the pivot. Look all around. God’s deliverance may be close at hand. “I sought the Lord, and He answered me and delivered me from all my fears.” (Psalm 34:4) AMEN!!

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