Day 6 – random encounters

28 Aug

Today, I spent a bit of time wondering around Gibsons – a small, touristy town on the Sunshine Coast. I was looking for a vintage store I went to last year that I remember liking. I actually managed to find it on my first try, which is a feat in itself for my directionally challenged tendencies. As I roamed around town, I was trying to pay extra close attention to my surroundings. One of my new favourite writers, Sue Monk Kidd, says that she will often practice paying keen attention when she is out and try to look at things with new eyes to gain new meaning or a unique way to describe something. I have to admit, I didn’t come up with anything revolutionary. Maybe another day.

However, I did have a random encounter with a male pedestrian. As I walked past this 30-something joe shmoe on the sidewalk, he looked at me and said, “Volleyball?” With his one word questioning comment, I knew immediately that he was making a reference to my height as oddly enough, this happens somewhat frequently. As an aside, I am six feet tall, which is not absurdly tall, but I suppose tall enough that I am free game for unsolicited comments from strangers. I humoured him and said, “Close, basketball.” Even though the only things that basketball and volleyball have in common is that they are both team sports played with a ball in which height is advantageous. He followed up with, “Scholarship?” I replied, “Yes,” sticking with the theme of one word statements. He went on – “Let me guess, going into your third year.” Well now I was just plain flattered. My third year? That would mean that he thought I was around 20. I smiled and let out a ‘I can’t believe you think I’m 20, but I’m actually really flattered that you think so’ laugh and humbly corrected him, “No, that was a long time ago. I’m actually 27.” “Well then you must coach,” he asked. “Yeah, I did that too, but not anymore,” I answered as we continued moving backwards in opposite directions. “Well do you still play?” “No, I don’t actually,” I responded without any feelings of yearning for the ‘glory days.’ “I’ve found other things I like to do,” I finished. “Well good on ya love.” And with that, he turned and walked away.

It took me a long time to get to a place where I was at peace with no longer having my identity wrapped up in my ability to play basketball. Even a few years ago I would have answered that man’s questions with feelings of longing for what was. But when I finally accepted that my identity is found in Christ, not basketball, I was free to discover the many other things that I enjoy. I am so grateful for the significant role that basketball has played in my life – for the lifelong friends made, the blood, sweat and tears shed, the elating victories, the heartbreaking losses, the countless fond memories and lessons learned along the way. But I am also thankful that I have been able to move on and allowed myself to discover life after basketball because it’s actually pretty great. It’s nice that a random stranger who felt prompted to point out the obvious (my height) reminded me of this.

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