What was I thinking? Had I actually just offered to drive six boys to a basketball game?
The boys on my son Kaleb’s basketball team were all great kids, but a four-hour drive, with six pre-adolescent, highly charged, mini-jocks……….. definitely not conducive to my mental well-being.
Sporting a sheepish grin, Coach handed me a list of players assigned to ride with me to next Saturday’s tournament game. Looking over the list, I immediately sent up a silent prayer, “Lord, give me strength!” The list looked like the who’s who of mischief and mayhem, and my son was the ringleader.
With the days passing quickly, I tried to keep a positive focus about Saturday’s trip. I was positive it was going to be a nightmare. Visions of obnoxious handheld video games, brain-mutilating music and a cacophony of voices to rival the thundering engines of a Boeing 747, seared my mind.
Saturday morning arrived all too soon. Kaleb was up early, eagerly gathering his gear for the big game. Trying to appear equally excited, I tossed together a quick breakfast and readied our mini-van for the day’s activities.
We arrived at our designated meeting place, the parking lot of Chucky’s Chicken Palace, with three minutes to spare. We were the last to arrive and yet, how I longed to have those three more minutes. I was not ready for this.
Without warning, the sliding door of our van flew open and I was immediately introduced to the abrupt rocking, bouncing and erratic rhythm of young exuberant basketball players and their various gear and accessories being launched into my van. Kaleb wasted no time in vacating the much heralded “shotgun” seat next to me. Much to my chagrin, my usually well-mannered son proceeded to scramble headlong into the back seat, forgoing the use of any doors!
“Four hours”, I kept telling myself, “I just have to survive the next four hours”. Of course, there would still be the trip home. But I knew as every parent did, that the atmosphere during the return trip would greatly depend upon whether or not our team won today’s very important game. Oh, how I longed to take those words back, “Sure, I can drive next Saturday. My van seats seven. It’s no problem.” What was I thinking!
Firmly situated between two vehicles carrying the rest of the team, I settled in for the long haul. I let not a minute go by before earnestly beseeching the Lord God Almighty for a heaping portion of patience, certain I would need it.
During the first miles of our journey, the boys jockeyed around trying to get comfortable. There were long bursts of laughter as they embellished stories of how they were going to “stomp” the opposing team; and I laughed along.
The “great snack exchange” was quite enlightening. I hadn’t even noticed the large haul of goodies Kaleb had stashed in his backpack before we left home. With the candy, cookies and various salt and fat saturated items that materialized from those six backpacks, we could have opened our own chain of snack food stores! Okay, so I’m exaggerating a little… But I must say, when those boys offered, more than once, to share their coma inducing, heart stopping snacks with me, I was truly humbled.
Granted, there were occasional moments of outrageously loud chatter. I was certainly happy to discover that those little handheld games usually have a mute button. Most of the boys had brought personal CD players and although they had a tendency to play them loud enough to collectively create a dull roar, it only took a few warnings to convince them to keep the volume down. I think it was my threat to confiscate their headphones so they couldn’t listen to their music and my suggestion that we tune the car radio to one of my favorite classical stations that finally did the job.
Well, I survived the four-hour trip there and back. The boys won their game. They really “stomped” them! Next Saturday is the final game, and yes, I volunteered to drive again. This time though, I’m not stressing. I was reminded during the trip home, after the boys had all fallen asleep (hallelujah!), of Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”. Now there is a promise to hold on to………… especially when traveling with pre-adolescent, highly charged, basketball playing, gifts of God!
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