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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Life (06/15/06)

TITLE: The Locker Room of Life
By
06/16/06


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The resultant smell of hard work—laying it on the line, now permeates the locker room. The team sifts the action of the first half through the filter of the pre-game strategy. Dialogue—and then decisions are made. The team confidently runs out onto the court for the second half with an adjusted game plan in hand.

This scenario acted out thousands of times a week around the world is a great metaphor for my current place in life. Having lived now 47 years, I feel as if God has me in the locker room of life. A peculiar odor lingers in this locker room of life, the smell of past failures mixed with the sweet sweat of future ambition. It’s a time of assessment: Where have I dropped the ball called responsibility, or the ball called integrity? Why didn’t I pass (entrust) more? How can I continue to run at this pace?

I sit exhausted now on the bench, back hunched over and elbow to knee with my chin resting in the palm of my right hand. I am lost in thought as I replay the game in my minds eye… 47 years worth. There is deep satisfaction as I see the faces of those who have marked me and I smile as I remember how the marks often were quickly passed on to others. It feels good to reflect back—to process the past—to remember the dessert experiences where after much wandering the learning finally took hold. It saddens me as I realize just how much wandering there really was…years wasted—or were they?

I conclude that the wandering is part of the process of discovery. Anything worth finding takes significant searching. The great question now is; what will I change as I forge forward? During the climbing of the first half of the game, I’ve gained enough altitude to have clearer sight. I can see both the paths traveled and the divergent paths ahead. I question weather I have I learned enough during this first half to help me know which path to choose in the future—which game plan should I pull out when the buzzer signals the beginning of the second half?

As both a player and coach during the first half, I’ve observed many different motivational techniques. I’ve felt the seething anger and the swift kick of the coach who motivated through fear and intimidation. I’ve been belittled, berated, and betrayed by some—but fortunately I’ve also held the hand of the mentor-coach who walked along side me as I played. I remember that I gave my best to that coach who pulled more than pushed, who believed more than doubted and who inspired more than insulted.

I’ve been enabled…entrusted, equipped, empowered, and encouraged by some coaches. I have also tasted discouragement, been derailed, become disenfranchised, and ended up depressed when being led by less enlightened coaches.

Ready for the Second Half!

We are all somehow “less-than” complete. We remain a work in progress. To remain on the potter’s wheel is the challenge. It would be so much easier to just remain a lump of unformed mushy clay. We fear the molding and shaping (the squeezing) that the master artist must do to us before we can become a noble vessel. We especially fear the fires of the kiln where impurity is surfaced and mixed with the redeeming breath of the artist to form a protective and flattering glaze.

I choose to be molded—I welcome the inferno, purify me God; prepare me Lord.

Epilogue

Now back in the bleachers the spectators, popcorn in hand, prepare to watch the second half. They notice that I now walk on the floor with a more determined step. “Something must have happened to that guy during halftime”, they say as they shove in a few kernels and take a swig from their Pepsi. If they only knew…guess they’ll have to watch the rest of the game to find out what happened in the locker room of life.


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This article has been read 449 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Marilyn Schnepp 06/22/06
Brilliantly creative and excellent writing....but, and this is only one Reader's opinion - I got bored mid-way through, as it became a sermonette, and I lost interest...hurriedly skipping and scanning on down to the finish line. But still, IT IS Brilliantly written - just too long for me. (Honesty is the best policy...they say.)
Jan Ackerson 06/23/06
Very good extended metaphor. I really like your 6th paragraph with its alliteration. One note: I think you meant "desert" instead of "dessert" (unless you were wandering through pie...) I like the last vignette a great deal. Good job.
dub W06/26/06
I think Jan called this an extended metaphor, I couldn't agree more. Well done.