Letter #660: Bench Warmers

Dear bench players,

The 15th kid down the bench wearing number 56 who will never see the floor unless there’s a 30 point lead with 30 seconds left in a game. You can be who make sports what they are. We all love the underdog!

But these kids aren’t always sparks. Sometimes they’re apathetic. Nobody cares about these kind of you, and these won’t really ever make a big difference or impact on a team. We love the “scrubs” who bust their rears during practice knowing they’ll only ever see scrap minutes. These are the kids we love and pull for. These players can even be the unwritten storyline of the heart and soul behind the dynamic of a team.

I saw a video yesterday that likely depicts a little of exactly what I’m talking about. (Take 46 seconds and watch this”…it’s awesome!!)

The travel shuffle is my personal favorite with the El Toro de Tres Puntos a close second!!!

This video and those Colby College players really got me thinking. There are times in life when we’re actively involved in what’s happening. We’re running the offense as the point guard and throw a pass for a layup or pull the three that could win the game. Sometimes we make it and win; other times we miss and lose. The outcome typically isn’t as important as the process.

Way more often we get to be bench players. We get to encourage our friends, spouse or kids. We’ve worked hard investing in those relationships (practice), but when the time comes we can’t make decisions for them. We play a role in gathering information and writing proposals at work, but somebody else (a starter) is making the final call on where the company’s going.

The majority of our lives aren’t spent with the ball in our hands. Good basketball teams practice defense, setting screens, blocking out and moving without the ball more than shooting. That’s where the majority of time is spent, but we typically only focus on the major moments.

Most of us aren’t going to hit a game winner in the NCAA or NBA finals. All of us will be in relationships and jobs where we get the chance to bring life to people. Sadly, we often choose to be the bearer of death, discouragement and selfish gain.

What if we celebrated the “play” and lives around us the way those guys celebrated their teammates?! What if I was more concerned about the good of the whole team rather than just my own playing time? What if I encouraged my friends, family and co-workers relentlessly? What if I was more concerned with setting others up for success than my own agenda?

This was just a fun video, but one that really got me thinking. I want to be a person who brings life and encouragement to others. I want to be this kind of a bench player!!

Challenged to be a better bench player and ultimately encourager,


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I'm Lindsay. I write letters at least one a day to be exact. I love words of affirmation, the OKC Thunder, Oklahoma State, tempos with v-necks, ice water, garage sales, budgeting and Blue Bell. Processing life and quality conversation make me tick. I'm simple yet complex all at the same time. My family and friends mean more to me than the world, but my identity lies in Christ.

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