Thursday, November 25, 2010

The Assist




Thanksgiving.  Thanks giving.  This singular, secular, holiday contains a unique invitation to change our outlook and our destiny.  Because there is something magical in the act of giving thanks.


In high-school I had a basketball coach named Mr. Snodgrass.  Mr. Snodgrass had one hard and fast rule.  On the court if you made a basket, you immediately turned toward the girl who passed you the ball, pointed at her and yelled, "Good pass, Mary!"  [In basketball, the person passing the ball to the scorer has given her an "assist." ]  This acknowledgment  had to be immediate and loud enough to be heard and if we did not do it, we were benched.  There was a practical reason for this act; it allowed the person tracking the stats to accurately record the assist. But it had a didactic purpose as well:   it helped us realize that we were -- in fact -- a team and that it is important to thank the people that help us succeed.

I regularly makes lists of the things and people I am thankful for.  The simple, clean act of writing it on paper somehow increases my gratitude.  It brings before me the clear memory, the bright face, the soft touch, the warm words that at some point were just what I needed to hear, see or feel.  I have a good many people on my gratitude list this week and some life circumstances too.  In the rush of getting ready for the official holiday of Thanksgiving, I am blessed to take time with a cup of coffee and a clean sheet of paper and do some thanks giving.  Over the next few weeks of Advent I will be taking my it a step further as I write notes or phone people from my list to thank them for the "assist." 

Mr. Snodgrass, wherever you are, I hope you realize the lasting impact of that lesson you taught me 35+ years ago!  You planted in me the seeds of a thankful life and taught me to regularly stop to thank my teammates!  Thank YOU, Mr. Snodgrass.  Good pass!

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