Basketball with the Guys
If you know me, you know I'm a soccer and running kind of guy. I even have branched into the realm of (noncompetitive) swimming over the last year. But something I hadn't played in quite a while was basketball. Sure, I'd shoot some baskets at the Y as a way to get warmed up for other activities, but not a game...
...except now that it's cold outside and the weekly soccer pick-up games have ended, I had to find some kind of outlet. Which brings me to basketball. There's a noon pick-up game at the Y for the Crown guys, but they've added me to their e-mail list. It's pretty funny checking e-mail around 10:30 and seeing multiple e-mails with BB in the subject line (everyone just e-mails in their number stating that they'll be there). Today there were two games.
I'd like to say that I'm one of the better players out there, but that would be a lie. I probably am one of the average players out there, at least. And I have a lot of fun. And I usually make some baskets, too. As well as some turnovers and a rebound or two. But what a great way to meet people who aren't already in our church.
I dont' find it all that easy to meet people outside of the church context. It's not hard to "meet" people, per se, but it's hard to get to know them or to do anything with them. That's part of the difficulty in being a pastor. In seminary I was told not to get too close to people in my congregation, and to an extent I understand (to another extent I think that's garbage, but that's another post for another day), but it's rather isolating not having those friendships.
I was talking with a pastor friend around here about friendships - I think there are three levels of "friends" (not just good acquaintences).
These are the closest friends. They are the Jonathan/David, Naomi/Ruth, or Frodo/Sam kind of friends. They are few and far between. They say a friend will help you move, but a true friend will help you move a body. They will stick with you no matter what.
These are good friends. They keep you accountable and encourage you. They're not quite as loyal as level one friends, and they might be shorter term friends or long-distance friends. They are often the type who come in and out of your life and when you get back together, it's like you were never apart. You have a high level of trust with these friends
These are your buddies. You hang out with them, help them move, play games and sports with them. I was part of a group like this who would go to Hoggy's and watch Monday Night Football together every week. I have been trying to establish some level three friendships around here, and it's been hard. But perhaps my basketball games can lead to this kind of friendships.