We attended the end of season banquet for Lindsey’s school volleyball team the other night. At the table with some other parents, the conversation turned to a previous coach and the catch phrase he was known for, “Use It!” I remembered back during the season, the student section would yell it during games but I never paid much attention. I’ve been watching girls volleyball for six years and I’ve heard a lot of coaching phrases yelled out but this one was new to me. One of the Moms explained, “Anytime the girls were down, if the other team made an error- served it out, hit it into the net, had a net violation, whatever, Coach would yell ‘Use It!'”
Volleyball is a game of momentum and teams can go on a run pretty quickly. You score on your own good offensive play but also off the errors of the other team. We have watched matches when a team will go on a 9 point run and then serve a ball into the net. Just that small break in momentum, can give the other team an opportunity. A chance to use an unmerited point and turn their situation around.
Sports are often a metaphor for life, and I keep thinking about this one. There are so many times in life when the hits keep coming and we feel like everything is stacked against us. How true is that of 2020? But then there are the small breaks in the clouds. The glimmer of a chance. A kindness bestowed. A new idea hatched from the brokenness of what once was. A break in the onslaught of a tumultuous year.
I don’t know what emerges from the negative momentum of 2020, but as I practice mindfulness and survey the last 11 months, looking forward in hope to 2021, I’m looking for the glimmers of mercy. The small things that fall into my lap as unmerited blessings. That tiny break that we can use to build something on. The chance to Use It.