Giants in my territory
To explain this title, I have to go back a number of years when I was a sophomore at South Florence High in Florence, South Carolina. (This event, I am about to describe may have been my junior year, but I am sure it happened during my sophomore year).
I was 130 lbs., zero body fat, a natural athlete playing multiple sports. There was not a sport or an activity that my high school basketball coach, Vicki Wilson, introduced me to that I did not quickly learn and became proficient at within a few hours. I just had a natural gifting and a very strong instinct toward athletics. I caught on very quickly and became really good at any sports I tried.
At any rate, my sophomore year should have been the year my basketball team should have won our region championship. Outside of my school, the only other schools who had a chance to win it all were Socastee High School, which possessed the top female basketball player at that time. Along with Wilson High School and Hartsville High School. We all were the four schools that people were expecting to possibly take the championship; and South Florence High School probably was at the bottom of that list. But most felt Socastee was going to win it all because of their All American 6 feet 1-inch center Beth Hunt. This white chick was a slam-dunking machine. A power-horse of a player who averaged over 20 points a game. She dominated our region and most players were intimidated by her presence.
competing against a giant
Again, as I mentioned, personally I felt, this was our year to win it all. We had Tammy Durant, who also average over 20 points a game. Then there was Lywan McNeil - our center who matched closely with Beth as far as strength and close to Beth's size. I was confident that Lywan could match Beth on the defensive end and slow her down just a little bit if nothing else. And with the help of our powerful forward, Donna (I can’t remember her last name), I knew we had a pretty good defensive team to man-handle and contain Beth.
So, between Tammy’s average high scoring games, Lywan and Donna covering Beth, and my contributions on both ends of the floor, which I was known as a terror on the defensive end. And at the time, I average about 10 points per game and about 5 to 10 assists (passing). (I was slowly becoming a triple threat on the offensive side of the game and I naturally dominated the defensive end of the court – averaging more than 5 steals per game). SO, WE HAD THE TEAM! Especially when you included the contribution, we got from our teammates off the bench. We were really good and a solid contender.
But prior to our tournament game against Socastee (if I remembered correctly – the number 1 team who had the number 1 player of the year), we experienced some hiccups that should have ended our championship hopes.
Lywan, our best chance against Beth, had to quit the team for the rest of the season due to personal circumstances. Our challenging circumstances we faced that still should have led to a victory, now seem hopeless, an impossible fleet, especially without Lywan, our center.
To add to this difficulty, we had to play Socastee on their home court, which should have given them the game advantage. As we sat in their locker room, Coach Wilson is giving us our prep talk to get us motivated. But I could feel the uncertainly in the air, but I was not bothered by it. I was a little cocky as a player, LOL. I was confident and saw the challenge we were facing as a team as an opportunity to prove everyone wrong.
At any rate, just before we went out of the locker room, Coach Wilson now turns her attention to individual players and gives them specific instructions. And then she turns to me and says.
I was like whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa????? As she continues, what she said next gave me all the confidence in the world that I needed. You could not tell me anything else after Coach Wilson gave me that prep talk. I was on cloud 9. Because at this point, I knew Coach Wilson knew I could guard Beth, despite the tremendous size, strength, and ability difference. I was a small child in the eyes of Beth. And she definitely towered over me like a giant when I stood next to her to guard her on the high post, in the center position. It looked hopeless for me and my team. But Coach Wilson continued with this next line that changed the game for me and later our team. She said to me.
So, in the game opener, Donna does the jump the ball against Beth. On their first possession on the offensive end of their court, all the players line up in their given area on the floor. And when I ran up to where Beth was on the high post, she looked down at me and laughed. I mean this chick was hard down laughing at the thought of me guarding her. She then looked over to her coach bench, like are you serious, which the coach shrugged his shoulders as to indicate, this will be a high-scoring game for her. And then finally, Beth looks into the crowd and it appeared everyone laughed in agreement with her. She just knew this was going to be an easy game for her. How wrong her coach, the crowd, and she was. I did exactly as my coach instructed me. That night was one of Beth’s lowest-scoring games. She did not dominate the floor like she usually did. In fact, she spent the entire night frustrated. I was like that swamping bee flying all around her. And that night might have been my highest number of steals because she had the one bad habit that most big players have. Bringing the ball low. And I was a scrappy player who was extremely quick. So, when she brought the ball down low or went to bounce it. Zoom! I came in for the steal often time.
Add to that, for my size, I was pretty strong. So, as we lean on each other to get the best position, my legs were strong enough to keep her away from the boards, which meant, she did not get a lot of rebounds and those easy second shoots she was used to getting. On top of the fact, I was well conditioned and quick. So, I got down on both ends of the floor much quicker than she did. And this gave me and my team another advantage. In the end, I shut her down. That night was her lowest offensive game effort and she did not have one slam dunk.
And if I remembered correctly, we won that game.
I shared this special moment in my life because that one game against my greatest giant changed my entire outlook not only toward sports but how I approach all things. I realized at that point in life, we will always encounter giants. Things that seem impossible. But as the old saying goes. When there is a will, there is a way. My coach, my team, and I found a way to defeat our giant, which was Beth Hunt.
You see, I had to carry my weight (my part) of the responsibility within my team to guarantee our victory along with my teammates’ contributions. Resulting in us pulling off the impossible win. We went into that game the underdogs but came out victoriously.
We often hear about the story of David and Goliath, when David defeated his giant. But Goliath was not the only giant that David had to confront and defeat. In Chronicles chapter 20 (and stated in 2 Samuel chapter 21), David fought and subdued 4 other giants – Sibbecai, Sippai, Lahmi, the brother of Goliath, and the giant in Gath. (I hope I got that right). David and his servants defeated them all (1 Chronicles 20:4-8). They achieved what seemed to be the impossible as a team with God on their side (Mark 10:27).
A New Season for the church, the ecclesia (ekklesia)
This year is a new beginning for God’s church, His chosen people. For the season of the Church has arrived and they will rise above all things. That is God’s true Church, His Ecclesia. These seasoned Saints will raise up in power and authority as no man has seen before. Marking and distinguishing them from all men and so-called Saints of God. Their presence and authority will be seen and known by many. For no one will be able to deny their clear marking for Christ the Messiah. For the hour has come and it is here, where the giants have entered in the land of the harvest to reap what God’s people have sowed. In order to steal, kill, and destroy what God has planted for His people and this land (John 10:10). But the giants of the land are illegal, trespassing within the gates of God’s county; and therefore, His Saints must respond with a pressing charge. Like David and his servants, the Ecclesia will battle for the territory. Like my battle on the basketball court against Beth, the All-American, South Carolina’s player of the year. God’s Church will raise up victories against what seem to be impossible. They will let out a shout, a battle in one voice, under one house, for Christ lives (Ephesians 4:4-6). He lives and the victory is his (compare to Galatians 2:20).
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God's word is for the edification, exhortation, and consolation; for teaching, reproving, correcting, and training so that every Christian is equipped for the work of service, to build up the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 14:3; 2 Timothy 3:16; Ephesians 4:12).