learning to pivot

Basketball was my only sport. Year-round. Not because of traveling teams, expensive clubs, or a favorite NBA player. Basketball was the life of our community. At least from my perspective. And I was a passionate devotee. I played for hours on our dirt court where the hoop was affixed to the granary and the bats swooped down at the ball after dusk. 

Defense was my specialty; it relied on effort more than talent. Hustle. The only individual award that I could attain. Ms. Hustle, that is. I learned to block shots with my left hand after my right shoulder started dislocating. When a teammate and I set an especially good trap on a full court press my freshman year at Choate, our opponent gripped the ball and swung her elbows to create space. Broke my nose. I wasn’t sure how I’d survive being benched, unable to play, while I recovered. I lived and breathed basketball.

That’s where I learned how to pivot. Maybe you know the drill? It has been so long since I’ve played (that shoulder was a perennial problem) that I looked up the definition. 

A term in basketball used to define both the act of keeping one foot in place while moving the other and the actual foot which remains on the ground. Keeping one foot in place is necessary when a player stops dribbling the ball but wishes to re-position herself for a pass or shot.  A player may rotate and move around as long as one foot remains in place, on the floor. The foot chosen is known as the “pivot”, or “pivot foot”, and if it comes off the ground, or otherwise shifts position away from its original spot on the floor, a traveling violation will be called. -NBA

Turns out, pivoting is an apt spiritual metaphor. As well as a COVID-coping term for how we have dealt with the changing landscape. My planted foot is in Christ. I am rooted. Like a tree growing by the water. My soul is anchored in the Lord. Meanwhile, I rotate, looking for an opening for the next move.

I enjoyed outdoor worship, small gatherings for prayer and conversation. The weather was good for so long. I am glad to see the delta variant waning, case counts declining, flu shots and booster availability increasing, masks working. Our sanctuary has more room for social distancing and our congregation is more protected and careful than any gatherings I know. 

So we pivot again. Return to the building for live worship together. Without losing what we have learned in providing online, recorded services for listening any time, anywhere. Both, and. There are challenges ahead, and I am grateful for the opportunities to learn and grow together in this new stage of being the body of Christ. 

You, Lord my God! You’ve done so many things— your wonderful deeds and your plans for us— no one can compare with you! If I were to proclaim and talk about all of them, they would be too numerous to count!  Psalm 40:5 (CEB)

The anticipation is familiar. Maybe like getting back in the game after an injury? Nerves, feeling a bit rusty. Trusting the coach, trusting my teammates. Looking forward to the challenge, knowing that I belong on the court, we belong in the sanctuary. We were made to play and we were made to worship. May we be present and alert daily for both. 


2 Comments On “learning to pivot”

  1. Good metaphor indeed, Renee – and then there is dribbling, moving without the ball, etc. – and the season is just beginning!


  2. Yes! A new season! I have fond memories of hoops in the alley behind your garage :).


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