I remember when I first started performing card tricks at my older brother’s basketball games. I would walk over to the opposing team’s stands and ask someone if they wanted to see a magic trick. Before I knew it, a crowd of eager fans were gathered around me. I can still hear the loud reactions that people yelled as cards magically changed in their hands. I loved being able to make high school guys scream like little girls.
Years later, it was my turn to play high school basketball. My reputation as the “magic guy” stuck with me. People looked forward to seeing my tricks. Guys on the court would ask me if I had brought my cards for after the game. I loved getting to build relationships with my opponents.
Sadly, as the years went by, more and more players graduated. Many of the guys I had forged friendships with were no longer playing ball. Also, as the level of competition rose, I had less opportunities to perform magic for the other team. Post game card tricks unfortunately became a rarity.
A few nights ago, my team’s 21 game winning streak came to a close with a 6 point loss to the Parlier Panthers. It was the last league basketball game that I will ever play in. While we were getting ready to leave Parlier’s gym, a young boy approached me and said, “good game.” I smiled and thanked him. He walked back to his friends who were standing a ways back. I think his friends must have prompted him to speak because a few seconds later he called out, “Hey, do you still do magic?”
“Yeah,” I said. “Do you want to see something?”
So there I was, performing card tricks to fans just like old times. As the magic took place I looked up and saw their astonished faces. It hit me that this would probably be the last time I show magic to fans in my league. I thought back to when I was young kid performing years ago.
“Come closer so you can hear me better,” I said. “I want to show you one of my favorite tricks. I also want to share a message with you.” The three boys huddled closer together. I had one pick a card and then I proceeded to share the gospel.
While it was tough to lose Friday night, basketball is so much more than winning and losing. It’s a way to demonstrate sportsmanship and honor Christ. It’s an avenue to build relationships and share your faith. You and I are called to tell people about the wonderful news of Jesus Christ. You don't need to play basketball or know magic to share your faith. You have the Spirit of Jesus living inside of you. May we look for opportunities to share our faith. The ball is in our court.