Basketball with Kids and Addicts
I worked a couple extra hours today, because I knew Christina would be home late. After 10 hours at the desk, I needed some fresh air, so I grabbed some Bible study material and went out to walk around the park and read. I saw some kids I know playing basketball (they're both in 8th grade), one of them being the son of a friend of mine from church. I approached to shoot around a little while and found out they had an unexpected guest sharing their court.
Apparently, a man high on drugs and drinking some Olde English (which smells horrid if you don't what it is) had decided to instruct them in some moves. I didn't know what to expect, but I put down my things to join them. He was "teaching" them a good hook shot and showed me how to guard him, and honestly he played a lot better than I expected. In any event, one of the kids, Christian, said he needed to tell me something, and this man (who didn't really respond when I tried to introduce myself) caught on and wouldn't leave him alone. "Just say it right now." "I don't like whispering." "Why are you trying to lie?" These in response to Christian just trying to whisper to me that the man was high. Now he's faced with having to fend off a grown man who could easily turn abusive... you just never know. If I tried to intervene, would that help matters or make them worse? When he drives in for a lay-up, should I try to block him or just try to be polite like the kids and half-heartedly stay out of his way?
I can't believe our children have to grow up tip-toeing around men strung out on crack while they try to shoot some hoops after school. The least I could do was stay until he left (mercifully, after the first game of 21). But this isn't just a chance occurrence. They didn't know to be polite because they've never been bothered by addicts in the park. It's intimidating for me as a grown man. I can't imagine being still a child and having to experience this day after day.
I'll continue to pray for the children's safety and the addicts' salvation, and I certainly invite more men to move into the cities and show boys what it means to be men.