Mrs. Sands was our coach and was also my Spanish teacher. She was good about teaching and coaching. I liked her better as a coach because there she actually spoke English!
As I played on the team I was aware that I was not the best on the team. I was the last one to finish the running drills, the last to be put in to the games and often the last to be taught the new plays. No matter, there was something in me that loved the game. I somehow felt like I could play better than I actually performed. Mrs. Sands called me to her office one day. She had called each player in and it was my turn. She said, "Janie, you are a good solid player and I believe that you would like to play varsity next year. Is that true?" "Yes, it is. I would very much like to." "Well," she continued, "there are a few things I would like to see you improve. You need to improve on your speed. If you lost weight you could be quicker on the court."
I started to cry. I was surprised at the tears. I never cried in front of Ms. Sands before. She was really sincere and kind but tough. She was no one I would want to cry in front of. I cried because it was not the first time someone had said something about my weight. Somehow, it was out there. It was not some problem I could hide. Other problems: home life and family stuff I could hide and escape from but this weight just hung on for everyone to see. She had named it out loud and now I was no longer hiding it. Mrs. Sands saw my tears but did not respond to them. I was thankful.
She went on, "I notice that you are the last one to finish laps at the gym, the last one when we do suicides and the slowest on the court. I believe you can do better." Something inside me believed what she said. I really wanted to believe her. "I think that if you lose some weight and work at the running you will improve. I would like to see you on the varsity team next year."
I was still crying, truly unable to keep it together at all, embarrassed that a teacher and coach would notice my overweight body. But I left determined to work at the things she spoke of.
I decided to give up dessert. Anytime there were desserts I said no. The lunch line at school had been one of my victory spots. It was a simple decision to skip the desert. But I also worked really hard and before long was finishing in the top three during sprints and first on several occasions when running laps.
One day Mr. Beard, the Girls Varsity Coach, walked through line right behind me. We knew each other because my Junior Varsity team would often practice with the Varsity team. He said, "Janie, you have lost weight. I bet you are nowhere near the 160 lb. mark you were before." I was devastated. How did he know my weight? I knew that we weighed in at the beginning of the season but... Had Mrs. Sands told him of our talk? I was so embarrassed. I felt ashamed of the small effort I had made. It really didn't seem like enough in the moment. I just wanted to go eat dessert.
Through Story Exploration
I came to see that there is good in this story, 'Out of 1,000 students in my class, I made the girls basketball team and that it is possible for me to work hard and achieve victory!' However, the lies are that others are watching and assessing if I fit in and simply, my body needs to be different. Specific lies sewn by the kingdom of darkness:
The Truth: School for me was a separate world that was safe and good. There were reasons for my weight. I often ate to try and make myself feel better from the brokenness, anxiety and fear at home. It provided a fleeting comfort in my world where there was none. My coach or teammates knew nothing of my home life because I didn't want them to know. She could have asked about my life at home, but Ms. Sands could only help me with what she knew. The questions for me now are, Will I choose to help this girl so full of dreams and willingness to work hard at them? Will I see her outer and inner beauty, come along side and cheer her on? Will I allow her to be seen?