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Life with the Lady Flames:Rachel's Reflection

December 2, 2008
|  Lynchburg, Va.
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Rachel Hammond and the Lady Flames will attempt to pick up a road win, tonight at James Madison. Tip-off at the JMU Convocation Center is set for 7 p.m.

Rachel Hammond and the Lady Flames will attempt to pick up a road win, tonight at James Madison. Tip-off at the JMU Convocation Center is set for 7 p.m.

Today, LibertyFlames.com continues a new feature for the 2008-09 women's basketball season, "Life with the Lady Flames." From now until the end of the season, Liberty's six seniors will provide a unique look inside the women's basketball program, by way of journal entries. The series continues with Rachel Hammond.

After three straight losses on the road and injuries becoming far too common, the wear-and-tear has begun to take its toll, emotions are heightened and solutions are sought after. We are bleeding, but we will heal. We look back only to learn, and we look forward only to find hope in the promise of reinforcements! The season is young and we are learning – we are learning a lot. This early pain is simply an opportunity to grow. We are growing as students of the game, as laborers in a system, as friends on a journey and believers in the Creator who foreknows the outcome.

At Liberty, I can think of a lot of great people who have helped me along the way. A professor of mine, whom I had not communicated with in a while, e-mailed me today a rather timely note of encouragement. He said he felt compelled to share with me James 1:2-4. It says, "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." It was God's little way of reminding me to rejoice in the hard times. Without them, we are never pushed to exhaust our full potential. I hope that this current adversity will stretch us to think differently, act differently and play differently.

Now, let me qualify what I mean by "hard times." While James is talking about being literally persecuted for preaching the Gospel, losing a few basketball games could hardly be classified to that degree of hardship. These basketball games, however, form the very hub of our lives! Our academic schedules, our social lives, our eating patterns and our sleeping habits all revolve around this game for the greater portion of our year. In order to perform well, an incredibly large amount of mental and physical energy is exerted into being successful in this business. Because we have not enjoyed immediate success, it can lead one to more readily count the cost. The reevaluation process ultimately leads back to the question: What is the purpose behind all of this? (Most people who know me would tell you I am not one for doing things without a purpose.)

What, then, do I think the purpose of all this is? Well, I won't be dogmatic because I'm sure there are a lot reasons that I haven't even thought of, but what comes to my mind is preparation – preparation for the future in this life and preparation for eternity. If I cannot learn to cope with the struggles that come with being part of a team, why would I be able to overcome challenges later in life? The situations we face daily as Division I college athletes are opportunities to grow into people who are preparing to meet with God for an eternity of perfect fellowship.

If I cannot learn to submit to the greater plan of the coach, what makes me think I will be able to submit to the unknowable ways of God? If I cannot learn to understand and show unconditional love to my teammates, what makes me think I will be able to understand and show unconditional love to a husband? If I cannot learn to remain poised under pressure, what makes me think I will remain calm in the case of an unexpected tragedy? If I cannot learn to take corrective criticism, how will I ever be able to take reproof in my pursuit to become a disciple of Christ?

Life is about learning to love God and people better. Basketball just happens to be one avenue among many. All of us play the game for different reasons, but most of us would probably say we enjoy it most for the people it brings together. Whether our memories drift to the Big South Conference tournament, AAU trips, high school state championships, the YMCA or even the old playground, the people and how I chose to interact with them stand out most in my mind. The seasons pass by, records are broken and championships fade away, but the consequences of our chosen actions throughout those years will affect our lives forever. So for that, I say maybe we can find some good to come out of this rocky start!

Previous Life with the Lady Flames entries
Oct. 28 - Moriah Frazee
Nov. 4 - Rebecca Lightfoot
Nov. 11 - Molly Frazee
Nov. 18 - Alexandria Bream
Nov. 25 - Megan Frazee