September 20

Written by Bill Grandi on September 20th, 2021

Sitting the bench is no fun.

Because I was a fairly good athlete I seldom sat the bench. That is, until I hit high school basketball. I started playing Little League baseball at Age 8. There no such torture chamber as T-ball or “coach pitch” back then. It was us playing ball. I seemed to have a knack for baseball. I didn’t start basketball until 9th grade. I was tall but grew 3-4″ in one year (I had the achy knees to prove it). I didn’t know how to dribble a basketball and run so while the team practiced I did too-on the sidelines running up and down the side of the court dribbling the ball.

I played some as a JV in grades 10-11 and thought I would have my chance to play as a Sr. I even went to summer ball. Nope. Coach was looking to next year so I sat the bench. I didn’t even get a chance to play in my last game as a Senior (but coach said he heard me yelling for the team.  Big deal!)

Moving onto college I played as a starter all 3 years (I didn’t play my senior year since I chose to get married and actually try to study). The only time I sat the bench was for a breather or coach wanted me to be playing later in the game and stay out of foul trouble.

I hated sitting the bench. I felt like a loser. I never had my parents come watch a high school game so I wasn’t disappointing them. I just felt useless at times. I was a practice dummy-used in practice to prepare the team for the opposing team.

I dreamed of playing professional sports. I know now I was never good enough. And never would have been.

Bob Goff reminded me there is no shame in being on the bench. He said,

The dream He (God) put in your heart are dreams He still wants to fulfill through you today. He didn’t create any of us to just be practice buddies or water boys-there’s no sideline to God’s story of redemption, and there’s no bench. (#262-p.311)

You know? He is right. All that “splinter gathering” I did was molding me to wait, but also showing me I have value-as a pastor-not as a ball player. It just took me awhile to realize it. (I Cor. 12:7)

“Thank you Father for showing me that You have no intention of me sitting on the bench. You have me in Your game and a highly valued member of Your team.”


6 Comments so far ↓

  1. Bill, I could feel your pain at being benched. But, I am in awe of your resiliency and tenacity to not give up. As a servant of God – especially as a Pastor – I can imagine the difficulties you have experienced. Your youth was a training ground for the qualities you would need in ministry. You learned your lessons well, Bill! You were a good life student and now pass it on as a teacher of God’s people. God bless you.

    • Bill Grandi says:

      Thank you Diane from seeing things through that excellent perspective and passing them along. As you know from your own life experiences the threshing floor is not the most fun place to be but more than worth it in the end.

  2. God never benches any of His children, Bill. He’s given all of us unique talents, and He expects us to use them to our full capacity. I did like Goff’s reflection here.

  3. Ed says:

    Sometimes I think we were born for the right moment. Thankfully it seems you have found your moment.. or it has found you!
    It reminds me of Jeremiah 29:11-29.