I'm the kind of person who skips to the conversation when reading a book.
The other day at the swim meet, one of the mothers spoke to Gretchen, the head coach. “My son dives for high school,” she said, “but I don’t understand how they score the dives. It doesn’t make sense to me.”
“Booo!” they shouted. “What’s wrong with your eyes?!” “You need glasses!”
The dive had been announced as being in pike position. The diver executed the dive in a tuck position. According the rule book, if a dive is “clearly done in a position other than that described on the diving sheet,” it is no higher than a 2. The judges knew the rule. The audience did not.
I had a feeling that the diver’s mother had witnessed something similar, and that’s what she wanted to ask about. Gretchen told her to ask me because I could probably explain it all to her. I looked for her, but didn’t see her anywhere. I did, however, see her son, Abel, the diver, who also swims for us.
“Hey, Abel,” I said to him, “I understand you went to a dive meet yesterday.”
“Yeah,” he said.
“How did you do?” I asked.
“I finished seventh,” he said, kind of shrugging his shoulders like it was no big deal.
“I guess your mom has some questions about how they score the dives,” I said.
“Yeah. I think she cares more about it than I do.” Personally, I liked the fact that he recognized that, and just took it in stride. “The scores were all over the place at this meet. Some judges gave 2’s while other judges gave 6’s on the same dive.”
I smiled to myself. The dive had probably been done in the wrong position. Some of the judges may not have been listening or paying attention so they just scored the dive that they saw.
“Were there five judges?” I asked.
“When they tally the score, they’ll throw out the high and the low. Usually that corrects for whatever mistakes the judges make,” I told him.
“I know,” he said. “It’s just my mom…” and his voice trailed off.
“If you ever see me at the pool and want me to look at your dives, I’ll tell you how I would have scored them and why. I’m not sure how helpful that it, though,” I told him, “because I can only tell you what I want to see. I can’t tell you how to get there.”
That’s the advantage of a good coach. A good coach knows what they want to see, and they can tell the athlete what changes they need to make to get there. Sometimes, in diving, it’s just the way the diver leans as they make their approach; that can determine the height they get from the board, and the height then determines what they can do in the air.
I was thinking about this conversation this morning, though, as I had my quiet time. I was reading about King Asa in 2 Chronicles 15 and 16. He wanted to be a good king; he wanted to follow the Lord. He did all sorts of reforms, calling the people to sacrifice to the Lord, getting rid of Asherah.
In his last years, however, he made two critical errors. One, he sought help from the Syrians in fighting against Baasha, king of Israel. The other, he sought physicians for help with a disease in his feet. In each instance, it seemed that Asa sought help from someone “with skin on” rather than the Lord. And the Lord wasn’t happy with that.
Asa wanted to be a good king, but he didn’t have the wherewithal to get there. My coach’s heart thinks that he needed a coach to guide him. But even that is wrong. All we truly need is found in God and His guidance in our lives. If we seek Him first, everything else will fall into place.