When I played basketball in high school, the third quarter was always the most difficult eight minutes of game time. Any momentum our team built up in the first two quarters seemed impossible to maintain after that fifteen-minute break in play we know as halftime.
I have a few theories about why this was the case. Halftime offered us a respite from the exertion of playing full court defense and slashing through the open lanes on offense. It also offered us the opportunity to gorge ourselves on orange slices brought (without fail) by one of the team moms. So. Many. Orange. Slices.
We became so comfortable with the rest at halftime that our bodies made it back onto the court a good eight minutes before our minds did. The result? Wild passes out of bounds, sloppy footwork that led to turnovers or missed rebounds. In short, it led to what our coach (who happened to be my Dad) would label some “seriously ugly basketball.”
In time, I learned that halftime (and the other breaks between quarters) required a discipline of resting while staying mentally sharp. Catching your breath, grabbing a drink and some nourishment (a la orange slices), needed to be balanced with focus on the end goal. Whether we were up or down, our coach might rework our game plan, adjusting the trajectory we had set ourselves on for the final minutes. Whatever the case, when we took that final break heading into the fourth quarter, our coach always said, “Just leave it all on the court. It’s only eight minutes of your life. You can rest in eight minutes.”
At ACS, our two-week spring break caps off the end of a third quarter. For some of you co-teachers, this was a quarter where your minds were similarly catching up to your bodies after our Christmas halftime. You may have been surprised by the difficulty of picking up the momentum you had built before the break. For others, you maintained that momentum well, but are weary of a final quarter.
Wherever you find yourselves in this basketball analogy (that probably needs to expire like a 24-second shot clock), take heart. Rest is coming. Soak in these two weeks with your family and friends. Enjoy creation. Travel. Stay in Austin. Spend time in the Word. Pray.
But stay focused on the end. There is one more quarter left. So as you think about that quarter over the break, maybe spend time as a family celebrating the successes of your first three quarters. How did you see God move in your school year? What routines improved the most? What co-teachers offered support to you during a difficult time? How might your game plan need to be adjusted for the final quarter?
As our two weeks comes to a close in a few days, we’ll return to school and then will have just nine weeks to leave it “all on the court.”
Onward and Upward!
Head of School