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  • Writer's pictureKelly Marks


It’s fair to say that basketball is not my favorite sport, but it is definitely Paul’s. So much so that he plays several times a week against a couple of 30-year-olds. It’s a testament to what good shape he’s in to be able to hang with the youngsters. It’s also a testament as to what an amazing wife I am because every time he comes in, he describes the games to me in great detail, and I nod and “listen.”

He tells me about a fadeaway shot that went in, and then he explains how he was guarding his opponent so well that he forced the rival to do a hook shot. Unfortunately, it still went in, and Paul lost, but it was a great move.

He also loves to tell me about how he was driving to the basket, and his opponent was blocking the path so he faked right and then pivoted and made the basket. Score one for the home team. Wait, is that baseball?

I kind of zone out while the glory of each basketball game is explained, but I do like the parts about a head-fake, followed by a pivot – mainly because I like the word pivot.

I’m always reminded of the Friends’ episode when Ross, Chandler, and Rachel are trying to carry a sofa up a narrow staircase? Ross keeps yelling “pivot, pivot“ when it’s time to make a turn on the switch-back portion of the stairs. It’s a funny scene, but the blooper reel of that scene is hilarious. Every time “pivot“ is yelled, the cast cracks up.

In that scene they show us how calling out to pivot and needing to pivot are not the same thing as actually being able to. And yet the need to do this confronts us almost every day.

One example happened right before Covid shut the world down. Paul and I went to Chicago for a long weekend with another couple, and guess whose luggage didn’t make it? Yep, I had to do a big pivot.

Just this weekend I was reminded of it again. A friend and I were leading a retreat, and she had gone to great lengths to make sure the video she wanted to share with the group worked, and it did - until 21 pairs of eyes were watching, and suddenly nothing we could do would make it work. We all witnessed the most graceful of pivots. My friend calmly shifted into another part of the speech and promised to have the video for later. Nothing to worry about.

These are everyday opportunities but sometimes pivots need to be internal. During one of our discussions at the retreat, someone asked what if a family member knows how to push your buttons and continuously does? What if this part of the family lets you down or hurts your feelings, or even worse, maybe? Another woman immediately spoke up and referred to the need to pivot. She said that at times like this, we tend to hold on to our righteous indignation, but maybe we need to focus on what we can learn from it. Change the narrative from instead of “Look what bad thing happened to me,“ to “What can I learn from this?“

The speaker went on to say over and over that it’s not easy, but changing and growing never is. And pivoting keeps us agile; it keeps us growing, and according to Paul, it can win a basketball game or two!!

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