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A Jewel in the Cave of Disappointment

Updated: May 30

Sports Analogies Never Fail

Photos courtesy of THE DAILY PROGRESS, subscriber's digital edition.

Dearest Becky,

Many thanks for the update on your grandson's sports injury. I know that God adores this fine young man of His. That’s all we really need to know. Wes and his team are safe in the arms of a loving Father. I am glad it is a fixable thing—he will have this mindset on his side—and concentrate on school studies, supporting his team on the bench [EXTREMELY IMPORTANT—the Michigan men’s bench experiences this a lot]. As you know, gratitude goes a long way. Wesley has it “all”—an abundance! Thank you, Father.

S in Ann Arbor


It was the best of times; it was the worst of times for the 6'3" sharpshooting guard. Trusting his dream, he stepped outside the security of varsity stardom and transferred to the larger, cross-town rival to finish high school. It was a surprise to all but a no-brainer to the kid who had been adapting with high-speed skill in the game he loved. And so he turned his coat, leaving behind the trophies shared on the Warriors' court and switched sides as a Patriot in Mr. Jefferson's Country.

He worked hard to earn a starter's spot in 14 games, and midway into the season, he averaged 13 ppg and racked up another 11 on January 12. The entire team was showing promising signs of cohesion, and the shooters were hot, hot, hot! With a couple of minutes left in the first half, making a play inside the lane, #12 slipped and fractured an ankle. As he hobbled off the court, the uncertainty in owning his decision stung in cruel dilemma and sucked the wind from the team's smooth sails.

Herein, Dickens' paradoxical quote chides us about opposites. When life's reversals happen, the positive and negative consequences stun us to compete against ourselves. The truth is that on any given day, life can bring thrilling victory and the sadness of disappointment. Had Dickens read the Apostle Paul's letter to the Romans? "And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings because..." 

Do you know the rest of that passage central to faith in Jesus Christ? Paul's equation for peace and joy may seem like a bitter pill, but it has more lasting value than the dystopian limitations found within the pages of A Tale of Two Cities.


  • We rejoice in our sufferings (plural!)

  • Because we know that suffering produces perseverance;

  • Perseverance, character, and character, hope.

  • And hope does not disappoint..."

In 1832 Abraham Lincoln recognized that adversity, while unwelcomed, abides in our human paradox- claiming his unsuccessful bid for election to the Illinois House of Representatives. Early in his political career, the vexing defeat took disappointment to a low level of humiliation. Carving out room for new jewels in his character, Lincoln would rebound and win the seat two years later. The moral of that story was a resolve to persevere. 

"If the good people, in their wisdom, shall see fit to keep me in the background, I have been too familiar with disappointments to be very much chagrined."

It's only halftime in Charlottesville, Virginia. There is a lot of Game left on our grandson's bench. Anyone can beat anyone, including himself, on any Friday night in America. Adolescence is a rollercoaster suspended by emotion, surging unto an unpredictable quest. This rite of passage is best endured in the company of good friends, shepherded by discerning coaches and loyal teammates, observed by grateful families. We are hopeful! The accolades of goodwill and empathy inspire today with a bigger picture for tomorrow. Time is temporal, and yet hope springs eternal. It's a teaching moment on and off the court.

Let us continue supporting one another together! Send a card, peck a text, and say you care because it speaks volumes in the lonely vacuum of a human paradox. Encouragers anticipate the therapeutic role of perseverance that overrides fading disappointment.

I close with tender parting shots from Wes Gobble's Fanclub. Go Patriots!


"Oh, Becky, I am so sorry to hear this! All that work and then injuries! Such disappointment!" from a Denver Debutante

"Oh my….. this certainly brings back LOADS of memories! What an athlete you have! Thank you so much for sending this to me! I can relate in ways you can only imagine! I can still remember our dear Marge Aalbregtse saying, 'It was almost like seeing Jesus sitting on the rim making sure Randy made basket after basket!' I can't say I understood the depth of her faith then…but I certainly do now. Enjoy every moment of His blessings!"

an Elder Linden Street Sister

"We wish all well in the recovery phase." 

from our handful of Christian friends in New Hampshire

"Looking forward to a complete recovery, however long it takes, and enjoying more games in the future." Superfans Genetically Close to the Action in Virginia

"Prayers for healing and comfort. Hard to walk through the fire, but when he is through it, he will be right where he is supposed to be. Glad he has such a great support system. 

Blessings." Atlanta Royalty

"Appreciate all the details." from A Prayer Sister in Charlottesville

"It's so wonderful he has good friends, a good family, and an amazing grandmother!"

 L at Wintergreen Resort

"I'm so sorry to hear about Wes' ankle injury! As you mentioned, he will get the best care. He is strong, and young people heal quickly. This is just a 'bump in the road.' I am confident that he will be playing basketball with his teammates before you know it! I will pray for quick healing for Wes." 'Big Sis' in Sunny Florida

"When can he play? We don't know, but this is likely a 4-6 week recovery. We will have a good chance to focus on finally rehabbing this ankle, which has been dogging him for a few years. He is going to handle all of the communications with his coaches. 

 What does he need? I know this is hard for everyone; we are all worried and sad for him. He needs normalcy, low drama, and an environment to focus on proactive recovery, getting strong, and continuing to look ahead to next year." from Mom, his biggest fan

Lest we forget a mention (resemblance?) of the Late Great-Sportsfan Grandfather Cooper:

"Papa Joe may just be guiding Wes. Wes was able to move to a place physically, mentally and faith-based. God will continue to be there, making the positive moves understandable. Papa Joe brought joy and happiness to many boys growing up in Marshall.  

I have gone down the road Wes went through with peers but as an adult. Without God guiding me, I'm not sure where I would have ended up. He swooped me up and gave me strength and the encouragement to keep my head up and be the best I could be. I'm not perfect. But I do care and love people. I'm a fixer who sometimes should walk away but sometimes can't. 

Our friendship warms me through from my head to my toes." 

from Seaside in Croatia

Post Script: It is said most changes need 3 days, 3 weeks, even 3 months for human adaptation. We so wanted him to finish the season. Lord willing, if we believe he is healed, Wes will contribute to the loyal teammates' dreams and advance to the state tournament! [This actually happened, and the team went all the way to the Final Four, March 1st, Division 5 in Virginia High School League.] I am so grateful for ACAC Rehab and the countless answered prayers, too!

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