Have you seen this? Can you believe that kid, Will Smith, actually ran out onto the floor of the Verizon Center and celebrated in the Wizards huddle after Paul Pierce made the winning shot at the buzzer? He even made the Washington Post.
Guess what. That young fan attends Floris UMC. I know because I had Will in a Confirmation small group I facilitated a few years back. He’s a good boy. Well-mannered, always participated, never gave me any trouble, except what you’d expect when you get a dozen 13-year-old boys together in church class and a bit of youthful energy gets the best of them.
Now he’s a college freshman, newly home from school, and he was lucky enough to get floor seats for that post season game. But what in the world was he thinking running out onto the court like that?
“Well, we (he and two buddies from high school) had floor seats on the baseline,” he told me by phone. “When I saw the shot go in, I didn’t hesitate. Five seconds later, I’m in the pile…”
Until he got shoved out of the way by the ESPN photographer. That seems to have brought Will to his senses. He suddenly realizes where he is and what he’s done and slinks off, security guard in tow, hoping no one else has noticed. Except thousands of people did, and now have contacted him about his fifteen seconds of fame.
“Seeing the replay,” he tells me, “I realized the audacity of what I did.”
What made him do it? He’s not sure. Will calls himself ‘outgoing’ and ‘maybe a bit impulsive’. Well, I’ll say! The kid’s got spunk. Let’s call it passion. He’s been a Wizard’s fan “forever,” his mom tells me. They’re his team. It’s only natural; the moment Will saw that shot go in, he was on his feet and celebrating with his teammates.
You just have to love that about youth. They don’t always consult their brain before they act on their emotions, and sometimes it lands them in some pretty crazy places…like center court at the Verizon center.
Honestly, I love it! It reminds me of Peter, yeah that Peter. Not when he refused a foot washing, or when he denied Jesus three times, but when, seeing the Lord on the shore, he “wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water.” ( John 21:7) Heart over head moment: swim for it!
The Lord was not mistaken when he named Simon Peter and declared, “On this rock I will build my church.” That Peter was an outspoken and ardent disciple of Christ. But that’s how love and devotion acts. How impulsive!
I confess a bit of envy at the nerve of my young friend Will. As I get older I find myself thinking long and hard before taking action. I consider the consequences, weigh the costs and benefits, and am too often guilty of staying put and applauding politely for my team in victory. Deep down, I wish I had a bit more Will, or a bit more Peter, in me: more teammate, less spectator.
Unfortunately for the Wizards, Pierce’s 3-pointer didn’t beat the buzzer in game 6. They needed you, Will Smith. We all need you. Every team needs a passion like that.
St. Peter would be bursting his buttons, if he had any…