«Incline your ear and hear the words of the wise, and applyyour heart to my knowledge; for it is a pleasant thing ifyou keep them within you; let them all befixed upon your lips» (Proverbs 22:17-18).
Theodoros Papaloukas was born in Athens (Greece) in 1977. From a young age he loved basketball, even though he didn’t seem promising in that sport: he was not the best athlete, he didn’t jump higher, nor was he faster than his teammates. So he was easily beaten by his rivals. How could he survive on the court? One day he realized that the secret was to understand the game better than the rest. That didn’t mean being smarter, but rather learning to make the best decisions. That’s how he began to stand out more and more and became a European basketball star: he mastered the game like few others in Messina’s CSKA, in Giannakis’s Olympiacos and Blatt’s Maccabi and, after his retirement in 2013, he’s a EuroLeague ambassador. Regarding his success as a player, Papaloukas said, «Every team sport is a psychological game in which you have to do what you do best. Basketball is pure psychology. You have to take the match to your field and hide your defects. When I played against short players I had to take them near the hoop, and when bigger players were brought in, I had resources to penetrate and set up plays for my teammates»—El Pais, May 12, 2015.
Many people go through this world without understanding what the game of life is all about. They go after money, pleasure and material possessions like crazy, but suddenly, when looking at the scoreboard they realize they’ve been overwhelmingly defeated. Solomon put it this way, «I returned and saw under the sun that— the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to men of understanding, nor favor to men of skill; but time and chance happen to them all» (Ecclesiastes 9:11). Others insist on focusing on their weaknesses to justify their scant productivity. And of course, there are always those who refuse to make an effort because they don’t find the true meaning of life. But Jesus revealed the secret to make better use of our passage through this world, «But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you» (Matthew 6:33).