Someone had to take the shot. Someone who believed had to take the shot. Someone who believed in what he could not yet see had to take the shot.
The game was tied at 74. Now, with seconds remaining, underdog Villanova had the ball and a chance to win a national championship in the NCAA Division 1 Men’s Basketball Tournament. Junior Kris Jenkins inbounded the ball to one of the team’s stars and its leader, Ryan Arcidiacono, who quickly advanced the ball toward ‘Nova’s basket. The players were about to execute the designed play called “Nova”. Arcidiacono was the first option to try to make the winning play. Jenkins was the third option.
Someone had to take the shot. Arcidiacono could have attempted the shot, and if he made it, he would be a hero among the ‘Nova faithful for life and beyond. But then he did something that defies the thinking of most elite athletes: he passed the ball. What motivated “The Pass” was the shouting of Jenkins behind him asking for the ball, and the belief, the faith of Arcidiacono that Jenkins could; that Jenkins would make the shot.
The Thursday before the national championship game the team’s chaplain, the Rev. Robert Hagan, Father Rob, taught the team about Maundy Thursday by having them wash each other’s feet at the pre-game meal. In modeling the servant lesson of Jesus to his disciples, Father Rob was teaching everyone about the fact that each team member was equal; they all served each other and a greater, common cause. On the Easter Sunday before the final game Father Rob preached about the miracle of the Resurrection, telling the team that “faith is believing before you see, when your ship is on the horizon and you don’t know what’s on the other side.”
And now, full of faith in his teammate, Arcidiacono passed the ball to Jenkins, who was full of faith that what he could not yet see was real. Someone who believed in what he could not yet see took the shot that someone had to take. Ball in flight, clock ticking to zero, swish. Faith becomes sight. Are you willing to take “The Shot”? Believe.
(Source: Luke Winn in Sports Illustrated, April 11, 2016)