I was finally able to watch the documentary, The Fab Five, about the story of Michigan’s college basketball team in the early 1990’s. As a person who was on a high school basketball team during that age, watching this team is something I remember fondly. Some of the simulacrums of my youth and basketball playing stem from this team. So as a full disclosure, the video may be more influential to me than the average person, but I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Watching it made me consider the story of Chris Webber. Not the story of his relationship with Big Money Ed (where, for the sake of full disclosure, I’ll concede that I think most people give him more of a bum rap than they should), but the story of his basketball playing at the University of Michigan. It’s an interesting story to be sure.
Chris Webber was the best player in high school, graduating in 1991. He was a phenomenal player, often looking like a man among boys. Then he was part of this incredible class recruited to the University of Michigan. He was a tremendous talent. Watching him play on that team, I remember thinking how wonderful he was.
If ever there was someone who could take over a college basketball game by himself to make his team win, Chris Webber was at the top of this list. Specifically, in the two championship games, Chris Webber played his best when everything was on the line. In the second championship game, he played incredibly well in the second half to pull the team back into contention. He was the reason that the game was close.
Finally, he made a play for which most people remember him. He called a timeout that his team did not have, which made the comeback that he had spearheaded, impossible. I remember the devastation in his eyes, as if it were yesterday. I remember thinking (as a fifteen year-old) that the media was too hard on this guy who had done yeoman’s work and made a simple mistake.
But most of all, as I think of the story, I recognize the fallibility we all possess. I think of this massive man, who had the running, jumping, and dunking skills like no other power player I’ve seen, yet had the grace to play the game well. I think of someone who did everything so well, then making one mistake and becoming the scapegoat. I think that none of us is capable of doing everything by ourselves. And we
all make mistakes, though not always in front of 35 million people.
I am just glad that I don’t have to completely answer for those mistakes I make. Because in my quest to make things happen, I rarely come anywhere close to the achievement. In short, I’m not able to do, in any field, what Chris Webber did in the NCAA basketball game. Fortunately, I don’t have to bear the weight of my failures alone. Amazingly, because of the gift of the gospel, I am able to be far inferior and have the imputed works of Christ answer for me. For that I am eternally grateful, as I do not want to bear the weight of my massive failures alone.