My Love For Basketball Testimony 2 “Bill Greguska”
My Pius XI teammate 1974-77, best friend Kevin Reddy, and I were at a Bucks playoff game!
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I lived and slept basketball. I played from 4th grade through high school and into early 50, although the competition part faded when I got older. I still loved the game so very much, and I still do! I appreciate what John Wooden once said, “Remember this, the choices you make in life make you.” I sure have loved basketball my whole life, ever since 4th grade. I went from being a basketball fanatic to a drug and alcohol abuser to a follower of Jesus Christ. It seemed like I had to hit bottom before the Lord could help me see the light! It amazes me how so many other athletes fall into the same trap that the devil set for me. I was warned about drugs but did not heed the warning as I should have. Not everyone who drinks or uses drugs becomes an addict. Still, my personality made it very vulnerable for me to fall into the pit that others were fortunate enough to avoid ~ Bill Greguska.
Romans 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
I have Loved NBA Basketball Since Jabbar And Oscar Played Together In 1971!
The God Of Second Chances And Love For Basketball!
We all need something to aspire to do, and basketball was that to me! Bill Greguska
I remember one cold fall day about 40 years ago, before tryouts for varsity basketball. I seriously considered suicide, but I was too afraid to do it, but the thoughts tormented me. My love for basketball kept me going.
I remember my mom wanting to buy new clothes for me that fall, but I did not want to waste her money because I thought I would not be around to wear them since death was on my mind day and night.
I distinctly remember my mom telling me to take my dog for a run because I was depressed for quite a while. What happened was that while I was running down the parkway in the snow, my dog started pulling me to go faster.
My Junior Year Despite My Summer of Drinking And Drugs!
I made the team because of how good I was when I was on junior varsity just the year before. I was glad I was on the team, but sitting on the bench all year was humbling. But my love for basketball gave me hope to hold on to it. I was alive, and God gave me another chance. It was not the last chance I got. God has been watching over me as far back as I can remember; the problems I did not have my eyes on Him and drifted in sin off and on for the next ten years.
The scripture below shows how God loves you and me and wants to give us second and third chances to bow our knees to Him and humbly come to Him and follow him as Lord and Savior.
Joel 2:25 “I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten— the great locust and the young locust, the other locusts and the locust swarm— my great army that I sent among you.
Dreams Of Basketball Were Not Only In My Heart!
In my junior year at Pius XI, I made the team primarily because of my reputation. The coaches knew about me in previous years. It was sad that I had thrown away my love for basketball. Unfortunately, in my sophomore summer, I got involved heavily with alcohol and drugs to the point they became my god and overtook my life the way I was hoping it would be.
My love for basketball was almost like a god to me, but now I enjoy watching the game as a fan! God is now the center of my attention! Thankfully, I became very willing to get help when life seemed to be going nowhere fast. Because of my situation, I became grateful to those who loved me enough to help me start over.
When Times Get Difficult, My Love For Basketball Kept Me Going!
I loved basketball more than anything while growing up!
I thank God that I have learned that when life gets complicated, and you see no way out from the mess we make for ourselves, we need to call on to God, for He is our refuge and strength because He is an ever-present help in times of trouble. A daily walk with God before making a mess of our lives is the wise way to do it. My love for basketball helped me make it through some tough times I got myself into.
Although God loves us and will never leave us if we follow him, I realized I made horrible mistakes growing up. I put alcohol, drugs, other harmful things, and even good things in my life ahead of belief in and core love for God. I found meaning in life, mostly from my passion for basketball until I was almost 30. When I realized I was using basketball as an idol or minor god, I reevaluated and put my basketball in the proper perspective. I learned not to attempt to handle what the devil and the storms of life deal out because I am not strong enough without God’s help!
Remember that it says in Romans 8:28 And we know that God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to His purpose. Find your strength in God, not in yourself. If you rely on yourself, you are bound to fall flat on your face, but if you trust in the Lord, the Lord is there to pick you right back up even if you fall. He will never leave you or forsake you! I have made some mistakes as well as I have done some things well. ~Bill Greguska
I first heard of Jesus Christ when I was a young boy, about seven years old. My parents took me to church every weekend and even put me in a church school to instruct me, which developed some of my faith fundamentals. My faith in God was very frustrating because I learned about what was correct and acceptable, but it was hard for me to live it out in my life.
Then while growing up, the Lord allowed me multiple difficulties, such as drug and alcohol problems, homelessness, and problems with the law, to ultimately understand how deep of a need I had for God through these challenging times I got myself into.
Basketball Was My Carrot
There was a period in my life when I got very serious about my faith because God orchestrated that I would end up in long-term drug and alcohol rehabilitation for two years, where I got the help I needed.
I got out of treatment in 1989 and shortly after that. I found Elmbrook Church in Brookfield, Wisconsin, which caught my eye through its open basketball program. I had a genuine love for basketball. Basketball was the “carrot” that got me back in church again! Elmbrook took me in and helped me to grow as a Christian under the teaching of Stuart Briscoe and the rest of the staff.
Harlem Globetrotters Were Always Fun For Me To Watch!
I got a job at Elmbrook church as a custodian for almost five years, right after I got out of long-term alcohol and drug treatment. The seeds of faith were planted. My roots were getting deeper into what I learned in God’s word over the years. I also attended both NA and AA for about ten years during that time. NA and AA helped me to some degree, but Elmbrook helped me more because it was there that the seeds of faith were planted, and my roots were getting more established by the things I was learning in God’s word over the years. I have had a love for basketball for about the last 50 years! I attended AA and NA for almost ten years, yet even though it helped me, I found Elmbrook church which caught my eye through their open basketball program.
Basketball got me into the church again in 1989, shortly after I got out of long-term treatment. The church took me in and helped me grow as a Christian under Stuart Briscoe and the rest of the staff.
I even got a job at Elmbrook as a custodian for four years. The seeds of faith were planted. My roots were getting deeper into what I learned in God’s word over the years. The experiences that God allowed in my life, both good and bad, gave me the awareness of my urgent need for God in my life! The rest of my story is a series of ups and downs.
Thank God they have evened out considerably, but because this time, God was in my life, directing me. God was teaching me to love Him, others, and myself.