Very interesting conversation about the Olympics in specific, and athletic pursuits in general. I certainly wasn't suggesting Christians pull out of elite athletics, merely posing the question – if elite athletics vanished overnight, would we really be worse off?
What worries me most about athletics is the obsession it grows into. 20 years ago you could play multiple sports in high school or college and still be involved in other activities. Today if you want to play baseball or volleyball at a high school level, you need to play club virtually year round to stay competitive, take private lessons, go to "high performance" camps, etc. In other words, your entire life must revolve around your chosen sport.
This simply wasn't the case 20 years ago. But then a few parents put their kids in private lessons and year-round play, giving them a leg up on everyone else, and pretty soon everyone realized they had to do the same thing if they wanted their kids to keep up.
For Olympic athletes it's even worse – try three-to-five hour daily practices from age nine on. Yes, occassionally this sort of dedication produces a Mary Lou Retton who then has an amazing platform to use for ministry. But for every Mary Lou Retton, how many others work just as hard and wind up with nothing?
Speaking of platforms for impact, Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, Apple Facebook, Myspace, YouTube… these are all extraordinary platforms. Many times more impactful than a gold medal. What's interesting about these platforms? If their founders had committed their lives to the pursuit of athletics in high school and college, none of these companies would exist. All of these companies were launched by people right out of college, or still in college. All of these companies were launched by kids who dedicated their spare time to learning technology or business, not baseball.
Now we connect back to my posts about the lack of innovative companies launched by Christians in the last 30 years. We American Christians tend to live in the suburbs, where park district soccer and club sports are king. We send our kids to great suburban high schools which tend to dominate our states in sports due to a mix of big budgets, ample real estate for facilities, and competitive parents with the disposable income for year-round club sports and private lessons. So a high percentage of our kids become athletically focused.
40 years ago, competitive, team athletics was a great training ground to develop the discipline, leadership and teamwork needed to succeed at big companies like IBM and General Electric. Athletics was good preparation for business. Today, I would boldly suggest, this may no longer be the case.
Today, giant companies like IBM and General Electric just don't have the cultural influence they once had. Today the world is being changed by companies started in garages and dorm rooms – companies conceived, and often launched, by kids not yet out of college. So here's my concern: Devoting your life in high school and college to an athletic pursuit might have been a good preparation to be a "company man" at IBM or General Electric in the 1960s, but it doesn't appear to be such a good preparation to launch the sorts of companies that are actually changing the world today. Because while our kids are sweating through "2 a day" football practices, someone else's kids are sitting in their dorm room at Stanford conceiving the next Google. I'm not saying ALL our kids should be launching companies. But it's hard to argue that a few Googles launched by strong Christians wouldn't be a very, very good thing.
The world has changed – and two trends concern me very much: High School and college sports have become SO competitive that it is virtually impossible to participate without making your chosen sport the sole focus of your High School and college years. At the same time, more than any time in history, the new businesses that are changing the world are being conceived in – and often launched out of – college dorm rooms. Look at pictures of the people launching all these companies – from Apple and Microsoft to Google and Facebook. Just a cursory glance tells you they weren't "star athletes" in High School. Yes, our kids could kick their butts in soccer. I'm just not sure that matters so much in the eternal scheme of things.
I realize this is a somewhat provocative topic, so I apologize in advance if I've offended you. I can't help but feel these are important issues to wrestle through, though. ESPN ran a promo last year that shocked me. It was a father giving his son a blanket with the logo of his favorite college sports team. The son goes to their favorite team's games with the blanket, uses the blanket as a cape, goes off to the favorite college himself with the blanket, and then ultimately gives the blanket to his own infant son to start the cycle again.
At the close of the spot, as the infant snuggles with the blessed sports blanket, a message fades in: "Without sports, what would we have to hold on to?"
My mouth falls open as I realize the commercial isn't a joke. They're serious about this. I get even more depressed as I imagine how many middle-aged guys across America see that commercial, get kind of sentimental about their favorite team, and think to themselves, "It's so true."
I get even more depressed when I ponder how many of those men also attend church on Sundays, and yet somehow walk out of church with no higher source of comfort than their favorite sports team.
Author John Eldridge makes the very simple yet powerful statement – "If the Gospel doesn't capture your heart, something else will." With so many Christian Americans more emotionally engaged in the game on Sunday afternoon than the service on Sunday morning, I think we've lost the power of the Gospel. And one of my biggest goals for JellyTelly is to help get it back.
Im number 1
Some very thought-proving things you’ve shared here Phil. I played multiple sports in high school, because I had to to get into the college I was aiming for. While I did learn some discipline and perseverance from two-a-day football practices, I think I learned more of those two things from real work on a neighbors farm and around home. As for teamwork, leadership, and all those other great things you’re supposed to learn – well if you’re not a starter, then you really don’t get much of a chance to learn those things from sports. And as a software developer – I think you’re absolutely correct that the companies changing the world today are being started by tech-savvy young people who focus on things other than sports. And this was all about participating in sports – I think we as a nation have gone completely overboard on spectator sports, and on entertainment in general.
Amen to that, Brian. Especially if our childhoods revolve around competitive sports, it’s pretty darn hard to just turn that off when we reach adulthood. So we follow the athletic pursuits of others. ESPN, the Golf Channel or the Tennis Channel become constant companions.
I actually think one of the reasons games are so appealing is that they’re so easy to understand. “When we get to the end, if I have more points, I win.” Real life isn’t nearly so simple. Slogging through relationships, lousy jobs, a culture that feels hostile to us… how do you know when you’re winning? How do you even know the rules? Following the Bears or the Lakers or the Yankees is so much simpler. Every night they tell us the scores for the day on ESPN. If our teams won, we’re happy. It’s so much easier than real life, that I think it can seduce us away from the difficult work of living in broken relationships in a broken world where things don’t always make sense.
Not that there isn’t a place for games in this life, but when it becomes our focus, I think we’ve found an idol.
High School and college sports have become SO competitive that it is virtually impossible to participate without making your chosen sport the sole focus of your High School and college years
Forget about starting businesses. This, by itself, is sufficient reason to not encourage your children to become too involved. No earthly activity deserves to become our sole focus.
Our kids will eventually be grownups. They will have multiple conflicting priorities, if only work and family. They need to learn to multitask, juggle, and negotiate – not to focus on something so much nothing else matters.
A lot of great things to think about here, Phil. Great blog.
“No earthly activity deserves to become our sole focus.”
Agreed, spam. Even though sports may be one of the biggest things we focus on or well to be honest, worship, it’s not the only one, of course.
I know a friend whose parents are really pushing him to excel in soccer. He’s a great player, but is practice really more important than fellowshipping and worshipping with other christians on Sunday? Is it?
Okay, now I’m with you. Twenty years ago *cough cough* I could participate in sports as part of being a well-rounded student. Short as I am, I was on the volleyball and track teams, plus I was involved in the band, took once-a-week piano lessons, had a few other pursuits, and was still involved in my church. I taught Bible school and even Sunday school as a teenager (not just serving as a helper), along with a handful of other teenagers my age.
Then, our high school won a state championship in their size division. Everyone got spoiled, and the fans are just obnoxious these days. Our community revolves around the school, particularly the sports played by the students. We participate enough that we can be a part of the community and build relationships. But… yeah, it’s so different now, and we refuse to be a part of the whole “we must win at all costs” culture.
On a side note, the football players would even march with the band on Friday nights, but not anymore. They have to be exclusive in their focus these days.
We look around in our church, and with the exception of a few great students, we have lost our youth. We still reach out to them and pray for them, but we feel our best hope for change is in the group of children we have who are just now entering the world of the teenage years.
Speaking of men and church, my husband just finished reading Why Men Hate Going to Church by David Murrow, and has felt quite the challenge to change things in our church because of it.
And speaking of facebook…. a fan page, Phil, JellyTelly needs a fan page! 😉
Darnit, I wrote up a big comment and then the page failed and I need to start all over again.
Essentially what it said though, is that (at least in Australia) I don’t see over-enthusiasm and commitment to one thing as being the main problem. I see NO enthusiasm or commitment as being the major problem. For every kid who spends thousands of hours honing their skills in football or programming, there’s a hundred other kids spending thousands of hours WATCHING football or using Myspace.
If more kids were able to pour themselves into something and expend their time and energy in those ways, then there’d be a hundred more avenues for culture to be shaped through them. If you can expend that time and energy and remain God-focused in it all, then you have a winner.
Phil, have you read “Do Hard Things” by Alex and Brett Harris? It’s a book by teens for teens basically addressing all these ideas – don’t waste your youth years, do something hard for God.
Wow, Nick. Aptly put.
Looking back on life (in my 30’s now–some will consider me young, others old), I’ve found that there is a small window of time for idealism and it is in the teen years. Teens are invincible, always right 🙂 , and quite often altruistic. They are stubborn and energetic. This is a beautiful combination that lasts for such a short time and it is imperative to tap into this energetic idealism before the Big Burnout hits them. Otherwise, they will never know what they are capable of accomplishing. They will never know the joy that comes with serving and giving.
Think of a very young child–a baby, really. He learns language by all of the gurgles and coos, and then those shift into those incessantly repeated words (“no, no, no, no”), and eventually learns an entire complex language by age 4. But only because he is too young to know failure. No one has told him about how tough language learning is yet, no one has discouraged him from it. He isn’t afraid of something he doesn’t really know–failure.
I know people will say that teens are self-conscious. Yeah, sure. But they have so much ABILITY and power and will rise to the occasion every time if given the right encouragement and assistance.
I accomplished a crazy amount of Kingdom-building activities (as did many of my friends) during those years. We were single and energetic and full of life. We still had a simpler, child-like faith but had the independence of driving, money-making teens to accomplish great things for Christ. Now, I look around at myself and most of the friends I went to either church or Bible college with… there is a line in the sand. Some are in serious Christ-centered pursuits and live every day to the fullest (whatever that means for their circumstances). And then the rest of us…distractions, distractions, distractions.
actoneprogram.comPhil has already said it, media is the problem and solution. Kids watching Disney and Cartoon Network for entertainment might get the idea that they could be the next great NFL quaterback or Miley Cyrus. That would be great and all if they did, but when they get there, they should have a relaitonship with God. There needs to be a more Christian influence in those shows that kids watch. I don’t think Disney needs to be quoting the Bible every 5 minutes in their programs, but I do think there should be more writers, filmmakers, producers, and actors implementing Christian values into those programs. That’s why I believe programs like Act One are so important for young and talented Christian writers or filmmakers. http://www.actoneprogram.com/
Hey while we’re on the subject of things vanishing overnight, how about all those national and international beauty pageants? Okay, so they’re “scholarship pageants” nowadays, but still. *bleck*
I’m an artist. Always have been. I could’ve played some sports, but it wasn’t an interest that was ever developed in me. My sons have all played soccer and our middle son will play pro. That’s not a goal we gave him…just like I knew I was made to draw, he was made to play. I’ve pursued the direction of my God given shape as my son is pursuing his.
I’m a natural born follower. I initiate as needed. Some are natural born leaders who follow as needed. Where I believe myself to be a driven person, I’ve been driven in first gear most of my life. I’ve had a few second and fewer third gear experiences, but for kids to set their goals and achieve them is spectacular.
I’m a fan of Phil and his crew for the whys and hows for Big Idea. I’m a bigger fan because of how the post Big Idea world for him has gone. God made him to do the things he’s done. Through a perceived failure how many others have also learned some important lessons through Phil’s transparent retelling of his story, so far?
I was told that in the last days of the Roman Empire, they were also obsessed with sports. I don’t remember if there was any talk about business successes stemming from a garage. But in light of the commercial asking about sports being a security blanket the thought of the Roman Empire came to mind.
Where am I going with this? Well, for one, I bet that today’s Christian athletes are happy that the Roman coliseum is no longer in operation. And for another, if people were obsessed to pursue their faith as athletes pursue their prizes, we would have more innovation lead by Christians. More strong Christian led business. Pursuing God means that we are likely not to waste our lives. Knowing that God knows the plans He has for us means that we need to get to know God so He’ll let us in on them.
I was told that in the last days of the Roman Empire, they were also obsessed with sports.
In the last days of the Roman Empire, they were Christian and abolished gladiator games.
In the last days of the Roman Republic they may have been obsessed with sports. They were rich, a lot of them had too much spare time (it’s hard to compete with slave labor), and they seem to have lost a lot of their religion by that point.
Well you dont haveta worry bout me, I dont watch sports on tv or in the stands. I did play track back when I was young to when to left high school, but I havent done it since.
Eeek, but alas I think I am one of those christians who walks into church and doesnt come out with much of anything…maybe I should find a different church.
I agree there is too much focus on sports these days, people make sports there idols. Something they obsess over and becomes more important than anything else. When I was at this job and we had sort of a meeting to get to know the people around us by placing peices of paper on us of 10 things that we are. Like “I am….” Well I had noticed this one guy who called himself a christian, not on the paper, every single thing was about sports not one thing mentioned on that paper that he was a Christian or anything about his faith, everything was about sports. When I knew the most important thing to me was I am a Christian-a follower of Christ, that was the first thing I put on my paper and had thought he would have put that too. But he didn’t it wasn’t the first, the last, or even in the middle. Who he was saying he was, was a worshipper of sports not Jesus. And though I knew that non-Chirstians would see what I had written I didn’t care, Jesus gave me the strength and the ability to proclaim that He is my source of strength and the very core of who I am. And how I saw his was that his very core was sports not Jesus as he had proclaimed with his lips. There were other Christians in that meeting and they had put something about there faith, so why didn’t he, maybe because all he could think about was sports. But I would also like to make a note that I have friends who obsess over there jobs to much. So if your a business person or sports person you can become too obsessive over what you do. You have to allow yourself though to be sensitive to the leading of Christ and if you want to be obsessed with something be obsessed with Him and what He wants you to do. His will be done not ours.
Gee, you guys are going to throw me off of this blog for taking so many opposing viewpoints….but here I go again.
First, anything done in excess ( to include technology) becomes obsession. There was a great phrase that Christopher Plummer’s character used in the movie “Somewhere in Time”, which was, “Excess within control”. I sort of subscribe to that belief. I love sports; probably more than my husband (don’t tell him I told you…) but really, I grew up watching sports and going to my brother’s baseball and football games. I love the SuperBowl and World Series. AND, am a big Olympics fan, too.
Phil, you are right when you describe the difference between the teams we played on in our youth compared to today. It is a bit riduluous that after about age 8, fun is taken out of the equation. If you aren’t a star, thanks, but please don’t bother signing up again next year. That’s a shame. Then the whole idea of year-round sports, to include CLUB and Sunday games, it makes it really hard to make time for church and family events.
Priorities are the key. Can a kid play sports and still be active in other ministries? Absolutely! It takes an involved parent to sometimes dictate the order in which the commitments will line up. Our poor first children seem to be our practicing board for these issues, but what we learn (eventually) is that we can do all sorts of stuff…school, music, sports, dance, etc….but, again it is the way we prioritze the schedule. God first, then family time, then …well, then go from there.
Too much of anything can become idol worship. Johnny spending too many hours at home on the PC or Suzie spending every waking moment playing video games is also not a healthy endeavor. Balance is essential.
There is something that is also important. Kids need to be encouraged to stay active. I mean outside, playing something….getting their bodies moving and heart pumping. If not a team sport, then something that involves moving more than just there eyes and hands on a keyboard.
followtherabbi.comyoutube.comThese are an interesting look at Olympics/Sports/Hellenism/Humanism:
Very true, Lisa. Balance is key. Organized sports have become the best way to keep kids active, partly because of the dramatic decline of unsupervised play. 30 years ago kids just went outside and played. All by themselves. And got exercise. One study I recently read showed that between 1981 and 1997 – just 16 years – “unsupervised play” time for 3-5 year olds declined on average 8 hours per week, with a 4 hour decline for kids age 6-8. Kids play soccer, football, volleyball, lacrosse, hockey, gymnastics… what they don’t do anymore is just “play.”
Is this trend reversible? Perhaps not. So perhaps sports is the only way we’ve got to get kids to move. It’s just a very different world than the ones those of us over 40 grew up in.
Yeah, sports on there own are not inherently bad. Exercise is a good thing and sports provide that. Problem is, as you said, Phil, is that they have been blown way out of proportion in relation to importance. I had a friend in high school who was a very dedicated and very talented soccer player, but he was and even more dedicated Christian. As a result, he still did many, many church events, and he even used his soccer team to minister to others as well. If he could make that work, I’m sure others can too. I agree with a lot of your points about too much obsession over sports, but a bunch of dedicated Christian athletes getting into the pro leagues wouldn’t hurt much either…
It also seems like w/ sports, the investment is short-term: you practice, you play, you win (maybe) and then you go again. However, the world is full of 40 year old guys who didn’t learn to do much else and are still living off that ‘one great year they won state.’
If you focus on something temporary, when it’s over, you’re dropped. Sports (unless you go into coaching or something) generally is a game for the young.
Games can teach us a lot, but we have to the apply that to something more long-term, if not eternal.
I didn’t play sports, I played trumpet and read an Extended BASIC manual.
Phil, those are scary statisics, indeed! There are so many reasons that things have changed in the last 20 years. Personally, I believe that there is too much pressure placed on kids to not only excel but BE THE BEST in every aspect: academics, sports, socially, etc. Sadly, a lot of people in our age group who are parenting the preteens and teens of today, are looking at their kids’ accomplishments in school, sports (or whatever) as a trophy to their “amazing” parenting skills. It becomes less about the children and more about our narcissistic need to be the best. The only way to accomplish these “goals” is to provide complete structure to every aspect of childhood, incluing playtime.
It’s so sad, really. Here we just ended summer, and what used to be a time of free play from the moment you woke up in the morning until (at least in my house) when the street lighs came on; has now become a structured 9 weeks of scheduled activities to “keep the kids busy”. It’s terrible. They feel the stress, too. As parent’s we need to look at our kids as individuals and do what’s best for them….their physical health and their mental health.
Ok…getting off my soapbox, now. 🙂
What activities would you recommend to encourage kids to learn the skills that will help them do startups? I think one of the best is unstructured play time. Let them learn how to figure out what they want and how to achieve it.
Our kids are going to have to compete in a global skills marketplace. Excelling is good. Being flexible so you can do what is necessary, though, is more important.
What’s interesting about this discussion is that it touches on some underlying themes:
The biggest is probably the increase in individualism as opposed to community: It’s harder for kids to have unstructured play-time outside, because neighbors don’t watch out for each other’s kids like they used to.
Parents, also, are more interested in the well-being of their own kids, as opposed to the well-being of all the kids in the community. It seems that we want our kids to succeed over-and-above the others. If that takes golf lessons at 2 years old, then so be it!
It’s ridiculous. I think the lesson in sports, business, and education to our kids needs to be: If you want to be great (in God’s kingdom), you’ve got to learn to be a servant.
Phil, Couldn’t agree more. Surely there are postive things coming out of sports. I could share some of things I appreciate about them. Friends that found focus and fellowship by participating. But overall I am very concerned with the place it has taken in the home, education, and even the church. I’ve known Christian families and pastors that somehow bought wholesale into the idea that sports are part of the Christian lifestyle. A little searching and sifting reveals some verses from Paul comparing the dedication of a race runner to the dedication of a Christian to his faith. But really if you are looking for Biblical justification you would be a lot better off going into music or dance … seriously. But alas, our culture and even the current Christian culture has given a massive stamp of approval to the sports engine. Most anything I could say about sports and our education system would probably be old news to you. If not just ask any friend or relative who teaches science or math in highschool or college where all the funding goes and all the accomplishments celebrated. The Bible says a lot about education, knowlege, wisdom, and even more about leadership and management. But as Phil points out, we have something of a vacuum of these in the Chrisitan world and we are seeing great lack of influence in them.
Phil, you suggested earlier that we check out Surfs Up. Wow what a great little movie that reveals so much of the maddness sports has become and how it really should be about enjoying friendship and fellowship. What a concept, and to think it wasn’t even promoted as a Chrisitan film!
“Phil, you suggested earlier that we check out Surfs Up. Wow what a great little movie that reveals so much of the maddness sports has become and how it really should be about enjoying friendship and fellowship. What a concept, and to think it wasnâ€™t even promoted as a Chrisitan film!”
Probably because of all the sex jokes.
Very interesting Indeed. Looking back on my childhood experiences from growing up on a farm, working with my dad in carpentry, learning to fix cars from my dad, and being in wrestling and in track in high school… I now work as an I.T. Director for a non profit and love what I do. Thinking back of what I have gained from my experiences. Growing up on the farm taught me a great work ethic. Learning to fix cars and build houses taught me very practical skills that got me first into fixing computers and now into my present career. Of course now I also fix my cars and do remodeling on my house. Wrestling and Track… hmm.. well my neck was injured in Wrestling after some kid twisted my head around in an illegal move… and I still have neck problems to this day (it’s been 25 years since that incident). Wrestling gave me skills I suppose I might use if someone jumped me from behind in the supermarket and tried to take my shoes… my neck would take about a week to heal if that actually happened – probably more likely to get hit by an icecream truck so my wrestling skills seem pretty useless. The only thing I have that lasts from being involved in sports in high school is my physical injuries that affect me every day. Come to think of it, pretty much every person I know that was or is into sports – has permanent physical injuries that will never fully heal – like shoulder, knee, back, neck issues etc. those same people I know seem obsessed with football or basketball and talk about it and watch it for hours and hours. Oh yeah, I also have a torn rotator cuff from playing racquetball… What I don’t understand about it is that there is so much time devoted to watching and keeping track of what someone else is doing… with nothing really practical that you can use in your own life as an outcome. Like video games for example – there are so many benefits. They have given me improved hand /eye coordination to the point where I can send text messages while driving and all the while staying in my own lane… ;0) It gives me a mini vacation from reality and is a form of therapy when I am stressed out. It’s all a matter of perspective I suppose. While I can’t see the point of watching sports on TV, my wife doesn’t see the point of video games other than I am in a good mood after playing… while my friend who is into Football can’t understand me for being into muscle cars…
One thing I believe for sure is that the human race will naturally seek to increase comfort and entertainment and eventually create a comfy bubble to live in while people in need get ignored. I think hobbies are beneficial but they need balance like everything else in life. I’d like to see us regularly expose our selves to the needs around us, get perspective, think proactively about how WE can contribute to society, and then take action to do something about it. Serving God in this way will show them Jesus with skin on. Don’t get me wrong, I’m trying to fight my way out of the bubble too.
P.S. Phil – Dean and Jim would probably want me to tell you “Hi” for them.
As a former youth minister who’s wife is now a children’s minister, one of the biggest battles we face in children’s and youth is the families who bow down to the idol of sports. They will all say that church is top priority in their lives, but if little junior has a ball game on Sunday which activity will they miss? Nine out of ten times it’s church that gets skipped. What are we teaching our kids is a priority in our lives. Actions speak much louder than words. What really gripes me is that fact that the chances of these kids even getting a college scholarship in their sport are slim to none. Depending on the sport they play, the percentage of high school athletes who get college scholarships is somewhere between 2%-6%. The percentage who will make it to the pros in every sport is less than 1%. If you really want junior to have a chance at a college scholarships have them hit the books, but more importantly lets teach our kids what is really important in our lives. I’m not saying kids shouldn’t play sports. I think with the right attitude and priorities sports can be very beneficial to young people, but most importantly we need to teach our children what should come first in our lives. “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matthew 6:33
Wait a second … I just got my new Cubs hat after two decades of emotional recovery from the ’85 season and some of y’all think I’m too obsessed?
The thing is … Sports give people who don’t have anything in common something to relate to each other with. It crosses social, economic and racial barriers. It crosses political and religious barriers.
It gives me something about which to talk to my Mormon neighbor, or the African man see at the Y all the time. And it’s not being superficial â€“ its breaking ice with the potential of someday breaking bread. Whether that happens on the field or in the stands is immaterial.
Sports can transcend everything else that keeps us from relationship with each other. Some people call that a foothold.
John T! Poor Cubs fans. I don’t understand them. But I do like your attitude about what ministry opportunities sports opens up. That should be what we look for in every pursuit in our lives.
Sorry to jump in a bit late…I’m kind of surprised to see anyone down on sports. I realize that in reality high-profile athletics and events such as the Olympics are probably not living up to their ideals, but in the very obscure sports you recommend cutting lies the true heart of athletics. I’m a member of the fencing community and we compete in virtual anonymity (no giant commercial contracts for our gold-medal athletes). I advocate exactly the opposite: let’s cut all the high-profile sports out of the Olympics that already have their own world championships (soccer, tennis, baseball, basketball) and leave the smaller sports (fencing, field hockey, handball, etc.) that live for the chance to compete every four years. The Olympic Movement is a microcosm of the world and at its best, the ideal of sportsmanship and brotherly love.
I’d argue that most youth athletics are not as abusive as has been suggested. Ironically, I learned more about myself, my limits, and Godly values from my Jewish fencing coach than I ever learned in church. Every kid I ever knew that was an athlete was more mature, more even-tempered, and had stronger positive values than the ones who weren’t. I’m so sad I didn’t discover fencing until college! So yeah, if my son has a soccer game, we won’t be at church because for just a few months out of the year, he gets to do something he loves and practice teamwork, perseverence and responsibility. I wish I was more eloquent here, but I just hope that some people will understand and be a little more forgiving for those families that aren’t trying to get their kids to go pro, but just want to provide a little character building that isn’t happening in church.
Sort of a random thread followup here … just watched my favorite Surfs Up with friends, this time with a hawk eye for over done sex humor. Everything I saw was very mild and very funny. Am I missing something or just need to get my prude-o-meter checked for sensitivity? Oh well, I love the film and would recommend it to any person any day. Puts overhyped sports hysteria in its place and shows what is really important … enjoying the game, friendship, and fellowship.