"Hello, my name is America, and I am addicted to sports."
Now before I begin writing, let me make it clear...it is not a sin to play sports. Matter fact, it is a good thing to play sports and be active. Paul repeatedly used sports to illustrate the Christian life (racing, wrestling, etc). I enjoy baseball, I love watching a college basketball game (especially Kentucky), and hardly watch-but keep up with our beloved Cincinnati Bungles. I played one year of football in jr. high and 6 years of basketball while in school. I enjoy playing a game of non-serious softball with our church family, and I am enjoying teaching my son to throw and hit a baseball, catch a football, and take down the other boy he is wrestling. Having said all that, I try to enjoy these things in perspective. There are far more important things I want my son to learn than catching a football.
In the words of Voddie Vaucham (don't agree with alot...but the man can "BRING IT."),
'Our culture defines a man by the three B's: Ball field, Billfold, and Bedroom, but our culture is wrong. That is not how God defines a man.'
We are looking at Bro. Vaucham's first point...the ball field. America is obsessed with sports. Our children are being reared by foul-mouthed coaches more than their parents. "Coach" has the heart of too many of our young people.
Most who would play our school basketball team today would laugh, but there was a day-only a few years ago-when our boy's basketball team was 20-0 and champions of our league. I know, because I was an assistant coach. We had a very good basketball team.
Their week went like this: Monday & Wednesday: school 8:30-3:00; Practice 5:30-8:00
Thursdays: School and practice 8:30-4:30. Fridays and Tuesdays: school and games till late evenings. And in between times, most had a job, friends, and the occasional studying. See a problem here? Where is the family time. Where is the father getting the heart of the child? Sports are not evil and can be done correctly-but in America they have become a god.
In our local school district, they begin high school at 7:15 a.m. Why? To get in 3-4 hours of football practice a day after school. The typical class period last around an hour. The typical football/basketball practice last around 3 hours. When the school levy was voted down, what was it that was cut because of a lack of funds? Sports? Oh no! It was bus transportation and class room supplies.
I laugh at the before mentioned University of Kentucky. The president of the university, in charge of the care, administration, and education of America's future earned an amazing $550,000 in 2008. The university's basketball coach will make $5,000,000 this year. America has a problem.
Beyond the practice time, there is the pressure for success that leads to drug abuse and performance enhancers, and the destruction of America's schools and overall education.
America's sports addiction has led to radio stations designated only to sports, multiples of television stations dedicated only to sports, and our headlines of newspapers are covered with sports news. Congress, amidst a recession and war, meets to discuss baseball and steroids, BCS bowl games, and Roger Clemens.
We, as the Romans, are addicted.
Besides all this, every pastor would agree with me that the amount of church services missed because parents are at games or practices is destroying our young people's spiritual lives; and parents take off work and miss visitation to cheer them on! To what? A lack of reverence for the Lord's house and work, a lack of faithfulness to the ministry and services, and a loss of fellowship with God's people; but they do get a stronger relationship with the cursing coach, foul-mouthed spectating parents, and lost teammates with their dirty jokes and mouths.
So why do we insist they keep playing? According to our teens and this question from our questionnaire:
Why do you play sports?
A. To Win 26%
B. To get in Better shape 40%
C. Possibly go Pro 8%
D. Get My Stats Up 4%
E. Get Character 22%
For the most part, you could define the purpose of our young people playing as: Pride. Not only does sports separate our families a great while, but it also directly contradicts Scripture:
Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another; Romans 12:10
Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Phillipians 2:3
Having played for a Christian School for 6 years, and coached a Christian school for 7 years...not really the attitude I have seen on courts and fields.
I am NOT one of those that don't believe in keeping score....learning to handle defeat is necessary for life; but playing with a Biblical spirit is hardly evident today.
Sports are not a sin; but they can become one easily. America has become addicted to sports, and our IFB young people are not far behind. May we seek to allow Christ to have the Preeminence in our lives and families!