You know, it has just been a few short years since my sons and my daughter were playing team sports at the highest level of high school and then on AAU travel teams during the off season. It seems like every evening and many, many Saturdays were spent in gyms and on diamonds all over the state…and guess what? It was enough. They actually still had time to be kids.
Over the past several years, I’ve noticed a phenomenon that has saddened me greatly…Sunday games, even Sunday morning games and tournaments for teams made up of elementary school and middle school aged youngsters. This new practice is of great concern to me because it has become a major factor in keeping entire young families away from spending Sunday mornings, as families in church. If left alone, this practice will only get worse, because the organizers, managers, and coaches will think no one cares…and Sunday will become just another day!
Personally I have witnessed some wonderful families that are very close to us, that find themselves spending approximately half of all their Sundays at “important” games and not worshipping. When I asked them about it they said “It’s not what we want to be doing, but it’s such an honor to be selected for this team and we have to give our son / daughter every opportunity to excel. We don’t want them to fall behind.”
Think of the message of priorities being sent to their kids!
As a former collegiate athlete myself, and the father of kids… one of whom captained a college basketball team, one of whom was a college cheerleader, and the third a high school all state baseball player, I completely understand the pressure placed on good young athletes and their parents. However, I also see the spiritual priorities of young families being eroded drastically…and they may not even realize it.
I am convinced, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that, if three to four sets of parents from any of these teams would stand up for your convictions in a way that said, “We want our child to be part of this team, but we just won’t take part in Sunday games”, we would see that revised “Sunday-less” schedules would be right around the corner and soon so many families would find themselves able to live out Exodus 20:8 by remembering the Sabbath day and keeping it holy.
This dangerous trend CAN be reversed, but if not by your family and not by your team, then by whom? After all, many of those who don’t regularly attend church seem to appreciate the benefits of their children being there on Sunday mornings. And believe me, your family will be blessed…in so many ways.