My family enjoys sports. Growing up we would go to Oriole games and listen to the games on the radio. My mom still loves it when I turn on the ballgames. My brother played Little League. My little sister played softball. My sisters and I played on the church’s girl’s football team. I wanted to play softball in high school but I had an after school job and so couldn’t. Our extended family would always play baseball when we were at the farm for holidays and the weather permitted. Some of the uncles would play with us, and occasionally our oldest aunt, who when she was in her late 70’s still got out when us to play ball. Recently, my cousin Steve was talking with me our family baseball games. He remembered that everyone wanted his brother, Ron and me on their teams as we both were power hitters. I laughed remembering those times. I always played first base and loved it.
Sports can be great for kids. They have to learn the rules of the game, and specific skills to succeed. They get to see how it is to work together as a team and how to handle victory and defeat. Unfortunately, in our society, there have also been downsides to sports. Sometimes on the community level, there has been ugliness as parents and players have become angry and lost their control. There has also been abuses on the professional level with big money spoiling it for the fan and steroid use by the players. College sports has also been clouded with bad sportsmanship and the breaking of NCAA rules. So how can we use sports in a positive way and teach our children the benefits of sports but to also be careful of the problems?
C. J. Mahaney gives insights in his booklet Don’t Waste Your Sports. I got it for my nephew, who plays varsity lacrosse. I read it before I gave it to him and found much insight for those who play sports and those who watch it. Mahaney loves sports and right after I got this book I saw him at a Maryland Terrapin Men’s Basketball game my brother had taken me to.
Mahaney says that I Corinthians 10:31, ‘So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God’, applies to all of life including sports. Athletes are to play to the glory of God. But we as spectators also need to keep this verse in mind. He asks good questions like ‘Am I preoccupied with sports?’ and ‘In my passion for a team or sport, greater than my passion for Jesus Christ?’
At the end of the book there are application questions for athletes and then a short section for parents with application questions for them. Mahaney has packed a lot in this booklet and I recommend you read it and then get it for the athletes in your life. Sports can be a wonderful vehicle to build character in players and spectators.
Which sport is your favorite?
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