football-bench

Please keep reading, even if you are not a fan of football because this is about way more than football!

I have long been a sports fan. You can blame it on my dad, or you can thank my dad depending on how you look at it. I was never one of those girls who “didn’t get it” because I was always around sports. So much so that I was on the sidelines of athletic events before it was popular for girls to be there. I was a football, wrestling, basketball, and track statistician. So I understand how the games are played and why they are played. (Or so I thought.)

Once I became a mother and my children became involved in sports I began to get sort of turned off at what athletic competitions had become. You know what I mean—those crazy parents screaming and yelling at their kids to play harder, be better, and kick some … nevermind. And this was when they were in elementary school. What happened to sportsmanship and doing your best?

When my dad used to be a coach he taught young men how to persevere, be better people, have strong character and work hard as a team. I cannot count the number of times I heard him say, “There is no ‘i’ in ‘team’!” I have become increasingly concerned about what athletics now teach our children. Even team sports seem to be individual sports, and friendly competition, sportsmanship, and character-building seem to be foreign ideals to too many of coaches (and parents) out there.

My husband forwarded me this story from ESPN and I sat and cried after I read it. Here’s a group of athletes who have no one who cares, no one who cheers, no one who even comes to watch their game— a stark contrast to most overinduldged high school athletes in most American towns today. I wanted to send it to every coach I know and tell them this is what you should be teaching your athletes.

Well, you are no athletic coach, but you are a mom and lets face it, we are our children’s first coach and their daily life coach. This story allows you an opportunity to share some cold hard truth with the “players” in your home. If you want your children to recognize the gift they have of loving parents, a safe home and God’s grace, read this story to them.

I’m guessing that if you challenged them to look around your community they could find someone they need to cheer for, pray for, and love on!

This ESPN story illustrates one game my dad would be proud to watch, and one coach whose hand he would no doubt like to shake, because this coach truly “gets it” and he taught his players a real life skill:

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.

Philippians 2:3-5