Is there an Alternative?

In my previous post, I said,

…for many Christian athletes the sacrifice of time in church, reading the Bible, or praying are things most of us are more than willing to risk. Dare I say it, we are usually happy to sacrifice these things for sports? It’s just part of being an athlete. Or is it? Does it have to be this way? Should it be this way? Is there an alternative?

What is the alternative? Is it possible to get back to “the basics” of athletic competition; to get back to building character, commitment, physical fitness, and leadership, among other things?

Here are my suggestions, and remember, I’m just some guy with some suggestions! I’ll reveal them over the next week.

1) Prioritize your VALUES

What do you truly value in life? Sports? Faith? Family? I remember the days when coaches would say things like, “There are 3 things in life that are above sports: Faith, Family, and School.” But how many of those coaches really meant it? How many of those coaches would have been cool with athletes skipping practice, or heaven forbid a game, for faith, family, and school? I'll admit the examples are few, but I was fortunate enough to have coaches who supported my decisions to attend church retreats and camps, even during my high school years. I honestly only asked to be excused a couple times over my many years as an athlete for fear of playing time being revoked or other punishments, but I was lucky in these moments to have coaches who shared my values. However, my first-hand experience as a coach, athlete, and pastor has shown me that these men were exceptions to the norm.

It makes me wonder, are those days gone? Are the days gone when coaches, players, and families knew where life’s real VALUE was found? I have to wonder when I hear about high school students whose parents are angry over playing time while their son/daughter's grades are slipping. I have to wonder when I’ve seen parents asking coaches and school administrators to turn a blind eye to “extra-curricular” activities so that the star athlete can play. I have to wonder when gifted college athletes are used to make big money for schools, yet cannot access any of this money themselves without breaking the rules. I have to wonder when sports related scandals erupt year after year. Can we admit we have misplaced our values?

What really matters in life? Am I doing things with my life that truly make a difference? This is something we don't ask ourselves often enough.

As a parent, I hope the way I live shows my children that there are things worth putting time, energy, and effort into, and there are things that seem important but will soon fade.

As a Pastor, I hope my life and ministry points people to something beyond me, beyond themselves, and beyond RIGHT NOW that takes precedent over all other things of life.

As a human being, I hope my values as a person created in the image of God remind me that what truly matters is loving the God who created me and the people He created with my whole life. I want my life to reflect these values, but I know that if I'm not careful, I am too easily persuaded by quick success and immediate entertainment.

What about you? What do you VALUE? Don’t tell me. Show me. Show me in how you spend your time and your money. Do you value faith, family, education? Do you value sports? What do you value? What are your current priorities?

1 comment:

Steve Martin said...

Sports are great.

I too, grew up playing basball(one year of college baseball - too many distractions (women)) and football. Sports dominated my life for those years.

We are ALL idolators in some way. We ALL put things before the Living God. This is who we are (not that it is good - it is NOT). The Lord knows this about us and loves and forgives us, anyway.

If I were a coach today (I did coach kids for many years), I would hammer home how important it is to not miss regulat worship services. Once in a blue moon...ok...but not to make a habit of it.

As far as praying or bible study goes...there's no excuse for doing those things. They can be done before bedtime each night...or when one gets up. That said, I don't do a great job of those things either...because I am a lazy sinner.