Sunday, November 30, 2003


Sunday Dilemma in U.S.: Sports Vs. Church, from the AP. "Sports vs. church: It's become the Sunday morning dilemma in homes across the nation. With weekend sports leagues growing in popularity, schedules have stretched further into those Sunday morning hours that were once the exclusive domain of churches." It seems that the domain of children's sports leagues has encroached upon church attendance. This is not surprising. We live down the street from a city park that is used extensively for sports programs. Throughout the year, whether in football, soccer, or baseball season, the streets are lined with cars as various sporting events are held, usually on the weekends, but many times during the week. Sunday used to be free from this... it was, at least in principle, time that families could spend together. It also used to be a time when markets and stores were closed (I don't mention malls, because malls weren't around yet). No more. My daughter and I will sometimes ride our bikes down the street to the schoolyard adjacent to the park. Whenever there is a sporting event (which seems to be most of the time, nowadays) we end up watching a parade of mini-vans and SUVs as they bus in and out the litany of child sports prodigys. So far, my daughter has not expressed any great desire to be part of these organized teams. She is content with her participation in weekly ballet or gymnastic classes. I really don't know why she is uninterested in organized sports... it may be the fact that, through homeschooling, she is not as exposed to peer-pressure situations. Or it may simply be part of her personality. "Rev. Chuck Rush, senior minister at Christ Church in Summit... sees the church vs. sports conflict in his own home. His 13-year-old daughter, who plays soccer, is sometimes torn between religion and her loyalty to her team, where she stood a good chance of being named most valuable player. "She was in a tournament recently and she said, `I could be the MVP, but if I don't play in this Sunday's game, I definitely won't be the MVP," he recalled. It all boils down to time, and the precious lack of it for families. As the growing demands of homework, weekend errands and sports compete for families' free time, church often loses." What are the sports leagues for? Our children? What ever happened to family time together? We've been hoodwinked into entertaining our children with events so as not to allow them to get bored. Or we're concerned about their self-esteem so we attempt to bolster it with a team sports mentality. Or they may have expressed an interest in playing say, soccer, so we cave in to multiple practices during the week and tournaments on Sunday mornings. We claim we have our children's best interests in mind... but because Time is finite (for us) it has become the determining factor in where our priorities lie. That's what it's become, hasn't it? Our Priority. Here's a question to ponder: 20 years from now, which will matter most... that your daughter was MVP for her long forgotten team?, or that your family was able to attend church, eat lunch, and then spend the afternoon together? This morning I was thinking about maybe taking my daughter for a bike ride today (Sunday afternoon). After reading this article, I know I will.

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