Norman Dale: You know, most people would kill to be treated like a god, just for a few moments.
Barbara Fleener: Gods come pretty cheap nowadays, don’t they? You become one by putting a leather ball in an iron hoop. I hate to tell you this, but it’s only a game.
Growing up, Hoosiers was one of, if not my absolute, favorite movie. Its story about the improbably state championship of a small town basketball team fueled countless hours of basketball drills and hardwood dreams. It also fed my idolatry with basketball, that persisted until the Lord saved me from my sins and my selfish dreams.
In reflecting on sports, I wouldn’t say everyone who dreams of playing college (or professional) sports is sinning. I wouldn’t paint others with the same idolatry I had, but I would say that as my children are just now beginning to come to an age where sports is an option, I’m thinking about sports entirely differently than I did when I was 12 years old. As much as I would enjoy watching my children succeed in sports, I am much more concerned with savoring Christ and serving him as Lord.
I doubt I’m alone. I know many who love Jesus and sports. Indeed, I believe Paul himself had a positive view of athletics. But what Paul says about sports in 1 Timothy 4:7–8 bears repeating today: disciplining ones body for sports was and is secondary to cultivating godliness. Christians who play sports should think and play and participate differently. But how?
If you are wrestling with the role sports should play in your children’s lives, here are some helpful resources. Be prepared, like your ball coach’s end-of-practice wind sprints, they are sure to produce some discomfort. But, as they say, “No Pain, No Gain.” Continue reading