Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Sports vs. Church

 The state’s largest Catholic Diocese is implementing a policy to create a separation between church and sports. Bishop Richard Pates of the Des Moines Diocese has approved a policy at the request of the priest council that would prohibit any Catholic school from holding activities not related to religious services or religious education on Wednesday evenings and Sunday mornings. (Read Here)

Over the last several years, this has become an issue in our little town also. When my children were young and playing sports, these things coexisted. The local officials saw to it that Wednesdays and Sundays were held "sacred", if you will. But as the years have passed, I see less and less cooperation.

I know there are merits to playing organized sports and have followed many of them for most of my adult life, but the pressure put on today's young athletes is unfair. If the coach mandates that you must attend practice or you will not play, what is the child supposed to do? And if the child is involved, what are the parents to do? It would be easy for me to say, "Make a choice to have them in church!" But that too would be unfair.Me and mine do not have to pay a price.

I know that 99.99999% of the young people playing today will not do so as adults...but the children don't know that. Their parents should, but most hold out hope that their child is exceptional. And if you pressure the parent, most faithful Christians will admit they struggle with the issue. But then again, what are they to do? They are at the mercy of the system.

If I were going to speak out to one group about this, it would be the coaches and administrators of the different sports and leagues. They could make it a priority to allow that one and a half days per week there would be no practice or games. The time off might even help the youngsters catch up on their rest! I'm sure some would tell me to mind my own business...that they're in it to win. That it's imperative that the team practice all they can...but at what cost? 

More than once I've had a young person tell me they would not be able to attend a Youth Event or trip, because they'd have to miss practice or a game. And punishment would ensue. Not physical punishment, but sitting the bench. And so they stay at home. Will this make them "bad" Christians? No. Will it make them better athletes? Probably not. But what it does teach is that our society puts our relationship with God second, or third or tenth.

That's really a shame, when it doesn't have to be that way at all.

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