Anca Martin shares three things she learned from being a bench-warmer.
Can God use sports to help moms raise Godly warrior? In this guest post from Helen Logan, she reflects on how sports were used by God to shape her three sons.
The follow is a guest post by Pastor Jeremy Haskins I love the color orange. But, let me be clear, not just any tint of orange, Tennessee Orange ( PMS 151, CMYK: 0/50/100/0, HEX: #f77f00). I’m well aware that to most outside of the state of Tennessee this color is horrific. But this unique color, symbolic of fall in East Tennessee, is a glorious sight to me. It’s the color of my beloved Vols! The Sugar Bowl of 1986 sealed my love for the Big Orange. When the underdog Volunteers toppled the Miami Hurricanes under Coach Johnny Majors, I was hooked. As a kid, I mimicked Carl Pickens, Reggie Cobb, and Chuck Webb in my backyard. I worried like everyone else about who would replace Andy Kelly and then Heath Shuler. Thankfully, the greatest QB ever, #16, donned the orange and white. Each year, I joke with my wife about getting me a blue tick hound for Christmas –kinda joke. There is nothing like hearing the words, “It’s Football Time in Tennessee!” There is nothing like seeing the Vols run through the ‘T’ as “Rocky Top” blares. There is nothing like hearing over 102,000 crazy fans scream at the top of their lungs on 3rd and short. And every time the Vols score a touchdown, I still hear John Ward declare, “Give. Him. Six!”.
Why You Need to Say More than Six Words to Your Kids About Sports: A Friendly Response to Brad M. Griffin
Brad M. Griffin from the Fuller Youth Institute recently posted an article, “The Only Six Words Parents Need to Say to Their Kids About Sports—Or Any Performance.” I am sympathetic with some aspects of the article. He is rightly concerned that too many parents simply obsess on their child’s performance in sports. He writes, “All kinds of parental anxiety and dysfunction plays out on the sidelines and in the bleachers, and you only need to walk to your local park to catch a glimpse for yourself.” Anybody involved in youth sports has seen the people Griffin is describing and perhaps we’ve even seen that type of person in the mirror. My problem with his article is that his response to the problem he describes is woefully inadequate. Griffin suggests based on psychological research that the three healthiest statements moms and dads can make as their kids compete in sports are: Before the competition: Have fun. Play hard. I love you. After the competition: Did you have fun? I am proud of you. I love you. While all of those statements can certainly be helpful they are far from adequate in utilizing a child participation in sports as a tool for cultivating Christian discipleship and cruciform worldview. The Bible is far from silent on sports and athletic competition (Gen 30:8, 32:24, Psalm 19:3-6, 2 Sam 2:14, 1 Cor 9:24-27, Phil 3:13-14, Gal 2:2, Eph 6:12, Heb 12:1-4). The Apostle Paul consistently uses the language of athletic competition for talking about the demands and discipline of the Christian life.
When I hear someone say, “War Eagle,” or see someone wearing Auburn sports gear I almost reflexively feel obligated to respond, “Roll Tide!” In fact, it seems like a duty, a moral responsibility even. Years ago, Bill Clinton’s campaign guru and LSU alum, James Carville was asked by the Wall Street Journal to explain the fanatical devotion of legions of fans who never took a step inside a classroom at the schools they follow. He quipped, “Half the people in that stadium can’t spell LSU. It doesn’t matter. They identify with it. It’s culturally such a big deal.” As a son of Alabama, the heart of Dixie, and the buckle of the SEC football belt, I would suggest this is one of those rare occasions when James Carville was understated. To call football in the South culturally a big deal is akin to saying the Grand Canyon is a big hole.
At some point in recent years it became fashionable among Christians to not keep score at children’s sporting events. It is sometimes treated as the proper Christian approach and attitude toward sports. Of course, the all too common, win at all costs, cultural sports idolatry is patently unbiblical and must be rejected among Christians. But there is some solid ground somewhere between the dad who sits idly by as his son chases butterflies rather than the baseballs in the outfield and the dad who screams at his child between every pitch as if it is the seventh game of the World Series. The Bible is far from silent on sports and athletic competition (Genesis 30:8, 32:24, Psalm 19:3-6, 2 Samuel 2:14, 1 Corinthians 9:24-27, Philippians 3:13-14, Galatians 2:2, Ephesians 6:12, Hebrews 12:1-4). In fact, the Apostle Paul uses the language of sports as one of his three primary metaphors (together with warfare and agriculture) for talking about the Christian life (see 2 Timothy 2:4-7 for all three). All three are physically demanding and require self-control and self-restraint for success.