As a Pastor for Students and Families and as a father of seven, I understand this issue. I grew up playing all types of sports and am still actively involved in sports even while in my fifties. Sports are great! They teach us so many things that the Lord would have us learn. In defeat, we learn to be gracious and trust in His sovereign plan even when it’s contrary to what we wanted and practiced towards. In victory, we learn how to be humble and give credit to the God who gave us the ability to accomplish our goals. In sports we learn about sacrifice, about denying ourselves for the sake of others, about persevering, about controlling ourselves, and the list goes on an on. Sports are great and can be a great opportunity for kids (and adults) of all ages to grow!
However, as with anything that God has made, they can also be misused such that not only do they lose almost all of their benefits but they actually become a detriment to the participant as well as to the family. One of the main ways this can happen with sports in todays society is in regards to time. In our age of specialization in youth sports, the time commitment to participate can be overwhelming. How should a faithful Christian think about this topic? Should they opt out of sports altogether? What about travel teams and missing church? The questions go on and on. Desiring God has a great article on this topic interviewing Mary Kassain who is a well respected author and speaker who has adult children all of whom participated in youth sports, one of which ended up in the NHL playing professional hockey.
As parents, our job is to look to the end of the game…not just to the half. Additionally, we are to raise our children in the fear and admonition of the Lord as the primary shepherds of our children. It would serve all of us well if we seriously consider this article and the impact that sports (or drama, or music, or whatever hobby it may be) is having on our children and our family…both for the positive and the negative. May God give us humility to honestly examine our lives and how we are stewarding our families in this arena for His glory and their good.