Sports or idols?

August 26th, 2020

Sports can be awesome. Participating in sports as a child is great physical activity, helping kids stay healthy and offering opportunities for socialization and teamwork. Rooting for a college or professional sports team allows a teen to feel a part of something larger than oneself, part of a greater community. Sports encourage self-confidence, camaraderie and pride in accomplishments — all results that are great for kids!

And then there’s the downside . . .

Anyone who has played sports, or been a fan of sports, knows there can be a negative side to sports as well. Some parents (and kids) take sports too seriously, pushing people past their emotional and physical breaking points. Ultracompetitive and elite teams cost families thousands of dollars a year and often consume the lives of the entire family, not just the player. College athletes often have their scholarships tied to their ability to play a sport, so risking injury means risking their college degree. Professional sports players often become role models for kids (whether or not it was their intention), making it difficult for them to be regular human beings who live normal lives and make mistakes. 

What have we done?  

It’s hard to believe that many sports, as we think of them today, didn’t even exist 120 years ago! While there have been contests and physical competitions for centuries, the way we play and watch sports now is a fairly recent phenomenon.

In 2016 the average professional sports salary ranged from $308,000 (MLS) to $6.2 million (NBA). There’s also a whole industry surrounding sports that employs more than one million people in some capacity. We have moved from game-playing and watching as a nonessential luxury or pastime to an industry that has become an essential source of employment in our culture. But what happens when our favorite pastime becomes our greatest obsession? When does love of the game become our idol?

Question of the day: What is your favorite sport (or player, or team), and why?
Focal scriptures: Exodus 20:1-17; Daniel 3; Romans 13:8-10

For a complete lesson on this topic visit LinC.

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