The Pros and Cons of Sports

pros-and-cons-of-sportsI recently heard some speakers who believe that being involved in sports is sin. I’m serious. That’s what they said in their homeschool conference. (They say it in their books as well.) Here is their reasoning: their sons were developing pride, which was not a character quality they wanted in their sons. Secondly, sports are all about winning, and causing the other team to lose. So it’s not “being a servant;” instead, it’s “being selfish.” Thirdly, you become obsessed with it as an adult. So it feeds the “wrong appetite” in your kids, since they will prioritize that above their families when they get older. (“Move over, can’t you see I’m watching the game?!”) Let me address each of these arguments one by one.

First, they said sports will cause your child to develop pride. That’s only if your kids are good at sports, which most homeschoolers aren’t. (Yes, we’re misfits. Go on and throw tomatoes if you want, but most homeschool kids seem more klutzy than public school kids who get their regular inoculation of sports.) For my own children, it develops humility and an ability to lose well. They’ve never scored a goal or a touchdown, bless their souls, no matter how hard they’ve tried. If they do, I will holler like a crazy woman and jump up and down, and hurray for them. It’s not a sin to be happy when you try to do something, and you’re happy that you did it. Like swimming, for example. Is it a sin to be proud of yourself that you’re swimming for the first time? “I did it!” they beam. Hurray for them. That’s happy. When Jesus was a toddler and walked for the first time, He was probably proud of Himself. Yet He was the most humble man that ever lived. That doesn’t mean He was mousey and felt that we wasn’t good at anything. It’s good to have confidence, so that we can share the Gospel and use our spiritual gifts. We need to know our strengths and weaknesses. This doesn’t mean that it’s a sin to have strengths, or to have confidence of a job well done.

Secondly, sports are all about winning, and causing the other team to lose. It’s not teaching them to be a servant to others, but to be selfish. Actually, to learn to work as a team, you have to serve the people on your team, letting them get the glory that you set up for them. Learning to work as a team is something that helps to understand the body of Christ (the church) and how it works. Yes, you can learn this by doing chores as a family or feeding the poor in a soup kitchen. Do all of the above, by all means, at least what God leads you to do. But in a sport, your kids are getting exercise at the same time that they’re learning a skill. Better hand-eye coordination is a plus. Also, not being stupid about sports (“Basketball? What’s that?”) is helpful for a well-rounded education. Education is more than books. It’s an understanding of life. Plus, our obese society should exercise more.

Lastly, your children will prioritize sports above their families in the future. Maybe this is true; maybe it’s not. Maybe your kids will love their families way more than sports, but also enjoy watching a game. That’s why you need to seek God each year, to ask Him whether your child should do a sport or not. Only God knows what the results will be. Then don’t proceed unless you have peace. Enjoying watching a football game is not necessarily a sin. My husband and I don’t watch sports, and I’ve already made it clear in other blog entries that I hate sports myself because I was always picked last. But I guess what I’m trying to say is, “Ask God. Only God knows what’s best for your family. Don’t grab someone else’s rules just because they’re famous or godly. The only way to be godly is to have a personal relationship with Christ and seek Him about these things. Then follow His leading.”

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10 Responses to “The Pros and Cons of Sports”

  1. Debbie says:

    Most of the people in my family are sports fanatics. I hate sports for the above reason. My husband will not miss Mass over sport tho. Once the game is on tho.. we are suppose to be quiet…

    I also, hate tv for the same reason. You points are valid.

    • Susan says:

      Yes, there is a difference between enjoying something and being obsessed with it so much that you’re rude to other people. I especially see this during football season.

  2. I’m not convinced, regardless of personal feelings on sports, that what those people were saying was entirely a Biblical perspective. All I can really say is WOW. That’s pretty drastic to say about sports, which teach so much if done properly. My daughter loves swimming and I can see her continuing on for many more years, her desire to swim is that strong. I think when something takes work and dedication it helps to prepare for life. You find things have to be worked for, good things come to those who wait (waiting upon God sometimes can be hard, maybe more of us should have learned that lesson in pee-wee t-ball???), and teamwork.

    How well received were these speakers at the conference?

    • Susan says:

      They are famous and well-received, but many people left the conference feeling defeated because it seemed like a lot of rules had been imposed upon people, taking away our freedom in the Lord.

  3. Barbara F. says:

    Wow! I see why they’re saying that, but truthfully I think pride can come from many forms. What about winning a spelling (or even a Bible) bee? My daughter participates in a Christian drama group and even there I think there is room for pride. I believe I even know some Christians who seem proud because they dress and act like they don’t have much money. Having said that, I also know that if your kids are good at sports (we fall in the klutzy group) that travel teams can really take over your life. But on the flip side, it can be a good thing if all your child does is watch TV and eat potato chips. We are all so different, and thankfully the Holy Spirit leads us each in different ways. I’m glad I wasn’t at that conference. I hate going somewhere and feeling guilty.

    • Susan says:

      Yes, pride can come from anything that we’re good at, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t become good at anything! We can use our gifts and talents to glorify the Lord, whatever they are.

  4. I LOVE that point- “basketball, what’s that?”
    I agree with you fully.
    Thanks for this post.

  5. brilliant. I have read the books and heard the speakers to whom you refer and really had a hard time with their viewpoint (on many things). Thank you for sharing this. well done! I agree completely. Ask God what’s best for YOUR family.

    • Susan says:

      Jesus was upset when people added more rules to what was in the Bible. Following the Holy Spirit’s leading is the only way to live life joyfully!

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