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WHY WE PLAY THE GAME: PRIORITIES

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By Jared Baldwin

As I peck away at this much overdue installment for GSPN I am also watching a documentary about the use and abuse, myths and facts about steroids. It is timely for me because I knew that I wanted to write an article about the importance of sports. You see, compared to many things in life, sports are much less important. Acknowledging that fact, do we dispense with athletic endeavors altogether in exchange for the highest priorities?

First, let’s be honest about the things that are definitely more important that sports. God and our personal relationship with Him is number one.Sports Matters

“It is worth nothing for you to have the whole world if you yourself are lost. You could never pay back enough to buy back your life,” Jesus.

Likewise, church, the place we go to worship God, is also extremely important in our spiritual growth.

Family, a God given relationship, is our highest earthly priority. Work, our mode of providing for our family is extremely important.

Friendship, service to others, charity, education, health and many other things would rank in the “more important than” list.

These areas in life are all priorities that every person must reconcile with on a daily basis. When these things take a back seat to pursuits of lesser importance, our lives get complicated and confusing.

So where do sports fit into the mix? Do sports matter at all in light of the bigger picture of our lives? I would say “yes” a resounding “Yes!” but with a disclaimer.

Let’s look at each of the most important areas of life, and incorporate sports. Starting with the biggest, God, can sports bring glory to God, as they say in Minnesota, “Yep, you betcha.”

When an athlete works hard and acknowledges the One who gave him or her the opportunity and ability to play, they give credit where credit is due and validate the existence of sports. Church and sports, although they can be at direct conflict when the softball league and the worship service are scheduled for the same time, can bring brothers and sisters closer together.

Family can benefit from sports. I cannot think of something I enjoy more than watching my kids play for their club or school teams. Work, some people make sports their work and provide for their families. Others are able to use sports as a way to lose of the stress of the workplace, making them a better employee when they clock in the next day. Likewise, all of the other areas have obvious correlations: friendship, service, charity, education and health all can be totally compatible with athletics.

But here is the disclaimer, when sports overshadow the higher priorities of life, we need to take a step back and put the sports back in their place.

Sports are not everything. But if we can utilize them, and take the best of what they can provide, they are valuable.

Jared BaldwinJared Baldwin has been coaching youth sports for more than 15 years. He has been involved in sports as a coach, a fan, a parent and an athlete. He and his wife Tammy, and children Kayla, Andrew and Zachary lived on Guam from 2002-2009 and then returned to Guam in July 2011. He used to write for Directions magazine and works for Harvest as a cross country coach at Harvest Christian Academy and assistant Pastor at Harvest Baptist Church.

 

 

It’s Fun! Part I

Competition Part II

Endurance Part III

Sportsmanship Part IV

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