By Steve Ellisor, Recreation Minister
Good rainy Monday morning! I was speaking to a person on the phone earlier this morning who was lamenting about the cold weather. I reminded her that it is winter and that this is the weather we are supposed to have this time of year. It just usually doesn’t happen this way!
Saturday was a good day of CSports Basketball. I was privileged to deliver several halftime devotions during the day and I took the opportunity to share the words of a song I would sing at my youngest grandson’s baptism the following day. I have attached the words of the song to this email. I read a passage from the 6th Chapter of Deuteronomy which says, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. These commandments I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.” These are things we MUST tell the children.
Just as we seem surprised and annoyed when winter weather occurs, we are sometimes shocked when “natural” reactions occur during close ball games. I’ve written many times about how our program is in the world but not “of” the world. We strive to bring light into the darkness that has permeated sports and other activities such that individuals will speak harshly to one another when, in any other situation, they would be polite and civil. Basketball is a sport that stirs emotions and often good people will bypass the “CSports filter” and become a bit more worldly in their comments to officials.
I have many faults but I don’t think being a hypocrite is one of them. I’ll tell you outright that I may be the worst, and yet God put me here to change many of the things that I identify as my weaknesses. As my children played sports, some of which I coached, I have embarrassed my wife and even made my daughter cry when I have lost my temper during games. “Open your eyes, Blue!” was one of my shouts. My son was a very talented pitcher and I would often shout, “Haven’t you ever seen a curveball Ump?” There was one time in a national championship tournament when my daughter was called out because she didn’t touch home plate. Even though we had a footprint and a video of her touching it, the umpire didn’t change his call. I blew a gasket! I know the feeling. I’ve been there! And I was wrong.
While sports are to be taken seriously as healthy activities, methods of teaching discipline, opportunities to develop talents, and the goal of each game is to score more points than the opponent, they are still recreational in their purpose. All who are reading this have seen coaches on tv going wild after they saw what they felt was a bad call by an official. Every level of every sport (See McEnroe/tennis) involves human behavior, instant decisions, and, ultimately, rewards and consequences. As a major part of our ministry we try to remove the perceived need and, in fact, the permission, to react rudely and aggressively for any reason in a game. Our players will enter the realm of “real sports” when they get in school and will hear all of the shouting and human aggression they can handle. They are here, in CSports, to participate, learn and have fun. Our coaches, team parents, and officials are all volunteers and we will not allow anyone to verbally abuse them, especially in front of elementary school children.
Yes, when we’re moving along comfortably and hit a bump it both makes me reflect on where I’ve been and where I’ve come since. Please join me in making the CSports games fun no matter if we agree with everything a ref or opposing coach says or does. Find Ms. Rose if you have a concern but please don’t shout to “assist the refs” or especially say derogatory things in front of your players. I want to thank everyone who makes this ministry work through the time and efforts they donate. Let’s model Godly behavior in everything we do. Coaches, be ready with a pat on the back or a hug if one of your cohorts begins to get a little rowdy. None of us are perfect…least of all me, for that matter…but we have a job to do and that job is to teach children how to love Jesus, love each other, and learn a little basketball while they do it.
See you Saturday!