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The Beauty of Sports

On Imported Blog

I love sports. I love the teams that I follow and I love to compete. I love the blood, sweat, and tears that goes into every minute. I love all of it. But what I love the most is the unity it creates among a group of people. Sports teams have brought together schools, cities, and countries when they need it the most. It has caused a society ravaged by internal disputes to jointly support a a common cause.

One of my all-time favorite movies is Remember the Titans. On the surface it's a story about an unlikely football run, but it really is about the struggles of school integration and how one school was able to handle it through football. The athletes had to come together, play together, and work together as a team so they could all achieve their collective goal. Inspired by their team, the high school students themselves united as one to support this team that was making history. Another popular instance of a racial divide being eradicated by sports is in Invictus, where South Africa's apartheid is united through rugby. Didier Drogba also stalled a Civil War in his home country by using his influence as the star of the Ivory Coast National Football (Soccer) team.

While I have not experienced something as dramatic as these stories, I do have some experience. Now my school lacks spirit for own sports teams, but the passion for the Houston Rockets during the NBA Playoffs is amazing. Even though it's only the first round, all throughout the hallways are conversations about the game. Friendships are made because of this shared interest, shared support of this team that embodies values that we want to see in ourselves. The Rockets call themselves "Red Nation" because all the fans come together and act like a united country. When they win a game, it's pure ecstasy. Celebrating is only fun when it's with others. And when they lose, at least we lose together. It's much, much more tolerable when you can share defeat and resentment.

Athletes are among the most influential people in the world, whether people feel that's right or not. In all honesty, most kids strive to be LeBron James rather than Barack Obama. Athletes have this power to have a huge following that will mimic what they're doing. When they use this ability to support a good cause, such as uniting two different cultures, amazing things happen.

Engage and Win

On Family Minister Wannabe

In the 1997 NBA Finals the Bulls were playing a tough fought game 6 against the Utah Jazz. Wtih 25 seconds to go, the score was tied at 86 and the Bulls had the ball for what everyone thought would be the final shot of the game. Everyone in the world thought that final shot would come from a guy named Michael Jordan (maybe you’ve heard of him). The shot went up and fell in for a 88-86 lead that ended in a 90-86 win and the 5th NBA Championship in 7 years for the Chicago Bulls. But, Michael didn’t take the game winning shot the point guard, Steve Kerr, took it and buried it. Steve Kerr was the hero of one of the best NBA Finals games in history.

This is a great lesson for us as parents! You see, everyone, including the coach, Jordan, and Steve Kerr expected Jordan to take the final shot. Kerr, after passing the ball off to Pippen, could have and maybe should have disengaged. He could have just stood away from Jordan to give him space and time to take the shot. BUT HE DIDN’T! He was fully engaged in the play! He got to a spot where Jordan could pass him the ball if he needed to pass and when Jordan did pass, Kerr took the shot he was presented and nailed it for a win.

We have to be this way as parents in all things with our kids, but especially when it comes to their spiritual lives! We must be ENGAGED! It’s easy to look to the church or the Youth Minister (see what I did there, made myself Michael Jordan in this illustration) and watch or disengage and let others do the work, but that’s not how God designed it! God gave your children to you for you to disciple and that has always been the plan!

Deuteronomy 6:6-7, “6 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. 7 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.”

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