Recently I warned my mom, when she came to watch one of my son’s basketball games, that sometimes a fan can get out of hand at these games…and sometimes, I’m that fan. It’s funny. But it’s not. Getting emotionally involved to the point that I act like a fool is dumb, unpleasant for the people around me, and misrepresents God. Below are 6 reminders that I need before watching kids play sports.
- The game is between two groups of kids, not me and the referees. — Maybe it’s because my competitive spirit wants to play, or my inner Uncle Rico wants to come out? So, I’m tempted to compete against the refs by yelling at them? What if they DID miss a call? Does yelling make them ref better? Would I do my job better if people yelled at me while I worked?
- They have a coach, and it’s not me. — I’m not a sports coach of any kind. I haven’t spent time with the kids in practice. I don’t know the big picture. Coaches put their time, talent, and heart into their teams. They’re doing the best they can, definitely better than I would do.
- Coaches are people too, created in the image of God. — Your occupation should not make you a target for verbal abuse. There’s no justification for me yelling at people made in God’s image. And it probably says a lot more about my lack of character and self-control than it does their lack of coaching ability. People, all people, get their value from God, not their ability to perform.
- Referee’s are people too, created in the image of God. Again, your occupation should not make you a target for verbal abuse. See #3 above.
- They’re just kids. Sports should be a fun, character building experience for kids. Me yelling negative things at them doesn’t help, that. It hurts it. That goes for my kids, other kids on our team, and kids on the other team.
- It’s just a game. Wether my team wins or loses. If the game is played with excellence, or not. Nothing is more important than the PEOPLE who play it, coach it, and officiate it — their safety and wellbeing, their hearts, souls, and feelings.
It’s easy to write these things now, but not so easy to remember them in the heat of the game. But it’s not as if I have to sit in silence and watch. I can, and should, ENCOURAGE the kids, APPLAUD good play and excellence, and CHEER for the team.
I wrote these reminders first and foremost, for me. They’re things I’ve felt convicted of. If they’re helpful to you, good! But please don’t think that I’ve nominated myself the “spectator conduct police” at sporting events. That wouldn’t be helpful either. I’m not gonna get in your business, look down on you, or think less of you. Clearly, I have plenty of work to do in my own life. The struggle is real.
See ya at the game!