To learn about what is truly important to a society one simply needs to look at their budget and their calendar. Where do they spend their money and where to they spend their time? According to a 2017 study by WinterGreen Research, youth sports are a 15.3 billion dollar industry. The Aspen Institute tells us that on average, students in America spend 11.5 hours each week participating in a sport. The most committed students will spend up to 60 hours in a week participating in functions associated with their sport while it’s in season. It is easy to see that youth sports hold significant influence in our society.
The weight of importance we have assigned to youth sports should cause us to pause and question what value is being gained from them and what part they should play in the education of our students.
Morning Star Academy is concerned with teaching students to view all of life in light of Christ’s Kingdom. Education is not simply passing on knowledge from one generation to the next, but rather cultivating the affections of students so that they will live virtuous lives. If youth sports have been woven deeply into the world our students are being raised in, how should Morning Star teach students to view them in light of the Gospel of Jesus?
Affections are learned and ordered in our routines, practices, and habits. I’ve had the opportunity to coach 5th and 6th grade boys’ basketball at Morning Star for 6 years. Most people would point to teamwork and self-esteem as being some values gained from basketball. I believe that while those things are important, basketball gives us a unique opportunity to instill an affection for meekness.
Meekness is strength under control. It is the ability to put our trust in God and commit ourselves to His will. It allows us to cast our cares on Him and wait patiently for His will to be done. When we do this we don’t succumb to quick flashes of anger. Instead we allow God to control the situation. In James 3:13 we read about the “meekness of wisdom” that teaches us to be slow to speak, quick to listen, and open to correction.
Basketball, like life, is a training ground for meekness. Those who have great power and the ability to control it reflect a gift that comes from God. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. That is a trophy worth playing for.