Thankfully sports aren’t life or death


Sunday afternoon I took a trip to the store with my two oldest boys (7 & 4) to get a couple of items for the Super Bowl festivities.  I knew that when I decided to go to the store that I was likely entering a bit of a chaotic mess, living in New England and all.  I really enjoy football, but I was surprised with the gusto some people were taking this sports thing.  It was busy at the store and people were totally in the shopping for junk food zone. My boys, well they were on a treasure hunt.

On our drive to the store my oldest son starting talking about football and just commenting about who was going to win.  Being the opportunist I said, “You know, football is fun, but it is not life or death.  Some people take this thing too far.  We need to follow God, not a bunch of football players.”

Silence – then he responds:

“That would be interesting if it was life or death.  What if people died after they played?  That would be weird”

My 4-year-old chimes in “Hey dad, you know what I want for my birthday.  I want a Lego set.”   There was the official end of our ‘deep’ conversation. For the next 5 minutes they debated about which Lego set to get and looked through their Lego magazines.

We get to the store and they are so very excited to be there.  As we are walking in, one son spots what he calls a gold coin.  It is actually an earring, but don’t bother trying to tell him that.  The other son spots some piece of garbage that he kept as his treasure.  This was before we even got into the store.  We go in the store and they are wanting all kinds of things.  The soda football display mesmerized them.  Oh, and then there were the closed circuit televisions.  “Look, I’m on TV.”

“Hey, I want an underwater camera. They are only 14.99.” I asked him if he had $14.99, to which he replied he didn’t.  So, I replied “Well, then it is a lot of money isn’t it.”  Dad is so witty, right?

We got what we needed and on the way out stopped for maps.  If you remember the post I wrote about that, it will make even more sense.  But, my whole parenting existence was vindicated as in front of me there was a father with a few young boys all getting maps!  My kids are not the only kids taking all of the hot spot maps!

We leave the store.  My 4-year-old picks up a cigarette butt off the ground.  “Look, I have a smoke” My 7-year-old quickly scolds him and tells him “those things make your heart stop.”  Clearly not wanting that to happen, he threw it on the ground and kept walking.

We got home and they have a chance to play a little Wii before we go to a friend’s house for the game.  Why am I telling you this story?

This story illustrates something for me that is crucial.  Moments in life, while seemingly normal and mundane are actually great relationship opportunities.  No, we did not dissect any Bible verses in our conversation, but we were together.  My kids were with me and we were hanging out together.  The times in the car ‘doing life’ together are so important.  The same is true in youth ministry.  This last summer we took a trip to Six Flags and we had a deep theological discussion on the ride home.  Those moments are not just time to crank the radio, they are time to engage in the life of the people right there.

The temptation is to run through life and miss the people right in front of us.  It takes something tragic before people say something nice about them or miss them.  There was a high school student who committed suicide this last week, obviously tragic on so many levels.   What is interesting, though, are the people who are now commenting on his Facebook page about how much they love and miss him.  I don’t doubt that they do.  I just wish people would build this appreciation of people into their daily life, not just when someone dies.

Parents need to spend quality time with our kids.  Quality time is not something that is thrown together as a guilt trip, it is something that is a part of developing an intimate relationship with your children.   This is daily time together around the dinner table or even watching a movie.  It is simply being together and being all there.   We put so much emphasis on getting everything just right for the big football party, but what about the lives of the people right in your home?  How people live their life, unlike football, is a matter of life or death.

This is a dose of perspective.  I love football and look forward to next season.  But, it is far more important for me to love God and model that for my children.  It is much more valuable to spend time with my kids finding earrings at the grocery store, than it is to watch football all day on Sunday without them.

What do you think? I am just sharing my heart here, but I would love to know what others think or have experienced. 



  1. Hi There. Two things stood out for me … what if the players died at the end of the match … well we do … at the end of “the match” of life … and that your son picked up a little bit of rubbish and decided it was treasure. My 4 year old son still does this … collect “rubbish” as we go and decide it is treasure … and it hit me as I read that this is what we are called to do … stop for what others may call “the rubbish” (too strong a word but I will go with it) and see the treasure that they truly are …
    Finally – I agree … we need to slow it down, and be present with those that are around us and that we love …
    Thanks for taking the time to write this up!
    God is good!

    1. Your take on this is right on. The word ‘rubbish’ might seem too harsh, but many people feel that way. Each person is a treasure as a masterpiece of God. People can be so mean to each other and tear them down. We can really bless others by looking past all of that outside stuff and loving people as commanded to do. Thank you for sharing these things, they added something to this that I hadn’t thought of. Be blessed!

      1. Hey – thanks for stopping by a little while ago. Taking a break from some work … and popped in to your blog … it is my desire to see people as God sees them … a life verse is Is 45:3 … “I will give you the treasures of darkness, riches stored in secret places” and I think that the treasures are people 🙂 I have a hunch you may feel the same way. Keep writing! Cheers, God is Good!

  2. When your children are grown, the biggest regrets are those moments you missed in your ‘busyness’. Quality time IS quantity time, and I’m glad you realize this now. It’s one reason Grandchildren love their grandparents so much – grandparents have often learned the value of time. Great post. 🙂 Angie

    1. Quality time doesn’t just magically appear when scheduled, it happens within that quantity of time. I am realizing how quickly time seems to go as my 4 kids growing up. It is busy now for sure, but I don’t want to miss out and regret it later. Thanks for the comment.

  3. Enjoy the quality time now. Two reasons: 1. They become teenagers, and you realize why species eat their young. 2. They become teenagers, and they eventually come to you for help, and you cannot eat them.

    The most vindicating thing about being a parent is when they come to you for absolutely no other purpose than proximity. Everything you have taught them glows in that moment.


    1. My hope is that I will have enough experience with the mistakes of other parents raising their kids that I will be ready for anything. The truth is I will be just as lost as the rest of them. I do love when my kids just want to sit by my. Even tonight one of my boys came and told me he wanted to snuggle with me. That seems like a strange thing for a guy to say, but I will take it from them any day.

  4. I have numerous times counseled young men and women who work for me that a year from now no one will remember how late they worked, but ten years from now their kids will remember if they were there or not. The kids may not remember the specific event but they’ll know you were involved in their life.

    And now you know why my ministry is in the workplace!


    1. Sounds like you are giving some wise advice. My son wrote something for school that said his favorite thing about me was that I had Wednesdays off. The reason was because I was home when he got off the school bus. I think that illustrates your point.

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