Posted tagged ‘the fruit of the Spirit’

The Sinful Nature of Tee Ball Parents

July 12, 2017

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                           July 12, 2017


I was at my granddaughter’s t-ball game last night. It was a calm event, appropriately applauded by parents and grandparents alike. The game’s highlight was when the first baseman actually caught the ball that was thrown to him. Other than that it was a time of watching six year olds more interested in the plane flying overhead than the baseball that just rolled by them on the ground, baseball caps turned backwards, and kids carrying mitts about half their height. Six year old t-ball is meant to be about learning, having fun, and getting the post-game snack. A kid can belt four home runs in the game, but if he misses the post-game snack he will go home totally devastated.

Then there are the other games! In Cortez, Colorado several parents got into a fight at a t-ball game. Video circulated from the event showing women going after one another, profanity thrown around like candy, and, ultimately, the police called with one parent cited! If this was an isolated situation we could just assign it to “Ripley’s Believe It or Not”, but unfortunately it isn’t just a blip on the screen. It happens quite often.

One team in my granddaughter’s age group has parents who follow the attitude of their children’s coach…a bit arrogant and cheering that is a bit over the top. One player who fell and went to the bench crying…as any six year old well-adjusted child would…was reprimanded by the coach who yelled at him that he had two minutes to get his act together.

Being a basketball official for sixteen years I remember having a mom removed from a sixth grade boy’s club game. She had been sitting along the baseline yelling to her son, “Kill him! Kill him!” When I had her removed she protested that she had paid to get in.

What is it about their son and daughter’s athletic contests that make parents become prime examples of human depravity? It seems to be the fertile ground from which their sinful nature grows like a weed. The Apostle Paul had it right when he wrote to the people of Galatia that “…the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want.” (Galatians 5:17)

     He goes on to clarify what the acts of the sinful nature are, and while not specifically naming “being a parent at a youth sporting event” he does list associated acts like “hatred, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, and dissensions.” Ahhh…yes, sounds like some of the ingredients of some sideline parents I’ve seen.

Last summer twenty adults got into a fight during a four and five year old tee ball game in Florida over a disputed call of the umpire’s. National youth sports organizations get calls weekly about parents or coaches…or both…who have gotten into fights at games.

Years ago we had a men’s team play in a church basketball league. I used to say that the teams would pray together before the game and pray together after the game…and play like we were demon-possessed during the game!

Let’s face it! Sports bring out the best in us…and the worst in us! Parents have a hard time keeping things in perspective. Winning is worshiped. Having character is devalued. It is no longer about enjoying the sport, it’s about annihilating the competition. Common sense has exited the ball park!

Some leagues have toyed with not allowing parents to attend. Others have gone to the extreme of not allowing parents to say anything, even cheering. Associations of sports officials are seeing decreasing numbers of referees. One of the main reasons given is the behavior of parents!

Going back to Paul and his instruction to the Galatians he contrasts what the “fruit of the Spirit” are with the previously mentioned acts of the sinful nature. That is, what are the evidences of someone being directed by the Spirit of God, as opposed to “that other me” that seems to emerge form time to time. In his list he mentions things like “joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self-control.”

Just an idea! They may not get it, but it’s an idea! What if parents start receiving a list of positive elements, like those just mentioned; and another list of unacceptable behaviors and attitudes. Perhaps some of them would recognize the spiritual connection…and file a law suit, citing religious discrimination! But maybe, just maybe, some of them would have their dusty light bulbs click on that would tell them how things should be, and one playing field intended to be a place of play would regain some of its purpose.


Driving with Ill Will

July 10, 2017

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                               July 10, 2017


My wife Carol says that I’ve been a lot happier since I retired eighteen months ago. I’m not going to disagree with her and say, “No, I’ve been totally depressed!” If that was the case she would vote for more depression time in my schedule.

I have been happier…for some reason! I get to read more, walk more, hang out at Starbucks more. I laugh more and tend to spout some really bad puns.

But when I get behind the steering wheel I tend to take on a different personality, one that wishes ill will on some of the other drivers I encounter! I wish I understood it, but I don’t! Perhaps the inside of a car is a quarantined area where the fruit of the Spirit…love, joy, peace, patience… can not enter.

I pray for motorcycle cops to appear right when that oversized pick-up truck roars by me doing ninety! When the motorcyclist cuts over three lanes in a crazed burst of speed I long for flashing lights to come from behind.

When Mario speeds by me and we’re coming to a stop light I pray that God will change it to red so that we’ll end up at the same place and I can look over and smile. When someone races by me and then cuts in front of me I stretch my hand out towards him in a way that communicates “Go ahead, if that makes you feel special!” I’m hoping that whoever the driver is that he/she will be looking back at me as I make the mocking gesture!

Yes, I do all those things! I even yell at someone who sits stationary at a stoplight even after it changes to green. I say things like, “Come on!”, “Idiot!”, and “Wake up, fool!” I’m especially unchristian towards speeding BMW and Mercedes’ drivers. I’m guilty of praying for hail to pummel their vehicles! It’s not road rage, but rather the justified vengeance of God. I admit that I have a tendency to ask God to lower the boom on certain people that irritate me!

When I drive I am a different person! I am a firm believer in our need for grace, but I show no grace when I’m in the driver’s seat! I hear the words of Paul in my mind. “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.” (Romans 7:15)

I’ve tried to remind myself that we are all sinners saved by grace, that there was a time when I drove my 1974 Gremlin a hundred miles an hour down a two lane Illinois backroad. I’ve tried to remind myself that I’ve fallen short and driven fast, but then about that time another Beemer goes racing by me and the vindictiveness rises to the surface again.

Oh, what a wretched sinner I am! What am I to do with myself!

I can hear Carol whispering, “Sit in the passenger seat!”