All you dads out there--I have a question


#1

I really think that sports has become a false god in our society. Families are way more concerned today about making certain their kids participate in and are successful in sports than whether their kids are close to God.

So would dads out there quit watching sports on Sunday if it would contribute to a decline in this type of culture? Sunday is supposed to be a day of worship, prayer and family togetherness. Instead, dad is far too often watching sports all day long. I think it sends thewrong message to kids.


#2

This takes place in some families, and it is tragic.

When I was dating, I dated men who had interests other than sports. I did not want a marriage where dad was a “sports” worshiper

For those who did marry those guys, know that people rarely change. Offer good opportunities for fellowship and to develop friendship with men who keep sports in it’s rightful place or who are not interested in sports at all. Volunteer as a family on Sunday (that is what we do, DH teaches 1st grade CCD!)


#3

Well I think you are correct in saying that sports is taking the place of God in many families out there but I believe that as with everything else moderation is the key and so many take their eyes off of the gifts that our creator has bestowed upon us. Not all men are like this and I myself love to watch the NFL but it has its place in my life and that place is far below everything else. :thumbsup:


#4

*I agree…my dh is this way. He played in organized sports a lot in high school…but it doesn’t ‘‘rule’’ his/our life. I do think he enjoys watching football mainly because it brings back fond memories of his ‘‘glory days.’’ I wouldn’t want to take that from him, as his wife. I think it’s sweet…he sometimes has a tear in his eye when watching a team win. :o (that’s typically only if it’s the Steelers) :smiley:

I think the pic in your sig is so nice, Bill. *


#5

Sports are great for learning social skills, building a good work ethic & developing self-esteem, but they must always be kept in perspective.

Even watching sports can be a good social event, but God must always come first!

Sunday Mass, family prayer & daily mealtimes shared with the TV off, discussing God & positive lessons learned are always better than watching sports.

We men need to pray constantly & read Sacred Scripture daily & make our families spiritual growth our # 1 priority. Those of us who are fathers must set the positive example for our families & cannot let the escape of sports take priority over our Spiritual development!

EWTN has a great show for men called Crossing the Goal. Created by Danny Abramowicz, former NFL all-pro wide receiver and coach, it is in a sports show, ESPN type format & talks about this very problem with positive examples & role models for men.

ewtn.com/series/crossingthegoal/index.htm

Sancta maria, Mater Dei, Ora Pro Nobis Peccatoribus!

mark


#6

I agree with the posts about moderation, and think the same is true for all recreational activities (gardening, fishing, reading, etc). What matters is where they are on your list of priorities, as long as they are well behind faith and family, I don’t see a problem in setting aside a reasonable amount of time to pursue them.

Ideally, if it is an interest, it could become a family event. When I was growing up, watching Notre Dame football was something we all did together. We all got into it, but after the game was over, we turned the tv off and did something else as a family.


#7

Would it be better if they watched soap opera where no one works, and each person gets a new sex partner every season, with the entire premise being who is cheating on who today? Sports show hard work, cooperation, and good coaching allow each man to prove himself. I recall working with my grandson on football he had trouble running into another person. It took a while but he got through it, there was no yelling only coaching. Thousands of pitches, thousands of catches, a lot of work on where to put your feet that is how we waste are time.


#8

Sports can be as bad as any other addiction - tv or otherwise.

I particularly neither watch nor play any organized sports (including the super bowl). Never have and probably never will.

I tell my wife (half joking and half not) that I’ll discourage our daughter from any as well.

Of course, I am very much into the “arts” and can tell you first hand that these can be as time intensive as many of the organized sports.

As a parent, I no longer participate in much (do a little though) and my time requirement is now about 9-10 hours a month. None of these activities are on a Sunday and are built around “free” family time.

I see nothing wrong with anything as long as you balance it with everything else (sports included).


#9

[quote="turtle18, post:1, topic:186566"]
I really think that sports has become a false god in our society. Families are way more concerned today about making certain their kids participate in and are successful in sports than whether their kids are close to God.

So would dads out there quit watching sports on Sunday if it would contribute to a decline in this type of culture? Sunday is supposed to be a day of worship, prayer and family togetherness. Instead, dad is far too often watching sports all day long. I think it sends thewrong message to kids.

[/quote]

Possibly but most Fathers I know aren't like that... oddly enough I started watching Football this year (don't care too much about the other sports) so that my son's (who are now a little older) and I could watch them together.

We also pray together, watch the history channel together and play online games together... Most of the fathers I know are like this. In all truthfulness the only people I know who are true sports junkies are single guys... but maybe I'm just blessed with a good group of friends.

Joe


#10

I agree that participating in sports can be a very valuable experience for any child. It helps with all the things listed above, as well as, physical fitness.

Watching sports or attending sports games can be very good social events.

Even kids playing pick up sports games at the park on their own is a great activity compared to some sort of trouble they could be getting into or playing video games.

However, as others have said - moderation is key. It is important to have your priorities in order as well.

I like sports a lot and still play them in adult leagues, but I would never sit around watching sports all day or even for any period of time over doing something else with family, friends, etc.


#11

Well, we have rarely watched sports on TV… My DD plays soccer, and my son is on the high school teams, anyway.

Problem with sports on TV isn’t about sportsmanship but winning at all costs. Also, as with any other distraction, TV (sports or otherwise) is in a way a great detractor from family activites. However, in moderation, sitting with my son while he’s going through the thrills of victory, and the agonies of defeat (watching the Cubs) is a good lesson in life. You can’t win them all, and we all live to play another day.

Now to support the OP, my FIL watches EVERYTHING and he comes to my house and expects me to know all about every team and every play mad that weekend. Yeesh! An example of how some people should get a life! Get out of the house! Go toss the football with someone (especially your kids or grandkids) and certainly show that the world does not revolve around a bunch of over paid, spoiled brats! (Yes, I know some are overpaid good Christians! which brings up another option… seek those out and make a big deal about why they should be admired better than those that might be good at a sport but don’t live a good and faithful life.)


#12

Sports are on all day Saturday and usually throughout the week. So I didn't suggest not to watch the other days. I just said Sunday. So not watching sports on Sunday would be considered moderation. I just can't help but notice how the importance of sports has blown up in the last twenty years.

Children take their spiritual lead from their fathers. If their fathers turned off the tv set on Sunday it would show them there are more important things.

And I HIGHLY disagree with the poster that sports teaches cooperation, teamwork, all that other stuff. These type of virtues should be learned in religion class because they glorify God. They are applied on the playing field. Self-esteem comes from God by being a child of God. That is where all your self worth is.


#13

Anything can become a false God, it’s nearly impossible to avoid anything that can’t some how be idolized. Sex, the self, sports, science, the bible… Basically anything.


#14

These topics can get tricky. Sports make a GREAT servant, but a tyrranical master. Absolutely, go play and gain the benefits. But those who spend hours a week sitting on the couch watching pro sports aren’t doing anybody any good. Pro spectator sports ARE a male oriented soap opera: canned substitute for those bored by real life.

I mostly agree with the OP. Turn it off. Go play with your kids instead.


#15

[quote="turtle18, post:12, topic:186566"]
And I HIGHLY disagree with the poster that sports teaches cooperation, teamwork, all that other stuff. These type of virtues should be learned in religion class because they glorify God. They are applied on the playing field. Self-esteem comes from God by being a child of God. That is where all your self worth is.

[/quote]

I don't think one should take the place of the other. If you strictly learn something in a classroom and don't have some sort of avenue (sports or otherwise) to actually put those principals into practice then I question the extent one really knows them. But as you said, it is important that they are taught in a religious environment, but also in other areas of life too.

I am not sure how these classes are taught nowadays, but when I was in religion class/CCD, we rarely had group activities/projects. We sat at our desk, listened to the "lecture", read the assignments, completed workbooks, learned prayers, etc. Sure there were good values conveyed, but it didn't teach anyone about how to actually put them into practice or give you the chance to do so. My outside activities were where I truly learned about teamwork, giving and receiving criticism, working as a group towards a common goal, etc. You are much more empowered in a sports or club environment than you are in a classroom.


#16

Experientia magistra stultorum, eh?

So you think putting it into practice isn’t part of the learning process. Well I beg to differ, then. Do you think our armed forces would appreciate it if we fired all of the field commanders and replaced them with civilian military scholars? Reading and talking is easy, safe. It’s in the doing that builds character.


#17

Some of the most precious memories in our family revolve around sports.

It was my youngest DAUGHTER who got us all interested in football. Up until she was in 6th grade, we had never watched football on TV. She had a PE class at school with a football unit, and became devoted to the sport. She started watching the games and explaining the strategies and rules to us, and we got hooked. Now we love the game, and we have a lot of fun getting together with our daughter and her husband and other family members and cheering on our favorite teams.

She met her husband indirectly because of football. She went to see Remember the Titans (a football movie) when she was 14, and this cute boy was sitting in the theater. She introduced herself, and seven years later, they were married. When he came to ask us for permission to propose, he said, "I never thought I would meet a girl who loves football."

The other big sport in our family is figure skating. Just two weekends ago, we attended the Midwestern Sectionals of Synchronized Skating in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and spent 14 hours on Friday and 12 hours on Saturday sitting in the rink watching the competition. Is THAT fanatical enough for you?! And it was COLD in that rink (it was cold outside--below zero). :winter:

But oh, how we love the sport of synchronized skating! Our daughter is a coach, and had several teams in the competition. It was sure fun to look over at the entry gate and see her standing with her team and the other coaches.

Whenever she wasn't involved with her team responsibilities, she came and sat with us, and we enjoyed discussing all the teams and their programs and analyzing the scoring. Great, great fun.

And her sister, who was in California, called several times to ask how the competition was going. Our daughter's team won a medal, and that was very exciting (a team of seven-year-old little girls).

Our girls grew up in a skating rink. They started skating when they were 3 and 5, and spent at least an hour a day on the ice almost every day of their lives. Most days, they spent more than an hour. When they became part of the Chicago Jazz Synchronized Skating Teams (elite level Junior team), the girls spent 15-20 hours a week practicing with this great team.

We loved it all and would do it all again if we had the option of living our lives over. While our girls were practicing, we were right there in the bleachers. Although some parents go home, most sit in the stands and watch their kids and their friends.

Skating has been a part of our family for three generations (my parents were roller skaters), and I suspect that when my girls have children, there will be a fourth generation.

My husband skates almost every day--he has a dance partner that he commutes 2 hours once a week to practice with. He has passed six dance tests in the last year, and is hoping to one day pass his Gold Dance test. He's 52.

Skating never detracted from our service and devotion to Jesus. We did a lot of driving together as a family, and spent much of that time discussing deep spiritual subjects. One thing about this lifestyle is that we, the parents, became the primary spiritual educators of our children. (We weren't Catholic until our girls were grown up).

If you as a family choose not to get interested in sports, that's OK. But I wish that people would not criticize the passions of other families.

Someone above mentioned arts--our family is also very interested in the arts (my older daughter is a professional stage manager, and I play piano and do paying gigs). I know a lot of families who are very involved with some aspect of pet-raising (showing dogs or cats, raising angora rabbits and harvesting their wool, raising livestock on farms, etc.). I know families who are into camping or some other aspect of the outdoor life. I know families who are into gardening. I know families who are into politics. And I know families who are into charitable work.

There are so many different interests that families can get involved with, and God does not forbid any of it (except for the families who are into crime). I think we should all rejoice together and try to appreciate each other and encourage each other.

Of course things can get out-of-balance and children can be robbed of their childhood by parents who are desperately attempting to live vicariously through their children's successes. And of course a dad who shuts out his family to sit glazed-eyed in front of a TV to watch a team is being a very poor steward of his time.

But being "out of balance" isn't necessarily a bad thing. I believe that any elite athlete will be "out-of-balance" because everything they do, even their relaxation and sleep, has to support and maintain their elite fitness level and skills. But what's wrong with that? Many of the mothers on this board spend much of their time nursing a child (ecological nursing). Isn't that "out of balance?" Or how about the parents who devote the bulk of their time to home-schooling their children--isn't that "out-of-balance?" So what?! If that's what you are called to do, then do it with all your heart!

I think we have to be careful not to confuse "moderation" with "blandness."

In fact, God says in the Bible that we should do all things to the Glory of God. IMO, that's what's important. My girls knew that ice was the "breath of God" --see Job 37:10. They knew that they when they skated, they were demonstrating the greatness of God who gave them their bodies and the skill to do jumps and spins.


#18

It is not just sports. Anything can be a false God. Drinking. Work. Working on the car. Working on the computer. In the final analysis, it is balance and priority.

All of my kids have been involved with sports and I have coached them but as a dad, it is up to my wife and I to keep balance and priority. What does that mean?

  • Sunday is Mass first, and everything else second. Even when we have traveled for my son's soccer tournaments, we have never missed Mass and he knows that if it is Mass or a game, the game loses.

  • If there is a family event and sports, sports loses.

  • If they want to play sports in school or recreationally, Church and school come first. That means not only do we get our schoolwork done and maintain grades, but they also must volunteer and be active at Chruch. Church and school are non-debateable, sports is optional.

And just to keep it real, sometimes it means that my son and daughter and I grab some junk food and watch the Eagles. Moderation and priority are the keys.


#19

[quote="TheDoctor, post:18, topic:186566"]
It is not just sports. Anything can be a false God. Drinking. Work. Working on the car. Working on the computer. In the final analysis, it is balance and priority.

All of my kids have been involved with sports and I have coached them but as a dad, it is up to my wife and I to keep balance and priority. What does that mean?

  • Sunday is Mass first, and everything else second. Even when we have traveled for my son's soccer tournaments, we have never missed Mass and he knows that if it is Mass or a game, the game loses.

  • If there is a family event and sports, sports loses.

  • If they want to play sports in school or recreationally, Church and school come first. That means not only do we get our schoolwork done and maintain grades, but they also must volunteer and be active at Chruch. Church and school are non-debateable, sports is optional.

And just to keep it real, sometimes it means that my son and daughter and I grab some junk food and watch the Eagles. Moderation and priority are the keys.

[/quote]

Sometimes people assume that when they see a person or a family who is passionately involved with something--sports, arts, academics, religion, etc.--that this person or family can't possibly be balanced.

What I've seen happen is just the opposite--when someone is passionately involved with pursuing a dream--they learn to balance their lives better than the person who just drifts along through life.

My daughters were at the very top of their class, in spite of missing almost 30 days a year of school due to skating. They went to a college prep school, very competitive--and they learned to make use of all the little odds and ends of time between freestyles and during drives to and from the rink and even while sitting in the bathroom!--to study. They took AP courses; my older daughter was able to graduate a semester early from college because of high school AP credit.

Both girls were involved with extracurriculars at school. Both girls did Model UN. Both did spelling bee (my younger daughter won it one year and went to Regionals). Both did other sports. Both did lots of music and theater.

As for religion--at that time, we were not Catholic, so weekly church attendance was not an issue. Most evangelical Christians are involved with their church at least five days/nights a week, and we were typical! We were hyper-involved with our Evangelical Free Church. My older daughter was on the leadership committee (until she told them off and walked out when she was a Senior--she felt that they were planning all kinds of social activities and forgetting about God). My younger daughter had some problems with the Church (we suspect some kind of bad thing happened to her there--I'd rather not do details, please). But she went with us whenever we went to Church, and when I led the Children's Choir, she was helping me.

Even after we were kicked out of our EFree church, my daughters continued to seek to know and follow Jesus Christ. For several years, both of them avoided any kind of church (I don't blame them). My older daughter eventually converted to Catholicism, and my younger daughter goes to church with her husband when she can. She's still very distrustful of "church" after what happened to our family.

I would say that the one thing in our lives that wasn't "in balance" was our home. We didn't eat at home very often (we weren't home to eat there!). We didn't really have much time to clean, repair, etc., but neither my husband or I are very adept at homemaking. In retrospect, if I had to change something about how we raised our daughters, I would have moved into a condo rather than a house, to avoid feeling guilty about letting our paint peel and our yard turn to weeds. We still both hate doing this kind of work, and I actually hire a maid now (I started doing this after my foot surgery because I couldn't do the cleaning work, and now I'm spoiled.) We should probably move to a condo.

The other thing that was out-of-balance was the physical fitness level of myself and my husband. We tended to do a lot of sitting around at the rink or in the car, and it took its toll on our bodies. NOW we're working out, and my husband skates most days. But now we're 52, and it's harder to see that the workout is making any difference, and now it hurts more to work out. If I had to do something differently, I would have found a way to do exercises in the rink while my kids skated. Some rinks actually have an exercise room overlooking the rink (so you can watch your kids skate). And the Petit Center in Milwaukee has a track (for running and walking) around the skating rink--cool!

So what I'm saying here is "Don't jump to conclusions when you see someone living their passion. You might be wrong." (Even the guy who supposedly spends all his time watching sports on TV might be an excellent dad who spends all the rest of his time raising his children well. Maybe the wife and kids are happy to give Dad a treat on Sundays and leave him in peace to enjoy his television sports.)


#20

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