Torch, Summer 1980

cflTttlfTICS: WttftT <.VflLUf? W hat should be the place of athletics in the !ife of the Christian? Today, it is obvious to even the casual observer that sports or sporting events occupy a major role in the life of the average American. Many conclude that the time and money spent on athletics at both the professional and amateur levels are neither normal, nor healthy, nor pleasing to God. Parental pressures related to success in athletics have been known to cause psychological and emotional problems affecting a child for life. Unfortunately, our teens have been taught unwittingly that to be successful in life one must have beauty, brains, brawn, and/or a big bank account. In light of "self-image" being a major problem facing American teenagers, we Christians do a disservice to our children and we dishonor God by communicating such an erroneous, outrageous, and totally unbiblical value structure to them. On the other hand, there are profitable aspects of athletics that God can use in the lives of our children: - athletics provide the activity needed to produce a lean, trim, and healthy body, recognized as the attributes of a person in good condition. Si".1<:e our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit, we have a responsibility not only to abstain from alcohol and tobacco, and to follow a proper diet, but also to keep ourselves fit. - athletics provide an excellent opportunity for a child to learn self– discipline early in life. Every aspect of life in America reinforces the great need for discipline in our society. One rarely learns self-discipline after 25 years of age. - athletics teaches the important principle of functioning as a member of a team Life is a team effort-in the home, on the job, and at church. The person who has learned this in athletics is often better equipped to carry out the team approach in other relationships. Perhaps the most important lesson to be gleaned from participation in sports is that life is not all victories. There are defeats, disappointments, discouragements, and trials. Many of us have dropped a fly ball that lost a game or have taken that final game-winning shot at the basket only to have the ball roll around the rim and drop out. Even though our world crashed around us at that moment, we remembered that the next morning the sun was still shining, and soon things were once again in focus. Yes, athletics can be used to glorify God, to build character, and to reach the unsaved for Jesus Christ. These are our objectives within the Cedarville College family. May the same be true in yours. 3