Love watching them play

I love baseball. Once February rolls around, it’s baseball season. Spring training, regular season, postseason–I love baseball. I collect baseball cards, and I’ve visited 18 major league cities, enjoying 22 ballparks. From crab cakes to Dodger Dogs and old Milwaukee County Stadium’s brats with Secret Stadium Sauce, I’ve enjoyed plenty of concessions. But when it’s all said and done, it’s about the game: baseball. Pure, tradition-ladened, stats-driven baseball.

I have fond memories of watching my three kids play baseball and softball. The weather may not have always been the best (spring in the Midwest), the state trooper west on 24 near Huntington may have missed my urgency in getting to the game on time, and the coaches may not have always recognized the extraordinary talent my kids had, but I enjoyed traveling to the games and watching. I loved watching my kids play.

It’s that message that I share with you, and it’s emphasized by Tim Elmore in his Growing Leaders blog. According to Bruce E. Brown and Rob Miller, the words that kids and student athletes want to hear from their supportive parents (and this includes NCAA student athletes) are “I love to see you play.”

No coaching from the stands. No nasty phone calls to the coach. No browbeating of the athlete when the third strike was called. No riding the refs on their one-sided calls. Those are all rather embarrassing for the vast majority of student athletes.

“I love to see you play.” Seems so much simpler, and so much more affirming!

Lutheran school parents have great passion for their kids and for their sports. Lutheran schools in our area provide seasonal competition in extracurricular athletics that includes soccer, volleyball, basketball, track, and wrestling. During this time of year, Holy Cross Lutheran School fields a cooperative youth-football team, and Concordia Lutheran High School is represented by teams in every IHSAA sport. Our elementary-school students enjoy a sports offering that’s not supplied in public schools. These sports are an added advantage of being a student at one of The Lutheran Schools in our area.

Sports are a wonderful way to help kids grow. Life lessons are learned on the court and on the field. Horizons are broadened, friendships are strengthened, and a healthy sense of competition is nurtured. Character and integrity are learned in hands-on experiences. Because of the relatively small sizes of our schools, more students are able to experience competitive sports and gain a lifetime of memories.

Enjoy the sports seasons this year as you sit at Zollner Stadium, the fields at Kreager Park, or whatever gym you may be visiting. Enjoy the gifts God has given in these student athletes. Thank God for those gifts. And for sure, love watching the kids play!