This past weekend, I experienced the longest break in all my years of being at my kids’ sporting events. We had two games, one at 8:00 a.m. and one at 6:00 p.m., which led to many long hours at the arena waiting for our final game. As there was little to do with our time, I was able to watch and see things from a different perspective. I wasn’t coaching, and my child wasn’t playing, but I was learning as I watched. As I sat in the stands, I observed the incredible amount of pressure that some parents place upon themselves while watching their children play sports. I was reminded of a scripture that always comes to mind when watching children play sports:
“Remember your Creator in the days of your youth, before the days of adversity come and the years approach when you say, “I find no delight in them.” Ecclesiastes 12:1
As I watched these young athletes do something that they thoroughly enjoyed, I was able to see the disconnect between the joy that the players experienced on the field and the anxiety felt by some of the parents. I began to think that the parents were the only cause of this undue pressure.
As the U.S. Tennis Open takes the spotlight in our country over the next couple weeks, there is a stat that will be counted closely called ‘unforced errors.’ It’s amazing how these professionals can routinely execute the skills they have perfected over the years without error when no else is around but can begin to have unforced errors under the pressure of the moment.
As I sat back and learned in that arena, God reminded me to not put any additional pressure on myself as a parent, or even on my players when I coach, but to allow them to enjoy these special years of their lives.
We are told in Ecclesiastes 3:1 that there is a time and a season for everything. As the years of my kids’ sports rapidly move ahead, I hope that they won’t have any unforced errors because of pressure that I place on them as a parent. One of the many things that I respect the most about my parents is how they have brilliantly used sports to strengthen their relationships with both their grandchildren and me. I’m certain that one of the reasons why they’ve had so few unforced errors in the arena of sports is because they have never put too much pressure on themselves or those that they love.
Since 1954, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes has been challenging coaches and athletes on the professional, college, high school, junior high and youth levels to use the powerful medium of athletics to impact the world for Jesus Christ. FCA focuses on serving local communities by equipping, empowering and encouraging people to make a difference for Christ – to see the world impacted for Jesus Christ through the influence of coaches and athletes.
More information can be found at FCA.org.