In March of last year I wrote a post entitled “Church Or YBOA Basketball?” In that post I explained how my son Ryan’s participation in Youth Basketball of America was causing him to miss some of our Sunday morning church services. I concluded the piece by saying that I had made the decision that Ryan would no longer miss any church services over scheduling conflicts with his YBOA team.
Well, so far this year Ryan’s team has played in two tournaments. In the first one his team played three games on Saturday and one at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday. Since our church services begin at 10:30 a.m. and end at roughly 12:00 p.m., Ryan was able to attend church and still be at his game on time. So far, so good.
But things didn’t work out so conveniently this past weekend. Ryan’s team played two games on Saturday and was scheduled again for 12:00 p.m. Sunday. Now I had to put my money where my blog was. It wasn’t an easy decision, and I did reexamine the whole issue before making it, but when the dust settled I stuck to my guns. Ryan missed the game, but we had an excellent church service.
On Thursday of last week I wanted to talk to Jeff, Ryan’s coach, after practice. My plan was to hand him a printout of the blog post, ask him to read it, and then call me. But Jeff was too busy talking to other folks for me to have such a moment with him. So, I just left the printout in the seat of his truck with a little note asking him to read it. I called him later that night but couldn’t get in touch with him. He got my message, though, and called me the next day.
Jeff and I had a good ten-minute talk in which I explained that my decision to sit Ryan out had nothing to do with him as a coach. I said, “This is between me, Ryan, and the Lord.” Jeff understood completely and we even talked about ways in which the situation could be prevented from happening again. He said he is going to think about asking the tournament directors to let our team just play three or four games per Saturday and not come back on Sunday. That plan has my vote, but we’ll see what comes of it.
For the record, our team lost that Sunday game. That’s the bad news. The good news (at least for me) is that we lost by a wide enough margin so that no one could say, “If Ryan had been there, we would have won.” Since he is a starter, I figure that his presence could have helped some. But when you get beat by 23 points, I’m not sure Kobe Bryant could save you.
There was one thing that surprised me about my decision not to let Ryan play. I had two different people make a point of saying that they didn’t expect Ryan to play because they had read the blog post and remembered it. When I found that out, I was glad that I hadn’t waffled on my decision. That would have caused me to lose some credibility.
In the end, I don’t know how the rest of our season is going to play out. All I know is that I’m going to do my best to continue to honor the commitment I felt the Lord led me to make last March. Hopefully we either won’t be scheduled for any more Sunday games or they will tip off late enough for us to get Ryan there after church.
Again, the idea of playing all Saturday games is very appealing to me. Of course, since Sunday is always the day the tournament champions are crowned, we wouldn’t be able to actually win a tournament. To me, though, that is a small price to pay to give nine boys and their parents the opportunity to build their Sunday around church instead of YBOA basketball.