Guest Column: Discussion continues on Sunday morning sports games

The issue of not scheduling youth sports on Sunday mornings in order to preserve some family time is getting some reaction.

Steve Marohn, of Elk River, had a good suggestion, after reading my first column on this topic: Don’t schedule any sports games and practices on Sunday until noon.

Not surprisingly, there are good arguments on both sides of the scheduling issue. Some parents, in letters to the editor, say they decided to keep Sundays and Wednesday nights for church. One parent, wrote, “We do not regret for one moment that we focused our children’s training and our family life on God rather than sports.”

There’s another view by a parent who lets her kids play Sundays and disputes that sports activities are the reason families miss church on Sunday. “If a person truly wants to make church a priority, than a sport won’t stop them,” she said.

In the final analysis, say some, this is a matter for parents to decide. One parent said he always found a church to attend services when their daughter played, either on the way to the tournament or at the tournament site.

The clergy have been strangely silent in this discussion. Apparently they’ve given up trying to change it.

Another letter writer urged parents to speak to their church leaders about setting aside Sunday morning and Wednesday nights for church activities.

She wrote, “I know because I have taught third grade Bible academy class for nine years and I have seen what this does to the students’ attendance and their spiritual training.”

An editor of one of our newspapers implored the Ministerial Association and associations of children’s and family ministry directors to reach out to athletic organizations that make marks on our calendars and to-do lists.

Marohn went so far as to suggest community members write their school board and city council to have all athletic facilities and parks closed until noon on Sundays. This plea fell on deaf ears. Marohn hasn’t heard of anyone who is writing their council and board members asking for such a move.

This is understandable because then it becomes a church-and-state issue and public officials don’t want to get involved.

Marohn raised a valid point: “Why should we as parents and players have to make a choice as to going to church on Sunday morning or playing a sport, especially in fear that the player might be suspended because of it. Really!” He said many parents want a change. The question is how.

A parent notes there are lots of things that conflict with Sundays and going to church, not just sports. Should we close all businesses on Sunday, all festivals, fairs, parks and malls?

Professional, college and Minnesota State High School League sports teams don’t play games on Sunday mornings. Schedulers of Little League tournaments should follow their example.

Don Heinzman is a columnist for ECM Publishers and a member of the ECM Editorial Board.