After a recent high school basketball game, some of the parents were patiently waiting in the gym either to congratulate or console their sons after an intensely contested, high-speed, up-and-down affair.
The participants started trickling out of the locker rooms and walked across the gym floor to greet their family members. Several of the contestants had sweaty hair and clothes, and it seemed obvious to me they hadn’t showered.
This wasn’t the first time I’d seen contestants fail to shower, so I began to wonder a little bit about athletes’ overall hygiene and whether kids take showers at schools anymore.
As these particular unshowered athletes continued out the gym door, we noticed they headed directly to the weight room and it became obvious they were going to continue their evening’s “exercise program” by pumping some iron.
I don’t care how old or young you are, that’s a huge commitment for one night.
I was informed these two young men have higher ambitions and were continuing preparation for the next level — collegiate sports.
I applaud anyone with big dreams, and it’s always fun reading details of those that do “make it”.
However, in my opinion, none of this pursuit is worth it if we don’t keep time in our lives for what’s most important — our spirituality and our family.
Otherwise, busyness, by being involved in too many things, can distract our well-intentioned lives.
Life has many temptations to take us off our proper path — workaholism, overspending to keep up with our neighbors and then borrowing through the nose to pay it off, electronics to the nth degree, gossip, not being able to say “no” to many good causes, overstimulation of our minds, year-round weekend sports for kids, etc.
These distractions might seem like a subtle part of everyday life, but they are means of preventing spiritual development and family time.
Who suffers most when these things happen? Our kids.
I love athletics as much as the next person, and I always have, but when I need to sit in front of the television to watch a sporting event instead of sitting down for dinner with my family and have a conversation, I’m succumbing to the temptations.
Is there a problem with occasionally plopping in front of the television to be part of the moment? Of course not.
Unfortunately, most of these distractions are allowed into our lives way too often and they become the norm rather than the exception.
That’s when families suffer the most. Be aware, every time our children are around us, we are teaching them something.
One of the greatest lessons I learned from my father was an experience where he didn’t even speak one word to me. I was simply observing him interact with others.
In no way do I want to dampen anyone’s enthusiasm for pursuing big dreams.
However, I want that pursuit to be an enjoyable journey for everyone involved, not something that just takes up all of our time.
Bill Gosse writes a youth sportsmanship column for USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.