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Upwards Basketball: Not So Christian

February 8, 2014

Around fourth grade, I was obsessed with basketball, and the power it gave me. The ability to play against the boys during recess with out them being sexist little men. It was all I loved. In turn my parents had enrolled me into our local Upwards basketball league. I loved it, but eventually my love for the game faded as writing came in sixth grade.
Now my little sister is on an Upwards basketball team for the very first time.
It was turning out okay until tonight.
Their last game, that finished just minutes ago, is rattling my bones and twisting my stomach into knots.
When you think of a Christian ball game, usually you think of a friendly game, full of grand sportsmanship. Trying to shine God’s light, right?
To be honest, I ignored the game for the first half by instead indulging in my wonderful new book and music from my iPod. It wasn’t until the second half that I took out my earbuds.
I found, to my surprise, that I heard and saw too much.
Let’s get this straight, my sister’s team is not exactly the most experienced team, and that’s totally cool in a “Christian” basketball game.
What met my eyes did not look like the Upwards I remember, but instead something more along the lines of a prison yard.
Words were spat, jaws were jabbed by elbows, tears were cried, and frustrations were held back by mere jerseys. Bad sportsmanship had walked out on the court and no one cared.
I have to commend my sister’s team for their exceptional sportsmanship, and integrity. They may not be the best team, but they have heart, and Christ has to be smiling at them now. They played no matter the bruises and words thrown like stones.

No matter the fact the other girls played dirty, what pinches at me more is this: THE REFS DIDN’T CARE, NOR DID THIER COACH.
These girls were taught to be bullies in physical and verbal attack. No one can say this is okay.

Standing in the bathroom after the game, my mother and I brought up this point:
If I wasn’t a Christian, and I came to this Upwards basketball game, I would think Christians are horrible people.
Why must we teach children to play so cruel, these people are teaching these kids to become sociopaths. If the are willing to beat up someone over a basketball game, imagine what they’ll do in the real world.

Sure maybe some of them will be come successful CEOs, but truly they will never be happy, because everyone along the way will remember what they did to reach that treasured seat. What is more important: winning a game or winning in god’s eyes?
I’m begging my dear readers to please pray for them and me.
I am disappointed and ashamed of these young girls.


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  1. so, you discovered this little sporting event has nothing to do with God, real character, or following Christ- good for you. I wish so many more would learn. Maybe then we could reach out to the broken, the discouraged, the oppressed, the lonely…and share love practically…instead of basketball, which will never change any heart for good.

    • Exactly. I have never left an Upwards basketball game with an uplifting message. It’s so sad what we are faced with.

      • Maybe it is sad to you now, but one day you’ll probably look back and wonder why it mattered. We have to much to do as disciples of Jesus…so much to do out there…

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