I didn’t play high school sports, largely because I had church sports. Why would I go to practice for three hours a day, running lines/miles killing myself off to maybe get a chance to play a couple minutes in a game a few days a year all in the knowledge that there’s no chance that I’ll be able to take it to the next level or even think about becoming a professional athlete? In church sports our practices consisted of scrimmages, I played the majority of time in the majority of our games, and I was considered one of the better athletes. Plus I had my everyday afternoons to tool around with friends and avoid homework. Easy choice.
I think church sports was one of the best programs the Church could have for teenagers like me (“like me” meaning “a teenager interested in sports”). Hanging out with friends in a non-churchy atmosphere, impressing the chicks with our skillz, playing sports is always fun, and it was a great missionary tool. If only we had a softball field and indoor basketball court at all of our church buildings here in Brooklyn…THEN we’d get some serious baptisms!
The following are a few random memories and thoughts:
- When I was a high school junior our ward had three basketball teams (roughly divided between high school seniors (23rd A), juniors (my team, 23rd B) and everyone else (23rd C)). Both the A and B teams were quite good, as we met in the lead-up game to the stake championship. There’s nothing like playing against some of you closest friends in such an important game. We (the B team) sealed the win when Todd S. nailed two three pointers, propelling us to the championship game.
- In that same game two of my friends on the opposing team pulled a stunt not to be replicated (due to its illegality). During play, one of them knelt in the middle of the key hunching over and the other ran in with the ball and stepped on his back, leaping into the air to dunk it. I don’t even remember if it went in but the audacity of such a move was genius.
- The championship game was a hard-fought match against 4th Ward. We won, of course, but the victory against 23rd A was much sweeter.
- Lamont W. was the best defender I’ve ever played against. He stunk when he had the ball, but boy could he take it away from you.
- 2nd base, shortstop, 3rd base and pitcher were my positions. And I loved that I was considered a power hitter.
- My senior year, first practice of the season, without even warming up I went to fill the hole at right field. First pitch of the practice the dude hits it in my direction. As I’m running toward the ball I realize I’ll need to dive to catch it. The timing of my dive was a hair off, the ball ricochets off the butt of my glove into my eye and all the sudden I’m bleeding like crazy all over the ground. I drove myself to the hospital (holding a towel over one eye) and got 7 stitches in my eyebrow. The remaining scar is so manly that I give it full credit for my wife falling in love with me.
- Sunflower seeds rule. Especially the BBQ and nacho flavors.
- I seem to remember getting to the championship game but I’m pretty sure be blew it in the final inning. It was the same feeling I get when I play Halo online, that someone is surely cheating because there is no reason that they should have won. Frustrating.
- Summer weekday evenings at the stake center ballparks are what it’s all about. Nearer my God to Thee indeed. Even though there is a temple over one of them now, I still consider it sacred ground :)
Anyone else have memories of church sports?