I had a topic all ready to go for today but there’s been a change of plans. Something has happened that hit me hard and there’s no way I can write about anything else.
Late last week I attended the funeral for the ten year old son of a friend of mine. It was a gut-wrenching experience, and I can hardly imagine the agony this family is going through. During the service we cried and mourned. We also celebrated. As the pastor put it, we celebrated a “life well-lived”. We celebrated the fact that this young man has entered into eternity with Jesus his Savior. And we also celebrated the beautiful power of sports to unite people.
So many of the pictures we saw were of boys playing baseball, soccer or basketball. So many children came to their friend’s funeral service proudly wearing their team jerseys. At the very end of the service, Caleb’s teammates were called to the front of the room, put their hands together and gave him a final cheer.
We talk often about the power of sports to bring people together, and how there is likely no activity in our country that unites a larger or more diverse group of people than sports does. Last Friday, everyone in that room got to see it. Sports helped provide that family with a group of friends who are rallying around them, along with their extended family and church network. Sports provided joyful images and memories to people in distress. Finally, sports provided a needed support structure for a group of children who lost a friend.
As parents and coaches, we steward a great responsibility. We are entrusted with ensuring that sports remain a source of goodness in the lives of our kids. At the end of the day, there’s really not much else that matters.