Friday, May 11, 2012
Boys And Tackle Football
The trouble is we don't want to teach our boys to always be nice. God has given boys the impulse to be warriors. They want to compete hard. They need to go beyond nice, polite competition. They need to be aggressive. They even need danger. The important thing is to be able to do all that and stay in control. They need to avoid letting their anger get away and doing something stupid. They need to play hard and play smart at the same time. They can't be afraid to get hurt and can't be afraid to hurt someone else. They need to play within the rules but if the rules allow you to hit someone hard then you hit them hard. Christian men are not supposed to be soft.
When they get into business or get into politics or whatever they do in life they need to be moral but they can't be afraid. If they have a chance to destroy an opponent they need to be able to do that. It does not typically involve violence but it is a type of aggression. You don't want to raise wimps. Christians need to walk into a danger zone and not only overcome their fears but be able to make the other guy afraid of them. You don't break the rules but you play the game hard and you don't apologize for it.
There are a ton of important life skills learned in a team sports. The importance of hard work. How to perform when you are exhausted or in pain. How to accept leadership. How to deal with more talented teammates and with less talented teammates. How to help each other stay focused and hold each other accountable. How to work with guys you don't like. How to perform when everyone is watching. How to work hard when nobody is watching. So many skills that translate directly into any area of life. But they are learned in a very physical way. There are lectures but they are constantly backed up by the undeniable physical reality of getting hit.
Fr Barron talks about boys becoming men. Rites of passage are needed. Boys need men other than their fathers to push them. To signal to them that they are men and they can take on the world. This is one place where that happens. You go after something that other people want very badly and you try and take it from them. The winners will be overjoyed. The losers will be bitterly disappointed. Bring it on.
Everything that is worth anything in life needs to be fought for in that way. To many Christians think their job is to just be nice and God will make everything just work out. There is a reason why one of the major Christian virtues is courage. How do we instill that virtue in our boys? I think contact sports help a lot.