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Hello everyone! What are some of your favorite things to do on Sabbath? I like to watch nature shows, listen to music, and read! :)

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To Play or Not?

by Katrina Cassel

If you’re thinking of trying out for a sports team, are you sure you have enough time? Mull over these hard-hitting questions first.

Michael approached Justin. “Soccer try- outs are tomorrow. Are you playing this year?” Michael asked.
“I don’t know,” Justin answered.
“Why not?”
“We have so much homework this year, plus I have jobs at home, and youth group projects, too.”
“Yeah, I understand,” Michael sympathized. “If my grades drop, I have to quit the team.”
Do you wonder if team sports are for you? If you do, here are a few questions to ask yourself as you make the decision:
• Do I have enough time? Can you fit sports into your schedule? Find a sheet of paper and a pen. List the days of the week along the top of the paper. Under each day, list things you must do, such as a paper route, piano practice, youth group, and so on. How much time do you have left for sports practices and games?
• Will it interfere with Sabbath? Sports practices and games may interfere with Sabbath. If this may be the case, talk to your coach about it at tryouts. It would be disappointing to make the team and then have to quit.
• Will I have enough time for my family? When you’re busy, you tend to neglect your family. Then you wind up finding it easier to talk to your teammates than to your parents or your siblings. Sports may even seem more exciting than your family.
Sports are temporary; your family is for life. Make time to spend with your family, and work on your relationships with siblings. Can you play sports and still have enough time to do this?
• Can I keep up with my schoolwork? The older you get, the more important good grades are. Your homework load will grow heavier and harder throughout high school. At the same time, your coach will demand more from you, and the pressure to win will increase.
These pressures may make it too hard to balance homework and sports. If you’re struggling with homework during the off season, it’ll be harder during the sports season. Consider whether or not you can maintain your grades and stay on the team.
• Can I glorify God? Christians struggle for many reasons on sports teams. One problem is that if the rest of the team is talking trash in the locker room, it’s hard for you to stay pure. Trash talk can get in your head, and you might even find yourself joining in on the trash talk—or feeling isolated.
Also, athletes are often in the limelight and considered school heroes. That means what you do and what you say are important. For example, the way you act on the court reflects what’s in your heart. So if Christ is first in your heart, it’ll show on the court. You can be a positive role model for others.
But there can also be a downside. If you have a bad temper or are a sore loser, your actions can weaken your Christian testimony.
• Can I keep my priorities straight? Sometimes people let sports become too important to them—more important than  anything else. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 6:12 that we shouldn’t allow ourselves to be dominated by anything. When sports controls our thinking, actions, money, or free time, it’s too important. Sports should never be more important than a relationship with God.
Deciding whether or not to play on a team is an individual decision. As you consider the questions presented here, ask God to help you make the right decision.
Katrina Cassel, M.Ed., lives with her husband, five of their children, and an assortment of pets in the Florida panhandle.

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