To the point week of 07-03-08

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NOW BEFORE YOU START THINKING that this is a “religious column”, I want to assure you that it isn’t – but it may sound like one.

It’s actually a family column.

And I don’t apologize for that.

The Indiana High School Athletic Association is considering eliminating its long standing rule that prohibits IHSAA events on Sundays.

IHSAA Commissioner Blake Ress recently commented on the possibility because of the heavy rains that fell while the state softball tournament was trying to be played.

Citing how teams from different parts of the state had to travel back and forth, he said that eliminating the Sunday rule was something that might be looked at.

He was quoted in “The Indianapolis Star” as saying that high school athletes already play in tournaments and AAU events on Sundays, so allowing IHSAA games on Sundays wouldn’t be that problematic.

The horse isn’t out of the corral – but someone’s left the gate open.

Sports controls nearly every facet of our lives today. There are no longer seasons for particular sports, because if you want your child to get better, you have to take them to all sorts of camps and let them play on all sorts of teams and make it a year-round “job”.

After all, every weekend you sit home, someone else’s child is playing in a tournament or on a traveling team.

It’s simply out of control.

Team seasons get longer and longer as the age of the players gets younger and younger. No longer do children travel around the area at the end of their regular season as an “All Star” team, but instead the traveling teams have become the norm, as adults with repressed childhood sports goals push children further and further.

And this all happens as players are younger and younger.

What’s next? Pregnant women playing while future athletes are still in the womb?

Now the IHSAA is considering eliminating the rule that forbids Sunday games. The IHSAA may say that it will only be in certain situations and as a last resort – but Indiana riverboats were supposed to cruise and close, too.

Once the rule is adjusted, it will soon be eliminated; and parents and students will now be traveling seven days a week. It won’t just be games, because practices will be affected; tournaments will be played; the line will no just be blurred – it will be rubbed out completely.

Now I know that I am committing “athletic heresy” by saying this – but can’t we leave just one day of the week so that families can have some time and kids can just be kids?

In a society where we eat more meals in our cars than we do at our dining room tables, shouldn’t we allow ourselves just one day when we can relax and be a family?

You may argue that going to sporting events is “family time”, but with your child in a dugout and you sitting on aluminum bleachers reaching scorching temperatures in the summer sun – I don’t know if you can count that.

Maybe we should all take a step back and evaluate the “big picture” in what we are either helping our kids do; or are pushing our kids to do.

Isn’t it unusual to see television commercials where professional athletes are encouraging children to go outside and play “an hour a day”?

Just 60 minutes?

And organized team activities don’t count.

As adults, we all have memories of our childhood, and some of those involve playing on a particular team or winning a particular tournament.

But most of them involve times when we rode our bikes to a spot with friends; or found that pond to swim in; or caught that fish while on the boat with dad; or took that walk with mom.

Most of our fondest childhood memories involve things that weren’t organized – they were just moments that made us a family.

Let’s stop and make sure that we are helping our children become well-rounded human beings. Let’s help them explore all options, athletic and otherwise; but let’s also make sure that we don’t allow them to see their value as a human being based on their batting average or three-point percentage.

Athletics is a wonderful thing; but it’s only one part of life.

If the IHSAA allows games and practices and other activities on Sundays, it is doing major harm to the family unit.

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Tomorrow (Friday) is the Fourth of July. It’s a time when we stop and celebrate the anniversary of our nation’s independence.

I guess this continues my “family theme” for this column; but it’s also a great day to spend with your kids and other family members.

As we celebrate our independence, we also celebrate our freedoms, and tomorrow is a great day to get out and spend time with family and friends and enjoy the peak of the summer season.

Since it’s a three-day weekend, why not make plans to enjoy things in Switzerland County that you may otherwise not have the time to enjoy?

The town of Patriot’s annual parade and picnic kicks off at noon on Main Street, and even if you’re not a Patriot resident, it’s a wonderful parade, and it’s also a day filled with renewing old acquaintances and making new ones.

Vevay Main Street’s “First Friday” event has a Red, White, and Blue theme later in the day; so take some time and come downtown and enjoy the music and the food and the shopping.

Finish off your Independence Day by going down to Markland and watching the fireworks display that Belterra sponsors each year, which are some of the most spectacular fireworks in the area.

Whatever you do, make sure that you stop and take a moment to be thankful for living in a country that allows each of us the freedoms that we enjoy – and sometimes take for granted.