Friday, April 21, 2017

Two Things That Bother Me Right Now

The good old days are back! At least, for this post they are.

I've tried to be more charitable in my life (which you probably know means I've tried to stop paying attention), and that has led to a sharp decline in "look at this idiot"-style posts. But there are two things that bother me right now.

The first thing: my wife's calling at church is in the Young Women organization. Several of the girls are hesitating committing to attend Girls Camp because they are waiting to see who their "camp mom" is. The argument is that a "fun" camp mom makes camp fun, and a "mean" camp mom ruins camp.

How is this a thing? Why is no one saying to these girls, "Maybe a 'mean' mom is mean because she just had to give up a week of her life to spend with a bunch of unappreciative brats"? Instead of telling the girls this is an opportunity for them to learn charity and selflessness and appreciation for the sacrifices of others, we're telling them, "Your self-centered attitude is appropriate; keep it up, ladies."

The second thing: church sports is still a thing here in Florida, and a really big thing, at that. And the problems are, well, all the problems that led to the demise of church sports 30 YEARS AGO. Our youth dislike the youth from other wards because of long-running sports rivalries. Given that stakes are supposed to be stakes of Zion, I don't see how any program that leads to ill-will within the stake is appropriate. ("It would be much better to have stake-level teams so the ill-will is directed outside the stake, right? Then we can bond over our mutual hatred of those jerks from the South stake!" Um, sort of.) Aside from the injuries (one of my students from the YSA ward blew out his knee and a girl from our ward injured her knee last week), I don't think we should be building ward camaraderie through stake animosity.

Here's my modest proposal that I bet would be widely opposed: when the schedule says "Ward A is playing Ward B," instead of having a team from Ward A play a team from Ward B, we have players from both wards show up at the same time and pick teams from a common pool. Thus some of your teammates are from the other ward and some of your opponents are from your ward. This makes it harder to hate the other team and easier to get to know people from outside your ward. (How well do you get to know the opposition in the current set-up?)

Here's why I think it would be resisted: without static teams, win/loss records are meaningless and you can't end up with a "champion" team at the end. So it seems church sports exist to serve the natural man's proclivity towards enmity. That doesn't seem like an appropriate use of our time and efforts.

Also, as I mentioned to my wife this morning while she was driving me to work, the callings associated with church sports take real time and effort from able-bodied, active members who could be doing something productive with that time. She said, "But all of our coaches have other callings, too." I said, "Assuming they only have a fixed amount of time in their lives that they can designate for their church callings, if we're wondering why they're half-assing it in the other calling, their sports calling can be the reason."

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