This is Pastor Tim’s article that appeared in the Evening Leader on Monday, August 24, 2020
I am a former high school football player. While teenagers in my church probably think I played football back before helmets had face masks, it wasn’t actually that long ago. I wasn’t all that good, I played for a small high school and didn’t get a single contact or attempt to recruit me to play in college. I am glad about that because at 45 years old, I still have both of my original knees which do not hurt and have no surgical scars on them.
I am not a sports fan by any definition of the word. The only time I watch a game is if I am somewhere that the game is on. Other than that, I occasionally check a box score and that’s about it. I know that this is not a very popular opinion in St Marys. In my two years here, I have observed that football is kind of a thing here. The Roughriders have a fantastic fan base and I love to see the support of the kids. I make it to most of the home games because I am a supporter of the community and I know that on Friday nights in the fall, the community is at the game.
That is why I was so happy to hear that the latest word from Columbus is that high school fall sports are allowed to happen this year. That will not only be football but volleyball, cross country, soccer, tennis, and golf. I know there are a ton of restrictions on who can attend the game to the point that I have no idea how on earth they are going to enforce them. This is a quote from DeWine’s press conference: “We will not have spectators other than family members or people very close to that child and we will of course, leave it up to the school to do that.” May God have mercy on those at Memorial High School who get to determine what this sentence means.
But the return of sports is the first sign of normalcy in our worlds since Leap Year Day. In a world where literally everything is upside down, just the fact that the kids get to play means we can just forget the Coronavirus, politics, and the economy and just be a community again. I know that we need to take precautions, but at the same time, we also need a sense of belonging and community we simply don’t have right now. I was glad that DeWine took these needs into consideration.
I know that there are plenty of reasons why people can’t go out right now. To all of you who contacted me after last week’s article to explain why you believe it isn’t safe to go out, I want you to know I stand with you. If you have a fear of going to public gatherings like going to church or sporting events, then you shouldn’t go. There are demographics in our community who are at risk because of the Coronavirus and should not be in large indoor gatherings. I completely agree with that. That is why here at Wayne Street, we have done so much work to move online with as much as we possibly can.
But we also have to take into account that our Creator did not create us to live in isolation and it is against our nature to quarantine, even though it is for our own good. That is why if we can find anyway to safely get together, we have to take advantage of it. Every precaution should be taken and there are some for whom the risk will out weigh the reward, but that isn’t everyone. For those who don’t feel safe coming out, please don’t. This isn’t any kind of disrespect meant for you. I just feel that the conversation about what safe gathering looks like needs to continue because we live in a world that can’t keep our pharmacies stocked with anti-depression medications. This is a result of isolation and a loss of a sense of belonging.
There is a lot of hurt and a lot of fear going on right now and that is because there is a lot of confusion. There is so much we don’t know about what is happening right now about how the Coronavirus is going to go. This whole situation has been miserable for nearly 6 months. What I encourage all of you to do is to make sure that with all of the negative you take in whether it be from the Coronavirus, election season, or some other reason to lose hope in humanity, take a breath and remember that there is more happening in our world than viruses and elections. Tunnel vision isn’t healthy and some local sports may just be what we all need.