Wednesday, January 21, 2004

Basketball, Adultery, Education, Religion

I recently attended a sporting event, a high school basketball game, JV level.  The event was held at a local parochial school and the away team hailed from one of the local secular schools.  Christians versus seculars you could say, though faith had nothing to do with what went on on the court, unless you want to count the before game devotions held by the home team.

Though I’m not a rabid fan of the game, I attend these games religiously.  My twin sons play for the parochial school and make their dad proud.  I’m not afraid to be heard from the stands and unhesitantly offer my sons, in fact the whole team, coaching from my usual spot mid-court.  My sons tell me they can hear me fine.  Fortunately, for me, they take my coaching seriously as I ran my share of fast breaks in the day.  Having a couple trophies and MVP awards for them to marvel at doesn’t hurt either.

I’m happy to report that the parochial school is not as ultra-conservative as some individuals fear.  Sure the Bible is thumped in the curriculum offered, but it’s not as if the school is teaching algebra, caculus or Spanish from the holy book.  In fact, during warmups, rock and roll of the secular variety was blaring from the bar bones sound system.  Rock and roll during warmups sounds so much better from the sound systems at the public schools.  Those public educators spare no expense when building new schools to replace perfectly sound old schools.

I admit that the first time I heard rock and roll blaring from a parochial schools speakers I was somewhat taken aback.  My experience with these private institutions did not include such deviltry.  Of course that’s thirty or so years ago, and I’ll have to admit I am happy that the parochial schools haven’t gone the way of the madrassa.  The worst I think that can be said for the parochial schools, beyond some of the dogmas propounded, is they have fallen prey to a few of the public school foibles.  ADD is almost as easily swallowed as in the public schools and they also have those infernal hot lunch programs.

But, I’m getting off track.  Sitting in the stands is always an experience for me.  I sometimes feel I am surrounded by quidnuncs, a rather common byproduct in religions of all ilks, but I was fortunate at this particular event to sit next to or amongest some individuals I know very casually.  As we conversed at half-time, the subject of siblings and such was arrived at and the topic bounced to a certain behavior that was mightily frowned upon.  Adultery.

The individual, who was the catalyst for this topic, was roundly condemned and damned for the heinous act.  As I listened to this, I wondered if the same was in store for myself.  I wondered what the individual, to whom I was listening relate this condemnation of another individual, for adultery, would say, to me, if he knew that I committed adultery, got divorced and married the woman I committed adultery with.  Would the individual still so vehemently condemn the individual originally being damned?  Would the individual condemn me and think me the devil himself incarnate because of my ingratiating manner as we sat cheering on the team and me without my scarlet A?  Would the individual still want to sit alongside of me?

This dilemma never presented itself though because I made no comments during the entire adultery spiel.  I may have uttered an occasional “oh,” or, “too bad,” or nodded my head in acknowledgment that I was being spoken to, but I offered no words of encouragement or “here, here” to the judgment being levied.  I mostly felt sad for the individual doing the damning.  I’ve traveled that black road of ignorance myself in the past and though I reach my hand out to individuals still on that road, they must pay their own toll.

Overall it was an excellent evening.  An exciting basketball game, my boys, both starters, played admirably, the team went to 8-0 and I had a thought provoking conversation.  Life doesn’t get much better.

Posted by John Venlet on 01/21 at 07:53 PM
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