I have now seen a full year’s worth of small town school sports come and go. Over this time, I’ve made some observations about a few sports before. I can tell you I’ve gone to more sports this year than I ever have in ministry.
Small Town vs. Non-small Town
1. The basic sports are offered: football, basketball, baseball, softball, volleyball
2. Parents abound at these games
3. Students show up in full force to support their friends
4. Any sport played in the gym is going to cause you to perspire
5. Some middle school games seem to last forever
1. No track or cross country
2. More students who play multiple sports (some out of necessity, to have a complete team)
3. I know a lot more people at the games
4. It seems like more parents show up to watch their kids
5. Downtown businesses let people write “encouragement” notes on their windows
Neutral/Specific to this church:
1. I’m not sure if its the small town or what, but I seem to have a larger number of athletes in the youth ministry than I have before.
2. Just the other day, I was driving in a nearby town and saw some writings on their windows to show support for an upcoming homecoming football game. Only some of these notes didn’t seem all that encouraging or friendly (keep in mind they tried to have a tie-in between their business name and the saying)…
“Corner the bulldogs” (at a store called “The Corner”)
“Cruise over the bulldogs” (at a car dealership)
and my personal favorite…
“Break their ‘limbs'” (at the Willow Tree)
Going to a sports event in a small town changes my purpose. In the past, I’ve tried to go to part of the game (usually the end, because you don’t have to pay) and see the student and the parents if I can. Now, I have started going at the beginning and staying longer – trying to interact with the parents. Plus I get to see a lot more students who are not involved that I try to connect with. Then, you throw in that my family is there with me and I my goal is to spend time with them also.