There are few things I enjoy more than teaching young players how to play the infield. Defense was always my favorite part of the game, the part which came most naturally to me. There’s nothing like fielding a slow-roller, a backhand in the hole, or turning a 6-4-3 double play. As a coach, I do my best to help my players love defense as much as I do, to see its value, and to create in them a desire to do it well. When they do, I am one happy coach. When they don’t, well, I become more than a little irritated.

Proverbs 10:1–“…A wise son makes his father glad, but a foolish son is a grief to his mother” (NASB).

What’s more important than teaching young players to play the infield is ensuring that those same guys understand the difference between wisdom and foolishness. There is so much more on the line than whether or not the love defense. If they love defense but they despise godly wisdom, they are destined for trouble. Their ability to make a diving play may help them advance on the baseball field, but their ability to make foolish decisions will one day overshadow all of their physical ability.

As a coach and a dad, I must routinely ask myself, “Do my players (especially my own sons) love Jesus, His Word, and His wisdom as much as they love certain elements of baseball?”

If I instill in them only a love for baseball, I have failed. Baseball is a great thing and I thank God I’ve gotten to enjoy it. But baseball is not the only thing. Far from it. What will bring me greater joy as a parent is seeing my children grow up in godly wisdom, avoiding sinful foolishness.

Here’s a prayer:

Heavenly Father, I admit there are many times when my focus is sports only. I want my own kids and the kids on my team to take what we do seriously, but I want much more than that for them, and I know you do too. Please help me to raise kids who love you, your word, and your wisdom far more than they love the sport I coach. Amen.