Some kids never have a chance. They don’t pass the “look” test. Too small. Too weak. Too undisciplined. Too inexperienced. We prefer the players who are big, strong, and have already reached some measure of their potential. Those are the kids who we like to coach, play with, be around.

Here’s the problem: Proverbs 13:23–“Abundant food is in the fallow ground of the poor, but it is swept away by injustice.”

The system of youth sports (whether rec league or travel ball), along with much of amateur sports as a whole, is broken. We’ve learned to care only about the kids who can produce now. In the process, we fail to see the “abundant food” that might be potentially growing in the “poor.” Our unjust system sweeps those kids to the side and tells them they don’t have a chance.

Here’s what I wonder. Who will see past the “look” test? Who will care about the kids that aren’t the biggest, strongest, fastest, and best right now? Who will care about those kids, even if they never become the biggest, strongest, fastest, and best later?

If you’re a coach, the answer is you. You have the great opportunity to build into those kids confidence and inspiration they might not get elsewhere. You might have to sacrifice a little of your own glory to make it happen (small kids don’t often win championships), but those kids will forever be in your debt.

If you’re a player, the answer is also you. What about those teammates of yours who aren’t quite as big, strong, or proficient? Are you ignoring them? Or, are you treating them as an equal? Trust me, you never know the impact either of those attitudes will have on someone years later.

Lord Jesus, remind me to bring justice, care, and love to those who would otherwise be ignored and swept to the side. I realize that you loved me and died for me, instead of sweeping me aside. Make me just like you.