Friday, February 8, 2013


Just the word "kickball" is enough to strike fear into the depths of my heart. Ok, maybe not quite that dramatic, but I do still remember the sick feeling in the pit of my stomach in elementary school when the teacher would announce that our activity at recess that day would be the dreaded "K" word.

Kickball, for me, was nothing more than an hour long attempt on my part to do the very best I could to avoid ever having to touch a ball. I would linger at the back of the "kicking" line and let anyone and everyone get in front of me (even if they had already had a turn) until the ball finally turned over. I never had to worry much if our team wasn't kicking, because I was always the daydreamer staring into space over in left field, or else I was relegated to a comfy spot on the bench.

It wasn't that I was lazy, or didn't like to be outside--on the contrary! I actually went on to become, among other things, a professional in the forest, wildlife, and fisheries field and a dancer. So, clearly I enjoy the outdoors and an active lifestyle. I'm also fairly competitive, particularly from an academic standpoint, so it wasn't the competition that turned me off.
This is NOT me playing kickball. Courtesy of Wikimedia.

What drove me away from kickball (and every other team sport I ever tried to play) were the social factors involved in team play. I have never enjoyed being beholden to others, so the thought that I might let my team down by missing a kick, or not running fast enough, or not paying attention to the ball was close to unbearable. Add in the social angst of waiting to be "picked" for a team and it was sheer agony.

It's just a fact of life that some people are better at sports than others. I was not one of those people. I didn't like to run, I wore thick glasses that slid down my face when I got sweaty, my poor vision affected my aim and concentration, and I paid little attention when it came to the rules of the game. So, naturally, I was usually the last to be picked--which, for a kid, is pretty much the equivalent of the end of the world.

I was reminded of my less-than-stellar kickball experiences in elementary school in two different ways recently. First, my husband mentioned offhand that someone (maybe a coworker, I can't really remember) mentioned starting up a kickball team and that it sounded fun. No, thanks. I doubt I've improved on my kickball skills over the last couple decades.

The second was as I was working at a Compassion International event table, and I looked at some of the priority children available for sponsorship on our table. If a child is rated a "priority," it means that child has been waiting for a sponsor for a very long time. Some have been waiting for OVER A YEAR.
She's been waiting 252 days!

Can you imagine the pain of watching children come in the door and start sponsorships, while you are still waiting on a sponsor? Can you imagine the pain of being picked last, when you know that your family is waiting for word that you've been sponsored? No child should have to feel the cruel burden of such a long wait. It was bad enough to be picked last for kickball. That made me feel pretty worthless to my team...imagine if you were waiting to be picked for sponsorship and day after day passed with no word. Would you feel like something was wrong with you? Would you question your self worth, your value to the world and your family and to God?

If you are considering child sponsorship, please think about sponsoring a priority child (you can sort by days waiting). Give one of these children the joy of finally being "picked." Jesus said "So those who are last now will be first then, and those who are first will be last." (Matthew 20:16 NLT). That probably doesn't apply to kickball, but I feel pretty certain it will apply to these precious children of God.


  1. I am always picked last for sports! In fact just last week, there were four of us girl left to be picked. The team leaders decided to split us done the center rather than pick us out. That made me feel pretty worthless, indeed. It was volley ball and I am no good at that, so I understand.

    Anyway, it breaks my heart to see how long those precious children wait for sponsors. I know that it makes them feel pretty unimportant too. I pray that God will bless them with the best sponsors ever! :)

    1. I was picked last for everything, especially sports, so I can imagine how sad they must feel. It's heartbreaking!

  2. Interesting way of putting it! Can I ask, what even is "kickball"? It's not a sport I'm familiar with here in the UK, and I'm a massive sports fan! I love football (soccer).

    It's so sad seeing kids waiting a long time. I wish I could just sponsor them all!

    1. Rachel, thanks for commenting! Kickball is played like baseball, but players kick a large ball instead of hitting with a bat!