Football is king in Texas. Our pastoral stint in the Lone Star state awakened me to the hysteria that is 6A high school football. With its own Jumbotron and state-of-the-art turf field, the local high school had facilities fit for most small college programs. I watched a future Heisman trophy winner triple-option his way to championships, and former NFL players coach on the sidelines.
The school also introduced each new season with a preview of the next four months’ of Friday nights. They showcased all the school bands. The various cheerleading/dance squads wowed the crowd with their award-winning routines. At least I think they did. I could hardly watch without becoming adulterous but the crowd seemed impressed.
I did not have to see much in order to be outright appalled, disgusted and burdened. It was near impossible to miss dozens of junior and senior high school adolescent girls parading around in scantily clad, highly suggestive uniforms. What little I did catch of their routines made me wonder if MTV was auditioning for an Eminem video. Parents applauded, boys ogled and drueled, and the girls soaked it all in like celebrities.
The football may be of a different caliber in Tennessee, but the exploitation of young girls in the name of team spirit is all too familiar.
Let’s be honest, the halftime espirit de corps masquerades as exotic dancing. We tolerate indecency because it will look great on college applications. The obnoxious music to which they dance is X-rated filth. It cannot be much different that what an aroused sex addict would see/hear in a so-called “gentlemen’s”club (ironically, there’s nothing gentlemanly about them). The only thing missing is the pole. But on a football field it’s wholesome and good for the team.
Our young men and women run rampant sexually largely because we’ve removed the fences, the boundaries our children want but can’t provide themselves. We applaud sexually-suggestive material, objectify our daughters and encourage shamelessness. And then we wonder why our daughters get pregnant, obsess over vanity and our sons treat women like butcher store meat.
What else can we expect when we put them on display every Friday night? What else should they think? True love may wait, but can the parents? In the ironic name of modernity we’re raising cat-calling neanderthals and sex objects. Sadly, the girls do not even know we exploited them until they realize they cannot keep a guy’s attention without dressing or acting the part. These girls do not even know they’re being used until they are used up.
Is there any reasonable justification for Christian parents allowing their daughters to participate on school “dance” teams? That is a broad generalization, to be sure. There are undoubtedly exceptions that maintain tasteful team spirit. But I suspect what we see most Friday nights are more the rule than the exception. In what universe does bare skin, provocative poses and glorified pole-dancing foster education, discipline, excellence, chivalry, chastity or femininity? I assure you no one is thinking about football at the time.
Would any father who loves his daughter want her so easily debased? Would any father give a crowd of testosterone-juiced men free reign to fantasize about his daughter? Would any father indifferently want to see his daughter tantalizing other men in any context? Even the very fathers who sit next to them in the bleachers?
Fathers, let’s be honest with ourselves, our wives and daughter(s). You know full well what those flat-billed, skinny jeans-wearing punks are thinking and fantasizing when your daughter takes the field. You know what they’re saying about her behind her back with their chuckles, pimple-faced grunts, and gutter slang. You know they are naturally bent towards vulgarity and even moreso when there’s nothing left to the imagination. You know because you and I were those punks at one time.
Most fathers I know would just as soon get arrested as to knowingly allow that little twit another ogle at his princess. Fathers should be careful then of putting their daughters in the compromising position of being so humiliatingly entertaining.
Consider the Scriptures.
“I want you to be wise in what is good and innocent in what is evil” (Rom 16.19b).
“Brethren, do not be children in your thinking; yet in evil be infants, but in your thinking be mature” (1 Cor 14.20).
Should Christian parents encourage and invest in what lends itself to obvious evil? Should Christian parents applaud what opposes godly virtue, gospel fruit and biblical modesty? Do we grossly underestimate the extent of our sin that we blindly entrust to adolescent/pubescent audiences with what requires the most mature of adult discernment? It’s not cute and innocent any more than a Kermit the Frog bong is cute and innocent.
The church can no longer play fast-and-loose with the next generation as though God condemns on Sunday morning what he winks at Friday night. There is no amount of baptizing worldliness we can do to justify our neglect and indifference. We praise girls when they’ve pranced around like showgirls. We chuckle when boys give the new girl the once-over. All the while we’re selling them out for another W on the schedule. Yet, when it comes to gospel instruction and biblical virtue we have little to say and little to commend. God help us from compromising the Kingdom another Friday night. Let’s encourage, expect and celebrate far more the Holy Spirit than team spirit.