A heavy gray sky threatened rain and a damp chill filled the air as I joined the families along the edge of the bumpy and sloping soccer field adjacent to the Truthville Baptist Church. The cloying Christian atmosphere enveloped me in it’s similarly clammy embrace. My sons play for a Christian homeschool soccer team because the coach is a dedicated and gifted coach, and there is not another choice for homeschooled athletes in the Fall who are banned from school sports in spite of the school taxes that their parents pay.
My identity as an impostor here on the edge of the field felt sadly familiar. I went back mentally to the years of being polite during family visits to my “born again” aunt and uncle. I would spend a large portion of the time playing with my cousins anxious about inadvertently exclaiming “God!” in dismay over suddenly getting tagged during a game on the slope behind their house. I also agonized about being careful not to bring up an unacceptable subject like “Halloween” , a creative holiday that I always loved.
My irreverent soccer-oriented boys joke around about how to behave during prayers. They discussed in the car today the nature of the before-game-prayer. One of the boys asked somewhat seriously, “If both teams pray for God to assist them, which side is he supposed to choose?” This is, after all the question.