hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA

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May 16, 2013

What will it be -- sports or church?

(Continued)

My son said nothing about letting his teammates down that day or competing for a championship. As it turned out, the kid who replaced him in the lineup had an outstanding game and personally telephoned him that night to thank him — for staying away.

As a Sunday School teacher for 30 years, I have lived through one crisis after another. My biggest nemesis has not been apathy, but scheduling conflicts with sports and other elements.

As I recall, a high school student was forced to choose between band practice on Sunday mornings or religious education at church. The director was an intolerant numskull who was more a drill sergeant than someone teaching music to teenagers. Either report to practice or you’re off the team.

Through a public outcry and enough parents objecting to his obnoxious ways, the director was forced to change the time to accommodate his members. And everybody lived happily ever after.

Writer and photographer Tom Vartabedian is retired from The Haverhill Gazette. He contributes this regular column.

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