I Miss College Freshman Teams

I miss college freshman teams.

Let me explain to the young.  In the old days, every college had a freshman baseball, basketball, and football team.  You were not eligible to play varsity until you had completed your freshman year.  The idea was an athlete needed time to adjust to college life, be tutored in the basics of his sport, and learn the system of the school he was attending.  After what was essentially an apprentice year, the student would have matured, learned, and would be ready.

In 1972, the rules were changed.  Colleges were under pressure to cut expenses.  The cost of maintaining two separate teams was an obvious place to start.  Freshman were declared eligible and freshman college teams went the way of steam powered cars.

I know this is nostalgia, but I miss college freshman teams.  I miss students having a chance to learn before we put pressure on them.

Then again, I know we’re guilty of the same thing in my world.  A person comes to faith in Jesus.  Instead of letting them play freshman ball, we throw them right into some spiritually challenging environment – like a room of two-year olds.

The first steps of a new believer are important.  They need time to learn a new way of thinking, adjust to a new environment, and be discipled.  Most churches I know – including the one I pastor – believe in the sink or swim method.

I know freshman ball will never come back.  But maybe followers of Jesus can learn not to throw people in the deep end too fast.

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