Baseball’s Sammy Sosa speaks to homeschoolers

Ten years ago today, Sammy Sosa became the first player in Major League Baseball (MLB) history to hit 60 home runs in two seasons. Sosa, now retired, says he is “calmly waiting” to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. He may have a long wait.

Why would the man who accomplished something no one else in baseball history ever accomplished not be assured of being inducted into the hall of fame on the first ballot? Because there is now a cloud over his achievement- drugs.

Sosa sat alongside Rafael Palmeiro, Jose Canseco and Mark McGwire at a 2005 hearing before Congress and testified, “To be clear, I have never taken illegal performance-enhancing drugs. I have never injected myself or had anyone inject me with anything.”

Five months later Palmeiro was suspended for 10 games after testing positive for steroid use. McGwire refused to answer questions about whether or not he had used drugs which was generally considered a tacit admission of guilt. Canseco admitted to using steroids in his book Juiced published in 2005 and also implicated Mark McGwire.

And according to a June 16, 2009 article in the New York Times, it turns out that Sosa tested positive for drugs in a 2003 test which eventually lead to the “testing with penalties” agreement between MLB and the players union beginning in the 2004 season. Sosa joins a long list of baseball stars now either proven or suspected of using steroids including Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez, Manny Ramirez and Rafael Palmeiro.

So what does all this have to do with homeschoolers? 2 Tim 2:5 warns us: “Also if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not win the prize unless he competes according to the rules.” Perhaps Sosa never read that verse.

Proverbs 10:9 should have been a warning to Sosa before he testified in front of Congress: “The man of integrity walks securely, but he who takes crooked paths will be found out.”

Sosa and the others might have done well to read Proverbs 14:5: “A truthful witness does not deceive, but a false witness pours out lies” and also Proverbs 19:5 “A false witness will not go unpunished, and he who pours out lies will not go free.”

Talk with your children today about the story of Sammy Sosa and the others who captured sports headlines but didn’t compete according to the rules. Share with them the concept of Luke 9:25 “For what is a man profited if he gains the whole world, and loses or forfeits himself?”

As Christians and as homeschoolers we are called to hold our integrity high. Telling the truth, competing according to the rules and being satisfied with the results are foundational to honoring God. Our worth isn’t measured by whether we win or lose, by whether we finish first or last, by whether we get the highest score on the test or only an average score. Our worth is measured by God’s love for us and by whether or not we are people of integrity. Speaking the truth and competing fairly is of infinitely more worth than winning.

On this date, September 18, 1999 Sammy Sosa made history, but at what price? And will he be remembered as one of the greatest baseball players of all time- or as just one of many who cheated in order to be a winner?

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