Basketball, Books, and Squandering Time

Basketball, Books, and Squandering Time

Written by Marcie Stokman, Founder and President of Well-Read Mom

Home from college for the summer, my former student, Elijah, knocked on the door. I was finishing cleaning up the kitchen after dinner and looking forward to putting my feet up to watch the NBA men’s championship finals. After chatting for half an hour with Elijah, I asked him if he wanted to watch the game.

“No, I’m not into basketball, but go ahead.”

“Okay, if you don’t mind, I’ll mute the sound so we can keep talking. I want to keep an eye on the score.” Uncomfortably aware of how much I was into the playoff games, I tried to justify my viewing, “I don’t usually follow the NBA.”

“Me either. I’m not into pro basketball,” Elijah went on, “I guess I’d rather spend my free time reading; I’ve read five novels since I got home a month ago.”

“Five novels! You’re kidding me! But, aren’t you working full time?”

“Yes, but only a few of my friends are home this summer, so I’m using my free time to read. I love it.”

I was caught off guard. Elijah looks forward to reading after work. Sure, he is single, and yes, he is indeed in a unique stage in life, but still, it takes a decision and an effort for him to use his free time this way.

As he shared, I understood. Reading literature has become a source of pleasure and relaxation for him. But still, Elijah’s reading habits went deeper. What seems an insurmountable hurdle for most of us, reading five novels in a month is possible not just because of his state in life, which is part of it, but also because he is in shape. He is fit. He reads strong!

Elijah is reaping the benefits of deep reading: stamina, insight, critical thinking, perspective, discretion, and intelligence.

I thought about how I had spent my free time over the past month.

The playoffs started mid-May with the NBA east-coast games, which led to tuning in to the alternating west-coast game the following night. By game three, I was hooked, and before I knew it, I’d logged in nearly 21 basketball games by mid-June.

I was shocked to realize I’ve squandered fifty-plus hours these past weeks glued to the screen (already forgetting which team played which in the earlier rounds). Why have I given so much time to this? Here I am, leading a national reading organization, and yet, I get off track so easily. Why is it almost automatic to turn the TV on sometimes, but it requires a herculean effort to pick up a book? 

Getting caught up in the lure of the next sporting event or barrage of available entertainment is easy. St. Thomas Aquinas wrote, “The slightest knowledge of the greatest things is greater than the greatest knowledge of the slightest things.”

Pete and I enjoyed watching the playoffs, but we agreed we must be mindful and intentional to help each other avoid squandering our time.

The proposal to read great and worthy books together in Well-Read Mom is a gift to us, especially to me. I am less distracted by trivial things than I would be. The accountability with all of you women helps me stay on a reading path; thus, my life is more prosperous. I hope yours is too.

Together, we help each other focus on a few great things: the purpose of life, our human brokenness, our need for redemption, and the reality of Grace. Thank you to each of you for joining this journey to seek to read more and read well.

Marcie Stokman

Marcie Stokman, M.A., is the founder and president of Well-Read Mom. She writes and speaks to encourage women and share the power of reading. She is the author of The Well-Read Mom: Read More. Read Well. which is an inspiring book on how, why, and what to read.

About Well-Read Mom

In Well-Read Mom, women read more and read well. Our hope is to deepen the awareness of meaning hidden in each woman’s daily life, elevate the cultural conversation, and revitalize reading literature from books. If you would like to have us help you select worthy reading material, we invite you to join and read along with us. We are better together! For information on how to start or join a Well-Read Mom group visit our website

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