Mary Beth Hicks writes an interesting column today for the Washington Times in which she speculates that one cause of the waning interest of Americans for religious affiliation and, perhaps, also for simple morality may be the rise of Sunday morning youth sports and sales at department stores. I know about the sales because we often hit them after mass (and I see nothing wrong with that) . . . but I confess to being a bit stunned to hear about sports. I’ve had my kids participate in any number of sports and activities (and I’m a big fan of them when they are conducted in the proper spirit) but I’ve never heard of or experienced anything scheduled for a Sunday morning. To this day I know that in one particular suburb of Cleveland, there is a law against scheduling any youth activities on Sundays. There, it is so strict that the town even shuts down the public pool on Sundays. I know this because my sister complains loudly about this last thing--mainly because it means that her husband almost never gets to spend time at the pool with their children. But, much as she and her husband enjoy youth sports, I doubt even they would be thrilled by the prospect of a Sunday morning game or, worse, practice. Is this really something that is becoming a wide-spread menace? I could see some validity to Hicks’ point if it were, but I’m skeptical. I can’t imagine that even Atheists want to get out of bed early on a Sunday just to go to a kids soccer game. But then again, maybe it’s an east coast thing . . . in which case, I wouldn’t understand. I’m still trying to understand the appeal of soccer, after all . . . thank God my kids like baseball.