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Spiritual Sunday: The Holy Church of Sports

Read disclosure before continuing, please! 🙂

A little funny before going into the serious:  I was looking up some video to supplement this post, and found this:

Check it out.  It made me crack up.  And if it doesn’t make you laugh, loosen up a bit, would ya?  😉

Now, onto the topic at hand.

I’ve never been a big fan of sports.  I can’t really get into cheering for one team to completely dominate another team, or, to use other sports fan lingo:  “Kill”, “Own”, or “Massacre” another team.  I just don’t feel comfortable using some of the same terms used for war or slavery.

The one exception I make is the Olympics, because that I think is a celebration of the world coming together and celebrating their best atheletes.  But even in that case, I am a bigger fan of the opening ceremony rather than the competitions themselves (though, I admit, I do love watching figure skating! Tonya Harding craziness excluded).

What has always baffled me is how entwined praying and sports, particularly football, is.  (In the United States, anyway.  I can’t speak for other countries.)  It is not unusual to see teams say prayers before and after the game, and it’s also not unusual for not just teams, but fans and pastors, to pray that their team wins.  I’ve seen many clips of that nature from movies (Hoosiers, anyone?) and TV, and ironically enough, I’ve been to a couple different churches where the official has joked, “And if our team happens to win the game this afternoon, God, all the better.”

Really?!?  While I’m not against praying for a game where good sportsmanship is exercised and where nobody gets injured, I scratch my head when people specifically ask God for their team to win.  Further, I scratch my head when players get angry at God for not letting their team win.  The most recent example I can think of is when Buffalo Bills player Steve Johnson sent out this infamous tweet to God after fumbling a touchdown pass:
“I praise you 24/7!!! And this how you do me!!! You expect me to learn from this???How??? I’ll never forget this!! Ever!! Thx Tho.”
On the same token, I see players also thanking God for their wins.

Yes, because people should only pray or be religious because they want their team to win.  That makes so much sense and is so not selfish in any way.  *rolls eyes*

And the crazy gang-like mentality frankly scares me.  Case in point being the riots that happened after the Vancouver Canucks lost and the San Francisco Giants won the World Series.  Let’s rewind that, shall we?  After the Giants won, there were riots.  I would hate to see what would’ve happened had they lost!  I’ve also run across a girl that says she gets so caught up in the game that if there is a good win, they have crazy sex afterwards.  Also weird.

But back to God and the big always-on-ESPN TV in the sky:
don’t you think there are better things to pray about?  Another blogger by the name of Philip Yancey put it best:
“Is it ‘wrong’ to pray inappropriate prayers?  I wouldn’t use the word wrong; I’d use a word like immature.  Is it wrong for a five-year-old to ask for a sports car for Christmas?  Just immature, inappropriate.”

Here are some other thoughts on the topic:

I’m going to make this post a relatively short one, so I’d like to wrap it up by saying this:

I find it ironic that the same people who pray so serenely and hope for a “fair, clean” game suddenly turn into growly monsters who swear at the referees and cheer when their team attacks an injured player on the opposing team.

Food for thought.

In Hopes of Praying for Something Worthwhile,



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