Monday, November 5, 2007

Why Such a Deep Love for Sports?

It isn’t true that every man loves sports, just like it isn’t true that every woman loves shopping. But I know many people who spend hours a week glued to ESPN, and whose Saturday is spent watching 3 consecutive college football games. (Yes, I’m one of them).

Why is it?

My dad taught me to love sports. Some of my first memories with him were times when we would throw the baseball in the front yard, sit in left field watching the Astros, and read the box scores in the morning newspaper.

For over a decade, sports have been a part of me. My parents stood firm with all 3 of their children that if we wanted a car, we had to have the necessary funds to pay for the car, insurance and gas. In order to have the bling-bling, we had to get something called a job. For me, I didn’t have my own “ride” in high school because I didn’t have time for a job. Monday-Friday I would be in the field house lifting weights, throwing routes, and watching film. Twelve months a year, at least five days a week—this was a huge part of my life.

Today, I still love sports. I love following the Huskers, even when they have an atrocious season. J I always know what is going on in recruiting. I plan my Saturday’s around kickoff. On game day, I shower with a red towel, wear red boxer-briefs (tmi—sorry), wear red shorts and a Husker t-shirt.
My love for the Mavericks runs just as deep. Back in Abilene, I used to get together with one of my best friends to watch the Mavs (I won’t say his name, but he is married to a youth minister named Sarah and works for ACU). However, we had to cut back on our regular routine because we would get so upset after loses that we would lose sleep. It had an effect on our entire demeanor.
I also love the Cowboys, Rangers, Astros, and Tiger Woods.

Why is it? Why do some of us love sports so much that it can influence our mood? If our team wins, we can’t get sleep because we’re too ecstatic. If our team loses, we can’t get sleep because that one fumble, interception, strikeout, or missed free throw won’t get out of our head.

Here’s why I think we love sports:
1) We love competition. There is nothing more thrilling than finding yourself or your favorite player one-on-one with a linebacker, or standing wide open on the three-point line, or facing an ace in the bottom of the last inning with the game on the line.
2) We love rivalries—good vs. evil. Kayci and I went to Boston with two of our best friends, and it is hard to NOT cheer for the Red Sox after that. I like the Red Sox, but my love for the Red Sox stems more out of my hatred for the Yankees than a genuine love for the Sox. I cannot bring myself to cheer for the Rockets even though I live in Houston. I hate the Buffalos of Colorado, the Tigers from Missouri, the Philadelphia Eagles, and the Phoenix Suns. They are all from the dark side.
3) Sports can be absolutely thrilling. We love the Super Bowl, Saturday’s and Sunday’s in the fall, March Madness, New Year’s bowl games, baseball in October, Major’s in golf, and NBA playoffs.
4) Most importantly, it is in sporting moments that relationships are cultivated. My dad and I bonded at baseball games and sporting events. My brother and I can talk about sports long into the night. My best friend Troy and I have traveled to San Francisco, Boston, San Antonio, and Dallas to watch games. Even Kayci enjoys going to sporting events with me.

Here is the question that I have found myself asking lately, “How do I bring my love for sports under the authority and Lordship of Jesus?” I will always love sports. I can’t wait to toss the ball with Truitt, but I don’t want my love for sports to have control over my attitude for it can have an effect on the husband, father, and friend that I am.

I don’t know who wrote this prayer, but I like it. It fits for crazy fans like me:

God, let me play well but fairly.

Let competition make me strong but never hostile.

Forbid me to rejoice in the adversity of others.

See me not when I am cheered, but when I bend to help my opponent up.

If I know victory, allow me to be happy;if I am denied, keep me from envy.

Remind me that sports are just games.

Help me to learn something that matters once the game is over.

And if through athletics I set an example, let it be a good one.


Anonymous said...

Good post Boss. One of the most redemptive aspects of sports in my opinion is the friendship/community point that you mentioned. Watching a sporting event alone can be good, but its always better with equally as interested friends. When i go over on Saturday nights to a friend's house and watch UFC it is a different experience than just watching it by myself. Even if I am just texting with my brother about how aweful Philly is while Dallas beats them, the experience is substantially better. Its almost like God intended us for community....
Also, I hope your animosity for the Yankees comes under the Lordship of Jesus soon.


Anonymous said...

Have you considered the Spurs as an object of your interest? I think they merit some attention! -lt

Josh Ross said...

The Spurs have grown on me. Great defense, but their offense is about as fun as a cheerleading contest.

Anonymous said...

Can't wait to throw in New York on that list. Love you bro.