I’m posting this partly due to a casual conversation I had with G.J. Tarazi after church on Sunday (thanks, G.J.!). As American Christians, we have a troubling habit of separating our Christian lives from our more general cultural ones: in regard to sports, we rarely apply our morality to the teams we support. Like everyone else, we tend to give our favorite teams a pass, because (like everyone else) we want to see them win too. I say this not as outsider to sports culture, either. One of my earliest clear memories is watching the 1992 Superbowl at my grandparents house where the (ahem) Washington Football Team beat the Buffalo Bills. I was 7. I distinctly remember watching Darrell Green and the Bills’ Jim Kelly lying on the grass** after a play and laughing with each other–one of my favorite sports memories: they just seemed to be having so much fun.
Anyway, my point is that sports are great. Sport is war turned on its head: inverted. War without war. At least, that’s how the ideal goes. But we rarely live up to the ideal, and almost never when there is money involved. And there is a lot of money involved.
To say that things should be better in sports (professional and otherwise) is an understatement. But things actually could be better if we remembered to keep things in perspective, and if we simply followed through with our convictions. Whether that means leaving our favorite football team until they change their racist name or doing our part not to promote a culture that values winning above the well-being of human beings.
Anyway, before this goes off into rant territory, I mostly just wanted to say that I think things might be better if we had more sports chaplains like John White (see link below).
**Yes, sports fans, it seems pretty unlikely that it was Darrell Green and Jim Kelly lying there, but that’s what’s in my brain.