Football as god

I love football. I think about it, read about it, watch it and discuss it with my friends. I attend games whenever possible wearing fan attire and appropriate accouterments. I am grumpy when my team loses and pleasant when they win. I would be a bit ashamed of such behavior if there were not so many others like me. I must be normal!

If words and thoughts had weight, you could put them on a scale and measure the mount of time I spend on football as cofootball_religionmpared to other things in my life, like God and family. I really don’t want to know the results because I fear the scales would be terribly tilted toward football and that would make me feel guilty. Why do I waste so much time on a GAME when I should be more concerned with my relationship with Jesus?

The likely reason is that football is entertainment and life is difficult. The outcome of a football game, even the Super Bowl, has no real importance. It may make the winners and their fans happy, but it won’t cure cancer or stop wars. Football drama is make-believe. The rivalries may seem fierce but they are really just expressions of ego. The winner has bragging rights, the loser eats humble pie. So what?

Life, however, is serious and real. Disease, job loss, divorce, addiction… all of these are serious matters that create stress and make us feel depressed. Football games help us forget our troubles for a minute.

Recently a young man made a horrendous mistake at the end of a big game and cost his team a sure victory. He received hundreds of hateful messages and even death threats. I might have hated him too if he were on my team… yeah, I’m that shallow. I wonder what his life will be like in the future. Will he forever be the guy who lost the game, the subject of ridicule and hatred by strangers? (I’m thinking Bill Buckner here; if you don’t know who he is, Google him.)

Is football a sin? It can be. But wait, it’s just a game, a pastime for fans. It’s colorful, exciting and sometimes inspirational. There are post-game prayers, pointing to heaven and Tebowing. It is a spiritual experience! Right?

Football is like anything else; it can become an idol. An idol is something that you put in the place of the real God. Football sometimes interferes with my faith. I spend too much time on it and get too emotionally involved. There is only one thing that is worth genuine passion – Jesus. Is that a corny Christian thing to say? Maybe, but it is absolutely true. My life is a shanked punt without Christ. I love football, but football doesn’t love me back. Jesus does. If I had a football, I’d spike it!