Over the past little while, some thoughts have been brewing in my mind and it is time to put these thoughts into a post.
I am a huge sports fan. I am in my mid thirties now, and have been avidly following sports for pretty much all of these years. I know the agony I feel when my favorite team loses, or is eliminated from “championship” contention. I am VERY familiar with this. I am an avid Boston Bruins fan – they had a couple of Stanley Cup runs, but didn’t ever hoist the trophy. I like the Charlotte now New Orleans Hornets, – again no titles. I was a fan of the Montreal Expos – no titles there. Then when they moved, so did my allegience to my 2nd favorite team for years – the Boston Red Sox. They’ve won a couple World Series titles in the past decade and I was a long suffering the New Orleans Saints fan, (for about 20 years) before they won Super Bowl 44) I am still in shock about that one.
Now of course, passion and excitement goes beyond Championships and wins. It sits with the identity we take in our favorite teams.
You know what I mean – the schedule comes out and you start looking over the games, deciding which ones “we” are likely to win. And as a result of that identification, we occasionally carry our passion too far.
I have been following the story of Bryan Stow, a SF Giants fan who was attacked by some Dodger fans on opening day. He was very seriously hurt. The story continued 2 weeks later when the teams met again, this time in SF, and the security forces were out, to discourage and prepare for any attempts to retaliate.
The players on the Dodgers and Giants also spoke to fans, reminding them that being a supportive fan is great, but there needs to be some civility and responsibility to act with a certain level of dignity and restraint. Jeremy Affeldt – a Giants reliever, and Jamey Carrol, a Dodgers infielder, were the frontliners from each team at this rally. You can read an excellent account of all that was going on behind the scenes and in the mind of Jeremy Affeldt by checking out his blog here
. I’ve written about his blog on here before, read it often, friends, he says a lot of great, challenging stuff.
One thing that didn’t sit well with me about the whole issue is that going to cheer on the visiting team should be a relatively safe experience. I know that this is a pretty isolated incident, but I do remember feeling a little nervous when I went to attend my first ever NFL game in 1997. It was at Soldier Field in Chicago, where divisional rival Detroit Lions and their star running back Barry Sanders were in town. He was my favorite player at the time, and so, without giving it much thought, I put on my Sanders jersey and went to the game. Well did I ever hear about it! Passing the tailgaters, and other fans on the way into the Stadium itself and even at our seats, during the game. There were many things said to me, mostly in fun, but some were pointed, violent or vulgar. After the game, I admit, that I was a lilttle fearful as we returned to our vehicle (Barry had a great day, (160+yds and 2 or 3 TD’s and a Lions Victory). Although I never sensed any real danger, I got a lot of attention, if given the chance to do it again, I might reconsider my wardrobe.
Here is the thing that I notice. We get so passionate, so immersed in our team that if we are not careful, things like our mood, our interaction with others, our social activities can all be influenced by how our team is doing.
We get so passionate when we express our love for our favorite team. Are we that passionate when we express our love for the God that created us? At the end of the day, what’s more important cheering on our team, or acknowleging the plan that God created us for? Things to think about, for me at least, as I continue to enjoy sports, but keep them in in their proper perspective.