Is Sports My Religion?

October 26, 2012 by  
Filed under B2P Hot Stove

Sports a quasi-religion. I first heard this term from a cleric who was driving home the point if men spent as much time consuming sports content as they did devoting time to God and family then perhaps some of the ills affecting our society like absentee fathers and withdrawn husbands leading to widespread divorce would lessen.Oh! and bird watching would be better. Bird watching, yes, of course!

Sports can become all consuming and fans view what happens on the field of play through different set of lenses. Fan profile #1 are those drawn to the celebrity of athletes and let their minds drift into a soap opera world where fantasy and the players off the field lives set the narrative for them to derive satisfaction by living vicariously with a certain unrealism. Perhaps this would be the fringe of a fan’s involvement or participation and quite frankly odd.

Profile #2 are those enthusiastic devotees of sports who display passionate hometown zeal and desire membership to the communal bonds of support while cheering on their respective cities team. These fans are dressed in the same garb for every game displaying the team’s logo and colors. They are marketers’ incognito who have high hopes one day their team will be called World Champs. Once achieving World Championship status they can now call friends from a rival city and put forth remarks that may lead to the end of a once close friendship.

Profile #3 are those of us who have competed athletically and enjoy watching the God given ability of elite athletes. Satisfaction is derived from observing  talented men or women giving their best, all while sitting back on the easy chair flipping from one game to the other hoping to catch the next great play or nail biter before Sportscenter beats us to the punch.

Religion is a set of belief systems. Although the cleric attempted to contrast the detriments of excessive sports consumption which can pull one away from true and meaningful devotion, I would hesitate to cajole sports has characteristics that take on a religious worldview. Even the most passionate sports devotee if asked to die for their team, assuming they pass psychological testing, would not do so. Conversely, heroic men and women have laid down their lives for another whether it’s a firefighter, police officer, soldier or Saint and have done so based on a valid set of beliefs worth dying for. Some of whom may have been enthusiastic devotees of sports.

Yes, sports can become all consuming and can draw our attention away from where it’s needed and desired the most. Perhaps the barometer of balance is if we have time to watch the birds therefore we have time to be attentive to the needs of our nest.