Thursday, August 17, 2023

Church is like Baseball

There are a lot of similarities in America between sports enthusiasm and religious devotion. Both have the ability to bring together or divide a community. Each of them can stir up the passions of people for good or for ill.  Devotion and enthusiasm are not good or bad... it just depends on how they are handled.

Have you ever gone to a little league baseball game?  One parent uses sports to teach their kid fair play, good health, and personal excellence.  Another parent is giving different lessons as they cuss out the teen umpire in front of their child.  I have vivid memories of sitting on my glove in the outfield at 7 years old - our game was paused as two dads went to blows over home plate.

We had a family reunion two summers ago in Iowa. One evening we went to a minor league game.  I am not a sports person, but I am always up for a social happening in almost any context.

It was a really nice stadium.  We got the hot dogs, nachos, and pretzels.  The game was close, the family was there... we were having a good time.

However, for a lot of folks in the stadium, having a good time was accomplished differently.  For them, enthusiasm came from dissension. Everything the OTHER team did was awful and everything their team did was great.  A ref was good or bad based on calls for or against THEIR team.  I even saw one dad teaching his son to heckle the other players.

Religion and sports... the good and the bad are all in how you approach the game.

1 comment:

Ed said...

Though I live in the state and visit Des Moines fairly often, I have never been to an Iowa Cubs game. I have been to I think two baseball games, (not counting the pee wee and little league games I played in) over the years. With friends and enjoying good food and drink, I found it a nice experience both times even though I am not a sports person at all. But I can't stand to watch it on television and I can't stand to watch it with someone who is so serious about it that they have to yell insults at bad calls or plays. At that point, I would rather just stay home with my family or read a book.

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