Resurrected Living
"What are you going to do with your new resurrected life? This is the heroic question." Richard Rohr

The Problem With Football

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Saturdays in the Fall are some of my most favorite weekends of the year. I am a football fan, and especially a college football fan. I have my favorite team that I root for, and I enjoy having conversations with friends about the current story lines out there. I love watching plays like Clowney’s hit last year, and games that live up to months of build-up. About the only time I don’t like to watch college football is when they replay that stinkin’ statue of liberty play that Boise pulled nearly 7 years ago in the Fiesta Bowl. Wounds heal, but the pain I feel from watching that replay has to be the closest any person will ever get to feeling the way Harry Potter does each time his scar burns when Voldemort is nearby.

However, college football has a problem. It isn’t a problem with the refs, or the lack of a playoff system. It isn’t something you’ll likely find in Sports Illustrated any time soon. The problem is us, the fans. I have been a very hardcore OU fan at times. When a play doesn’t work, our Offensive Coordinator is an idiot. When we can’t pull ourselves back into a game, coach is losing his touch. Quarterback missed three wide-open receivers in consecutive plays to force a punt? Gone. The problem is the value we place on these games in our own lives, while demonizing those to whom the game actually means something real.

I have been working for a long time on making changes. I don’t want to spend all my time criticizing politicians, I don’t want to blindly forward emails without checking if stories/accusations are even true. The most recent change is that I don’t want to be that man who turns off his Christian switch every time his team performs poorly. Jesus states that the world will know we are his disciples when we show love to one another. Jesus said to love your enemies. Jesus said to turn the other cheek, to go a second mile, and to not judge. If we are to love our enemies, then why do we feel so strongly about our rivals? Why do we allow our emotions to take over and get the best of us? Loving our enemies does not stop on game day.

I get it. We all love our teams. We all have school spirit. But, it is another spirit that should be in us as Christians, and that spirit is rarely displayed by a fan after a loss, or during a bad game. Sometimes that spirit isn’t even in ME as I ridicule the team we just BEAT. How can one sport that we watch from a recliner have such a HUGE impact on the words coming out of our mouths? How can a recreational activity, such as football, have so much control over our emotions and actions? More importantly, how do we CHANGE those words, emotions, and actions so that we might look more like Christ?

I have heard from different ministers (especially youth ministers) that when men date, they need to remember that the girl is someone’s daughter, someone’s sister. We should adopt the same outlook when we enjoy (yes we can still ENJOY) a college football game. That player on the field has a parent or two in the stands praying he doesn’t get hurt. That coach has a family at home depending on his income. That referee will have his name broadcast all over the internet if he messes up on any one of the 100+ plays in a game (Oregon Vs. Tenn. had 143 plays from scrimmage). That player that just coughed up the ball for the umpteenth time this year is on scholarship and now is scared that next year he won’t be on scholarship again. That fan on the couch has…yea, perspective changes things drastically.

I know it is very difficult to change behavior. Last Saturday, while I was thinking of writing this article, I found myself wanting to badly criticize several things in the OU game (and they hung half-a-hundy on them). The point is this: it is a game that affects 99% of us very little on a personal level. Enjoy the game. Enjoy the hits. Enjoy the underdogs, the back stories, the comeback kids, the cinderella stories, and the pure aspects of the game. Enjoy the bonding time it gives as you watch it with close friends, but please, please…join me in eliminating the joys of demanding someone’s job for a poor performance. Wouldn’t it be great if even while we were doing the thing we all love to do on Saturdays in the fall people would say, “Wow, that guy even watches sports like a Christian.” We are to be followers of Christ first, and I don’t have a number, but a college football fan is much lower than that on the list…now go out and show it.

Tyler Brassfield is a graduate of Oklahoma Christian University and is the youth minister for the Fritch Church of Christ in Fritch, TX. He is married to Candace and has two children. In his spare time he designs iPhone apps and helps churches with other technology needs. You can find out more information about his church apps at 3:16 apps. You can read more of his posts at The iPreacher’s Blog.

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One Response to “The Problem With Football”

  1. Thank you Tyler… and Amen. I remember the day it shook me up to realize… I really did have Christian brothers who were Texas Longhorns. Talk about paradigm shifts.


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