Sports as a Religion

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We went to a game last night at Chase Field, the home of our baseball team, The Arizona Diamondbacks. It used to be Bank One Ballpark, which is how I still think of it, but that’s another story. It’s all about big business, mergers, big money and banks. And yet…..when I go there, despite all the hoopla and fanfare and technology, I am transported back to a simpler time. When it was just “the game” and not “the fame.” There’s magic in it still.

I agree that its gotten completely out of control, the fanaticism with sports, not only in America but around the world. I say, pay them what teachers make and see how many would still play the game. We build these huge facilities while schools are closing, and it’s just not right.

And yet, there I was. Paying too much for food and drink that I could have made at home. All because, well let’s face it. I’ve had almost a kind of romance with baseball ever since I went to my first game at the old Candlestick Park in San Francisco. Maybe it’s all the great movies about baseball. I mean, “Field of Dreams” and “The Natural?” Kevin Costner and Robert Redford…..I could go on and on. And maybe it’s just part of American tradition and I want to feel like it’s still all good out there.

The truth is, sometimes it’s just good in our crazy world to go along with the crowd. To go eat some bad food, maybe have a beer, wear your team jersey and cheer like crazy. And let’s face it, this is a really cool stadium…..it actually opens up!

I love seeing three generations with their arms around each other during “God Bless America” and “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.” You can still see that, even now. Last night was no exception. It was just good fun, and even though there were many LA Dodger fans in the house, things never got out of control between fans. It was a friendly rivalry.

There is something deeper in all this, though, and that is what I really want to focus on. The fact that deep down, there is something within us that wants to band together as a community and worship something bigger than ourselves. And when you attend a fame, the players, the game, the stadium……all of those things are bigger than ourselves at that particular moment. At that moment, we all join as a collective group and root for who we want to win. The thing that is bigger than ourselves. The thing that allows us to escape our jobs…….our problems…..that lifts us out of the mundane.

This is an innate desire in us. And there is nothing we can do about it, because it was placed within us by God Himself. So when we don’t attend church or practice a particular religion, we must find a substitute.

Maybe for you, it’s not sports, it’s music. Or movies and entertainment. Or nature.

Whatever it is, unless you turn that attention and focus to God Himself, that desire will never be fully satisfied.

Last night was a good night. And despite the fact that the seats in the Diamond level were less than desirable (we were right next to a wall) and they waited to long to close the roof (it was warm) it was a good night. We won, 6-10.

Happy 60th Birthday game Elaine! Thank you for introducing me to the love of the game long ago.

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