Sports: Where it’s OK to be a Fanatic

To love and admire anything outside of yourself is to take one step away from utter spiritual ruin; though we shall not be well so long as we love and admire anything more than we love and admire God. — CS Lewis

The level of devotion we have for sports here in the United States is pretty high. I’m not immune for I follow my alma mater’s football team, the Texas Longhorns. It is unnecessary to offer up comparisons such as “well at least I don’t paint my face and go to every game” or other such truck.

Devoting 3 hours of one’s life to sitting in front of a TV watching a boy’s game rates said devotion as high. I do try to catch the ‘Horns when they make it onto broadcast television, which is often given the fact that the program is high profile.

Of course, after UT players graduate I follow those that go into the NFL, most notably one Vincent Young. The fact that he delivered Texas’ first national title since the late 60s has “immortalized” him in the minds of the Texas’ fans (this one included).

So much the better that VY and his Titans got over on the Houston Texans, again, earlier today. I understand that me rooting for VY and the Titans is anathema since I live in Houston but my sports loyalties lie to former Longhorns first.

It is amazing to me how devoted we can be to such things yet leave our devotion to God behind. Even more surprising is when the athletes we enshrine and idolize bask in the spotlight and the public reaction is to call them selfish and not ‘team players’. Perhaps that they enjoy their celebrity status a bit too much.

While waiting to get a haircut today I picked up a Sports Illustrated and read an article about England’s fallen national team (if you have ask which sport…). The fan base, which is pretty loyal and well, critical thinks their national heroes have taken this celebrity thing a bit too far (Beckham is the poster child while Terrell Owens seems to be the poster child in American sports).

This quote from the article made me think of our role, as fans, in creating these personas then getting upset when these athletes start believing the hype we create,

It is hypocritical to criticize athletes who love the spotlight we shine on them

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