My favorite team, the Kansas City Chiefs, was playing great! We were driving down the field like an unstoppable force and the other team was struggling to figure out how to contain our effective running game, which featured All-Pro running back Priest Holmes and our stout offensive line that included All-Pros Willie Roaf and Will Shields. I thought for sure we were going to punch the ball into the end zone for a touchdown when the unexpected occurred…
Our quarterback, Trent Green, took the snap, faked the handoff to Priest, and proceeded to throw the ball into the end zone only for it to be… intercepted!
I was outraged!
“WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?!?” I yelled. I then threw the football I was holding against the wall, and then, just for good measure, I threw both of my shoes at the door. I then began screaming out profanities about what a dumb play that was (just in case anyone in my dorm hall had any doubt about how I felt about the situation).
People be like…
It wasn’t until a couple of years later during my time in college that I came to a humbling realization: I was a “disillusioned” sports fan.
I had a severe perspective problem when it came to sports and an over-the-top interest in my team to the point where I’d spend excessive amounts of time following and cheering for them, and had an unhealthy connection to them that resulted in me getting overly invested in something that in the grand scheme of things mattered very little.
Now don’t get me wrong, there is certainly nothing wrong with being a fan and caring about a team–I still love watching my Chiefs (9-0 baby!) as well as several other sports teams. The problem occurs when we become so invested in the team that we start to take their performance personally.
For example, I used to get in verbal arguments with people about how much better my Missouri Tigers were compared to our bitter rival: the Kansas Jayhawks. In fact, I would put Jayhawk fans down and even would get a bad impression of them as people if they cheered for Kansas (especially if they were from Missouri).
Another example is when I’d scream, yell, and curse at the television when things didn’t go my team’s way. I acted like a big baby and I’m sure I made a bad impression on pretty much any person that saw me behave in such an immature way.
The reality of the situation was that I didn’t have sports in its proper perspective…
Being a sports fan is meant to be a fun, nonthreatening way to enjoy the athletic achievements of others to whom we have a connection with.
It’s not meant to be a way we find our own personal identity, find identity in others, or treat like an all-important event that we take personal.
Unfortunately, I feel like as a country we are filled with “disillusioned” sports fans just like I used to be. It becomes evident when we cheer when players we don’t like get hurt (like this), when we personally attack players who don’t perform up to “our” expectations (like this), and when we can’t get along with other fans (like this).
Sometimes I wonder why we care so much about things that don’t really matter–myself included!
What if we cared as much about loving others? About helping those in need? About getting out and building positive relationships with people?
What if we became more of a fanatic about the things Christ cares about and less of a fanatic about things that pale in comparison?
Let’s be fanatical about what really matters: the Good News of Jesus Christ.