The first quarter of the Cowboy game just ended and I'm upset with myself for caring so much. This whole business of sports and the passion they stir up is hard for me to get a handle on. Even though I'm totally wrapped up in the game (the Cowboys just tied it up), I can no more explain why (oops, the Giants are challenging the score) than I can tell you why my Dad ate licorice.
I mean, other than a vague geographical connection (touchdown upheld!) to the Cowboys (isn't that a strange thing to call someone..."cow" "boy"?), why should I care? Those fellas are not my neighbors, they make far more money than I, and in most cases, their core values are light years different from mine. I have as much in common with Terrell Owens as I do a Chilean ocelot. And even given the local connection, why should I be so excited that some athletes who reside in the Metroplex can whup up on some other athletes who have New York addresses?
And I have always felt that the enormous importance society places on winning is curious. I remember (vaguely) my college days...and a bunch of us guys played a lot of tennis. On rare occasions, I would win a set. And I always felt a bit sorry for my opponent. I mean, had I rendered him suddenly inferior as a human being? Of course, he surely felt devastated after losing to a ridiculous excuse for a tennis player. But why should we draw joy from doing something better than someone else? Is that a Christian fruit of the spirit? (Marion Barber just got a big first down.) Maybe the attitude should be, how can I help my opponent win today? There's an interesting verse in Galatians 6: "Each one should test his own actions. Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else."
Back in the '90's, I would get absolutely livid about 4 times a year. Those were the occasions when Dallas Christian's basketball team would play against First Baptist. If you weren't cued into the situation, you might surmise that these would be polite affairs, filled with "excuse me's" and "how are things?". Nay, nay. Folks from both sides checked their Christianity at the door and spent the next two hours screaming at the refs and belittling mothers of the other side's players. I wanted to go to mid-court and scream, "THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU'RE DOING! IT MAY HAVE ETERNAL IMPLICATIONS!" (The Bovine-boys have a nice drive going.) I'm so proud of my son Blake because he maintains his Christianity even in his role as a coach. I'm so proud of both my sons because they refereed games during their college years as their part-time jobs. They both endured crazy fans without pulling a gun and teaching them a lesson.
Well, there's a minute left in the first half and the Calfboys have a 3rd down and goal. It's a critical time.
Or is it?
(Pssst. They scored!)