A problem I always find myself getting caught up in is how to be a faithful sports fan. I’m not talking about how to be true to my team. Over half of my wardrobe is maroon and gold. In my 4 years at the University of Minnesota I have attended hundreds of sporting events, including the Gophers Men’s and Women’s Hockey, Men’s and Women’s Basketball, Football, Volleyball, Baseball, and even Tennis. Never in my years here have I not given my full support to Gopher athletics. I am also an avid fan of the Twins, Vikings, Wild, and Lynx, although I don’t watch nearly as many Pro-sports games as I do at the collegiate level.
What I mean by being a faithful sports fan is being faithful to God, while enjoying sports. I often get so caught up in the heat of the moment that all I can think about is Gopher Hockey. Occasionally, I get so wrapped up in how the Gophers Hockey team is doing that I let it dictate whether it is a good or bad day. If the Gophers Football team is on a loosing stretch, I can’t help but feel a little gloomy.
One thing that a good friend of mine told me was that if we put our faith in anything other than God, we are bound to face disappointment and anger. However, if we put our full faith in God (where it belongs), we will never be disappointed. It took me a while for this to fully sink in. The more I thought about my behaviors as a sports fan, the more I realized that this made sense. When I am fully invested in the outcome of a sporting event, I realized that I am putting my faith in something that is a gamble.
We are also reminded of the FIRST commandment: “Though shalt have no other gods before me”. While I don’t ‘worship’ the Gophers, I have caught myself at times putting sports at the forefront of my life. During the fall semester, my whole schedule revolves around the Gophers football season. I have missed opportunities to spend with friends and family. In hindsight, was I putting sports before other things in my life? Was I putting sports before God?
I am often times faced with the tough question of “how can I be a FAITHFUL sports fan?”. I think the important thing to remember is that God comes first in all things. If I can continue to remind myself that God is what I should put my full faith in, I will never be disappointed. And I should give thanks to God for the opportunity to go to sporting events and enjoy them so much. “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” – Colossians 3:17
So go out there and cheer for your team, giving thanks to God all the same for the wonderful gift of sports! And Lord, please give me patience when my friends cheer for the Wisconsin Badgers.