I love sports. I always have. I love watching and I love playing them. Sports have been part of my life for as long as I can remember. As a child, I always had some sort of sports ball in my hand and was involved in some kind of sporting activity. In high school, I would just move from one sport to the next, and I loved every minute of it. There is something about working hard, playing with a team, fighting through adversity, and achieving success in sports that is very rewarding.
Playing sports and cheering for a sports team, are very different though. Since I have become an adult, my sports life has changed. I play several things recreationally, and I am involved in my children’s sports activities, but I do not really participate competitively anymore. I am a huge sports fan, though. I love cheering for the Oklahoma Sooners, Dallas Cowboys, and my hometown team, the San Antonio Spurs. I watch and follow my favorite teams any chance I get.
As an avid fan of sports, I have learned much about fans over the years. Sports fans are some of the most interesting people in the world. If you want to be exposed to the true sinfulness of humanity, just attend a six-year-old recreational soccer game and watch some of the parents. Truthfully, fans are bad at every level, from children’s sports, all the way to professional sports. If we are honest though, we have all probably let our emotions gets the best of us in watching sports and are all guilty of taking trivial things a little too serious. If we are to do everything for the glory of God, how can we enjoy sports and be a good fan for His glory? Here are a few things I have learned and observed.
First, tell yourself over and over, “IT IS JUST A GAME.” Truly, at the end of the day, the sporting event you are watching has zero eternal significance. Remember that!
Second, do not let the game affect your attitude, or how you treat other people. Do not get sucked into the mentality that the sky is falling just because your team is performing poorly. If the outcome of any game has a dramatic positive or negative effect on your attitude, you are taking it too seriously. Enjoy the game, cheer hard, but when it is over, it is over. Do not let the results of the game carry into your daily life.
Third, be a good fan during the game. Be pleasant to those around you. Do not criticize individuals, or players and fans on either team. Cheer positively and stay off the officials. I have said this over and over, and I firmly believe it: “The outcome of a game is RARELY due to poor officiating.” If a team is really good, they will find a way to succeed, even if the officiating is unsatisfactory. There is nothing worse than a fan that blames everyone and everything for their team’s loss. Do not be that kind of fan. Be a fan that brings glory to God by how you talk, how you treat those around you, and how you respond to those actually involved in the game.
Finally, remember that God does not care who wins or loses the game, but He does care about everyone involved in the game. From the fans, to the players, to the coaches, etc., God cares about people. His ultimate desire is for people to know Him and have a relationship with Him, but He also desires for all people to glorify Him. Sports are fun. It is exciting to watch good competition and cheer for your favorite teams, but everything must be kept in perspective. This is especially true for Christians. Christians need to set the example of how to be a good fan that brings glory to God. As you cheer this week, cheer with an eternal perspective.