The Sports and I


College football season us upon us! The lights, crowds, and high intensity action are here to stay! I like football, baseball, soccer, wrestling, golf, and to a lesser extent basketball. It is safe to say that I enjoy watching and playing sports but the beginning of college football season has me worried.

One reason for that is all of the scandals. With Jim Tressel gone (and what a snappy dresser he was!) and Miami in trouble also we have had another year of scandals and accusations. I live in the state of Oklahoma (which has had its sports scandals) and when you ask someone about Oklahoma University or Oklahoma State University usually the first thing they will tell you is their football ranking. Football is a big deal to people in Oklahoma, to say the least.

One thing that confuses me, though, is that first and foremost colleges are supposed to be places of higher education but, at least here in Oklahoma, the first thing that they are about is sports, football especially. Their was a great article in the Tulsa World (my wife threw away the paper but it was in this Sundays or last Sundays if you want to look it up) about this very issue, about how we should focus on our schools being in the top twenty five in academics instead of football.

The Drake Institute, a body for change in the collegiate sports world, suggests that for the freshman year players should be ineligible so that way they can focus on academics for the first year and get everything in order. Also they want multiple year scholarships so that players can focus on academics and sports without having to worry about their scholarships. Some people will say that if they give multiple year scholarships then players who cannot quite compete at the level of college play will not be bumped out of the way for better players. That is a valid concern but would have to be met with the fact that coaches would have to be more careful in who they give scholarships.

A second issue I have with the beginning of college football season is because I am a Christian. Sports can be exciting and fun for everyone but so often they turn into examples of how different people can be in a given moment. I have seen people do things and say things while watching sports (at home or at the stadium) that they would probably never do at other places. People talk down to other people just because of team affiliation. We, as Christians, are supposed to build one another up but sometimes sports gets in the way of that. Also, sports take up so much of our time and devotion. If only some of us would devote as much to Christ as we do to sports! Some live, breathe, and worship sports and that is not something that Christ would approve of! We are to have no idols before God, not even good things like sports.

Simply, we need to be careful when it comes to sports because total devotion can lead to extremism which is dangerous! For me, probably for the rest of me life, sports and I will always have a twisted relationship

 

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