December 4, 2011 News Sports Opinion A&E Multimedia Wes Side Stories: God doesn’t play sportsby Wesley Dugle Dec 4, 2011 6:24 pm Tags: Basketball, football, God, NBA, NFL, Ray Lewis, Religion, Sports, tim tebow, Wes Side Stories Wesley Dugle,
Spartan Daily"Wes Side Stories" is a weekly column that appears on Mondays.
A while back, on Sunday night of week nine of the NFL season, a game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Baltimore Ravens took place in one of the most heated rivalry games of the modern era.The game saw true grit on both sides as both teams traded leads back and fourth and fought to the bitter end, and was capped off with a thrilling 26-yard touchdown pass by Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco to wide receiver Torrey Smith to put the Ravens on top 23-20 with eight seconds to go, thus sealing the game.In the post-game interviews, Flacco answered an NBC reporter’s questions with the typical answers you usually hear from a pro athlete regarding the team’s chemistry and “taking one game at a time.”Then, Ray Lewis steps in for his own post-game chat, talking about his advice to Smith and what he said to keep his head in the game.“You know, position yourself, so when God gets ready to pour out his blessings, that you are in position to receive those blessings.”Lewis basically just said here that Torrey Smith literally “received” God’s blessings in the form of a touchdown pass.At this point I groaned and rolled my eyes and said, “Well if God’s your quarterback how can you not win?”This is probably one of the best examples of one of my biggest pet peeves in pro-sports — athletes claiming that God helped them win a sports game.Now before you start thinking this is going to be an attack on religion — it isn’t. I’m agnostic, but I have no problem with pro-athletes being Christians, Muslims, Jews, or whatever.But when one of them claims God is helping them win a few petty, insignificant sports games that are pointless in the grand scheme of things — that’s when I get upset.I would like to think, if there is a God, that he’s working a little harder on ending world hunger, violence and racism than some stupid football game.Ray Lewis isn’t the only one though who considers himself religious in the NFL.With the recent emergence of Denver Bronco’s quarterback Tim Tebow, God and football has taken the spotlight as Tebow is easily the most religious player in the league and also wears his religious pride on his chest, praising the Lord for each of his wins.Quarterback Jon Kitna too, back in his “prime,” sometimes would say that God was even “testing” him in his defeats.Huh?This guy makes millions of dollars to throw a football around, while people less fortunate pay tons of money just to see it, and he means to tell me God is testing him?Sorry, Kitna, but you are not Job.Buffalo Bills wide-receiver Steve Johnson probably had the biggest religious flub of them all.In a 2010 game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, after dropping a game-winning touchdown pass in the closing seconds of regulation, an angry Johnson took to his twitter stating “I PRAISE YOU 24/7!!!!!! AND THIS HOW YOU DO ME!!!!! YOU EXPECT ME TO LEARN FROM THIS??? HOW???!!! ILL NEVER FORGET THIS!! EVER!!! THX THO…”Now praising God for your small victories is one thing, but calling him out over a loss is just really petty and shows a lack of maturity on Johnson’s part.I highly doubt God was trying to spite you, Steve.God in sports is not limited to just football, however.I remember before game six of the the 2006 NBA Finals, Dallas Mavericks’ shooting guard Jason Terry said his team would pull even down three games to two to the Heat because “God is on our side tonight.” Then came the irony when the Heat clinched the NBA title and Finals MVP Dwyane Wade stated in his post-game interview “God was watching over us tonight.”Hmmm, all this talk would imply God takes a side in these matchups.Does Wade mean to tell me God has a Miami Heat Jersey hanging up in his room in the clouds somewhere? Or would Terry profess otherwise now that the Mavericks took the most recent NBA title?It’s not the fact these people are religious that bothers me, it’s that they seem to believe God takes time out of his busy schedule to help them win a meaningless sports game when there are far more important things that I would think a being of higher power would care more about.Does God take prayers from these guys and go “Sure I will help you win the Super Bowl, I’ll get back to helping starving African children tomorrow I guess?”It just doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me I guess.I don’t think there is anything wrong in counting your blessings and giving thanks for having the talent to throw a ball really well.But when you start heaping praise and believing that somehow a higher power is helping you win a game, as opposed to the other team who probably has another athlete praying for the same things, it’s just absurd.God doesn’t take sides in my view, and I believe if he’s trying to help anybody out there these days it’s people who are struggling to make ends meet or who are actually in bad situations in their lives.So please, Mr. Lewis, Mr. Tebow and the rest of you professional athletes out there, stop bothering God about winning your games.He’s a busy guy and on his list of priorities I would like to think helping you win the Super Bowl falls pretty far down, just above “Hey God can you help me sleep with that one hot girl in my class please?”But that’s a different story. My biggest pet peeves in sports are athletes who claim God had a hand in winning their sports games. My biggest pet peeves in sports are athletes who claim God had a hand in winning their sports games. My biggest pet peeves in sports are athletes who claim God had a hand in winning their sports games. My biggest pet peeves in sports are athletes who claim God had a hand in winning their sports games...One thought on “Wes Side Stories: God doesn’t play sports”
Ted Rudow III, MA on December 5, 2011
Sports really foster the spirit of competition. It’s the spirit of the world the “me first” spirit–do what’s best for yourself, win no matter who you have to hurt or step on in order to get ahead of the next guy. That’s the spirit of the world, which is just the opposite of what Jesus wants to teach people–to love your neighbor as yourself. Of course, some form of sports is fine. It’s good exercise and can be good fun. But things in the world are so different, and when athletes get to the professional level where they’re being paid to win, it gets extremely competitive. It becomes almost a life-and-death spirit. For example, the soccer players in the World Cup practically ran themselves to exhaustion, suffered injuries and bruises, and still kept playing, because they wanted to win no matter what it cost them physically.It’s a spiritual thing. It’s the spirit of competition and pride, proving you’re better than the other guy. They do it by sheer brawn, by their own strength, which really feeds their pride. It’s their idea of success. Winning means success in the world, so to win is a very big motivator. It just seems to be sort of an instinct with men especially to want to compete and to win. When they watch the World Cup or other sports events, it’s almost like an extension of those human desires to compete and win. That’s why some people get so into it, because they can relate to that drive to compete. The physical exertion, and then finally the goal, is exhilarating for some people. But the world just loves it! See how this competitive sports thing has been the final stages of every great civilization and empire.
Ted Rudow III, MA
Class of 1996