I understand when you play in a competitive game, the goal is to win, and you certainly want to play your best, practice, know fundamentals, and play to help you team succeed. I'm for competition and wanting to win. I also understand that we all have our favorite teams that we root for, buy their merchandise, have loyal devotion to, and like to trash talk with our friends, family, and co-workers over rivalry games, but my question is when do we cross the line or when do we take sports so serious that it's unhealthy?
I think there are those who get angry, depressed, argue, fight, and some even get into physical altercations all over a game, that was meant to be fun for those playing it and entertainment for those who are fans. I think there is something wrong when sports or rooting for our favorite team becomes a priority in our lives or causes us to have negative behavior or character.
You don't have to troll social media very long when there are games on to see all the passion for sports. But, not all that passion is healthy, appropriate, or good for you when you lose touch with reality or it changes you in negative ways. It's great to cheer for your team and it's ok to be bummed out when they don't win, but when we get so angry, we cuss, argue, fight, and lose self-control it has become more than just a game.
There have been coaches, players, fans and game officials who have been hit, attacked, and in extreme cases people hospitalized or even died over a game. That is beyond sad and pathetic to me. I have seen personally people harassed, threatened, and cussed out at games just because they were wearing the other teams colors or cheering for the opposing team. We all have seen on the news or ESPN fans getting injured or killed because they were from the "other team". Even years ago when I officiated basketball I was threatened at both a biddy league basketball game and at a JV game because "their team" didn't win. We've all seen stories of parents or coaches or players getting into altercations over games.
How many friendships have been ruined, how many parents/children have bad relationships, how many people have you unfriended or un-followed on social media because of differences in sports? I think many people take sports way to serious and to the extreme and to the point where they lose touch with the bigger picture and that is no matter how you twist it, in the end "IT'S JUST A GAME!"
It might be business and big money in professional sports, but it's still just a game. It may be state pride or bragging rights or even money for colleges, but it's still just a game. You may love your local high school or middle school teams or local little league teams and like to play or want your kids to play, but it's still just a game. Never forget that.
I'll admit I am a big sports fan, my closet and drawers are full of my favorite teams t-shirts, hoodies, hats, and my walls have sports teams stuff hanging on them, and my cupboard has coffee cups, mugs, and cups with my favorite sports teams. I love my teams, spend a lot of time watching their games and supporting them, but I've always tried to keep it in perspective, it's for fun, it's for entertainment, I enjoy them, but at the end of the day, it's a sport, and it's just a game.
Out of all the priorities in my life, sports aren't even in the top 10. My faith, my wife, my daughter, my family, my church, my ministry, my friends, etc...take a front seat to sports. I don't need to turn to a pill or alcohol if my team loses, my self-worth and value is not wrapped up in my favorite teams.
I also think I need to point out that as Christians, there are way too many folks who put sports in front of God and His Church. They teach their children that team and sports are more important than faith, they may say they don't, but the proof is in the pudding, we skip church services or things for ball games and practices, yet say God is first? We spend countless hours and money on sports and hardly nothing on serving or giving in the church? Or better yet, what do we teach our children when God and church becomes 3rd or 5th down the priority list above our beloved sports? Or we consistently miss church services or serving for ballgames. I know on rare occasions it may happen, but I've heard all the excuses, but truth is people are in denial, they love their sports and./or their kids sports a lot more than they do God and His church and you have to answer to God not me.
Also, as Christians I think we forget our character matters no matter where we are? I've seen "Christians" yelling and acting a fool in the stands over a "call" or something, where is their Christian example? Is it on hold while the game is on? I don't think so. We represent God wherever we are, at the stadium, at the field, and in front of the TV. Also, as Christian athletes and coaches we should se the example that sports are just a game and we play with class, dignity, integrity, sportsmanship, and respect.
The bottom line is no matter how you spin it, sports are just a game and they shouldn't be your life or diminish your character and take over your life to the point where you lose touch with the things that are really important. Remember no matter how big the game, it's just a game. It's not life. It's a game. It's certainly not more important than God. It's just a game.
1 Corinthians 9:25(NIV)
Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.
33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.