When Sports Become God - Part 1

It was once a game. How sports became a god and how we as Christians should respond.

Well college football is in full swing. My mother’s favorite sport, NHL Hockey is underway, and the NBA tipped off last night. As a high school basketball coach, I am currently preparing for a season that will begin practice next week. It is a busy sports time. Have you ever wondered if we put too much emphasis on sports? I believe we can honestly say sports has become a god.

How did this happen and what can we do about it? This month I want to address how we got here and next month I will give you some suggestions on how to navigate the crazy world of sports today.

First, how did we become such a sports crazed society from professional sports all the way down to youth sports?

Let me give you five things that have helped increase the problem. There are definitely more than five, but these help bring about the environment we have today.

  1. Our culture

Does this sound familiar? An ever, increasing fascination with sports and an increase of the violence of it, as well as large amounts of money throne at it to amuse the masses. Sounds like today, does it not? This is what Edward Gibbon said was one of the reasons for the fall of the Roman Empire in his book “The History of the Roman Empire”. Our culture dictates a great deal of how we live even as believers.

2. Larry Bird and Magic Johnson

Believe it or not, these two men have a great deal to do with how much sports we watch. When they entered the NBA in the early 1980’s, the NBA was a struggling league. Larry Bird and Magic Johnson were rivals from Indiana State and Michigan State who had recently played in the 1979 NCAA national championship game. It is still the most watched NCAA championship game in history. This rivalry carried over to the NBA. They helped save the NBA. Television ratings increased not just for the NBA but for other sports as well. This helped lead to our third cause.

3. The rise of technology

September 7, 1979, brought the dawn of a new age to television. This was the day that ESPN debuted and brought us the world of 24-hour sports. Now with Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and the like added into the mix we can have sports and reaction to sports all day everyday. We don’t have to go a minute without the latest scores from games all over the world or our favorite players next tweet.

4. The introduction of the “Trophy Generation”

The “Trophy Generation” is the generation that always gets a trophy no matter what. It doesn’t matter if they earned it. In a society that does not want to leave anyone out we have decided to award everyone. We even go so far as not to keep score because we w