I'm a sports fan and for a while I've been wanting to write a short piece on it. Specially about where sports interacts and intersects with spirituality.
I've often found myself comparing what happens in my soul when I play a soccer match, read the sports section of an online paper and, watch one of my country-men fight an MMA match with what I experience in worship, preaching a sermon or reading my Bible.
There are some similarities. If there wasn't Paul wouldn't have compared his ministry focus with a race or a boxing match.
I don't know about you but, every time I go to a stadium or an arena of any sort it's very clear to me that there's a spiritual experience taking place. Worship is evident in the chants, emotional reactions, community expressions and, the feasting. I could even throw the offering element in there if you want me to.
It's funny how people will criticize organized religion because of all of the above and yet still pay their yearly tithe to their teams of choice, shout the name of their deities till they bust all their vocal cords, hug and drink with strangers and, practice apologetics to prove the existence of their team/ group/ player's superiority. In many ways there's no difference between a hard-core sports fan and a pentecostal christian.
We all have a longing to belong, an urge to triumph and a need to escape the boredom of reality. Sports therefore, become a great outlet for these needs. From this standpoint entertainment is extremely important for life in society. The Romans understood it well as their famous slogan of "bread and circus" revealed.
As with every good thing given by the Father of Light, sports were given to us so that we would enjoy and stimulate these soul cravings. Like sex and food, sports point us to a greater reality. A reality where we can solve our crisis of belonging, quench our thirst for everlasting victory and find true meaning in the midst of the repetitiveness of reality.