God and FootballPosted: January 12, 2012
So a recently released poll claims that 43% of people believe God helps Tim Tebow win football games. 43%!! If I knew how to use Photoshop I’d totally create a picture of Jesus wearing a Broncos helmet. Here’s a link to the article from Fox Sports.
One of the best-known religious athletes was Sandy Koufax who famously refused to pitch Game One of the 1965 World series because it fell on Yom Kippur. Well, he went on to pitch in three more games that series and was named MVP as the Dodgers defeated the Twins in seven games. A lot has been said about Koufax’s faith and courage but it has never been suggested that the Dodgers won the World Series that year because God especially smiled upon Sandy Koufax.
I have very little patience with a theology that insists God cares who wins football games or somehow intervenes. There are equally faithful players, albeit less demonstrative perhaps, on every team in the National Football League. Is their faith somehow less important or does God just really dig “Tebowing?” It’s a very slippery slope.
And anyway, if you want further proof that God could not care less about the outcome of sporting events, I have my own Exhibit A. Last spring and summer another Episcopal priest, Tom Mulvey, and I coached our 10-year-old sons’ baseball team. With this rationale you’d think our team would have been a shoo in to take the little league World Series in Hingham. I think we won three games all season.
No, we didn’t do any Tebowing before games and I guess we could have created a pre-game ritual involving two bats in the form of a cross at home plate. And, believe me, with the players we had it would have taken a miracle to win more games. But if two clergy coaches couldn’t get a break why would anyone think someone else should?
Don’t get me wrong. As a huge Baltimore Ravens fan, I was delighted to see the Broncos bounce the Steelers out of the playoffs last weekend. I just can’t imagine God sitting in a La-Z-Boy chair watching the game on a big screen TV and deciding who should win.