A recently as 5 years ago, I didn’t give a rip about college basketball. Football was a passing interest, mainly because I went to Marshall University, where football is the only thing in town worth caring about (sigh, we’re 1-7 this season). But upon moving to Louisville, Pitino fever had gripped the city with big dreams of what he could bring since the Denny Crum era didn’t leave many cookies in the jar. I jumped on board, if for no other reason, it gave me some conversation piece with the college students I wanted to reach for the gospel.
I can now honestly say, I have an undeniable obsession with college basketball that is borderline sinful. I have given this a good deal of thought over the last couple of years and have toyed with abandoning it because it seems so futile. I felt guilty around mid-April, when the banners were torn down and the months long college sports drought ensued while awaiting pre-season football. Why had I wasted so much time caring about something that mattered so little? Something of such insignificance in light of the eternal matters that also occupied so much of my attention?
Mainly, I think the answer lies in fact that sports awakens in us faint glimpses of eternal longings.
1. Everyone longs for victory, which was ultimately accomplished in Christ.
2. Everyone longs for community. That loud, foul mouthed guy who spilled beer on you during that 3rd quarter run now becomes your best friend when Jerry Smith hits a 3 at the OT buzzer to moveÂ the Cardinals into first place in the Big East. Sports brings us together.
3. Everyone has an innate appreciation for superhuman ability. Who didn’t marvel at the game 5 performance that Lebron James put on against the Pistons in the Eastern Conference finals? In some strange way, watching a person with superhuman ability gives everyone a sense that all human beings were intended for something greater than this.
I could go on. Am I just trying to think of spiritual excuses to continue my obsession? Maybe. But before you judge me too harshly, read this post from my favorite sports blogger.
This post offers some great thoughts on why he loves college basketball. I don’t know anything about him spiritually, but his blog is totally secular.