Tuesday, February 8, 2011

After the Super Bowl

"For when the One Great Scorer comes
 to write against your name,

He marks - not that you won or lost -
 but how you played the Game."

That’s from the the poem "Alumnus Football" by the legendary American sportswriter Grantland Rice. I discovered it in a homily about soccer on the De La Salle Brothers UK
 web site, and I borrowed their idea for the prayer below. The Rice rhyme reminds me of something an Episcopal priest, Fleming Rutledge, wrote about “how we play the game” of daily living:

“…the Christian ethic is an ethic of means. The Christian is known not only by the end or goal that he seeks, but especially by the means he uses to strive toward the end. The attainment of the end must be left to God. It is the means by which the end is sought that distinguishes the Christian community and links it to the Son of God.”

Now, back to the game(s)…


Sport is more than a pastime for me. It’s my job, so I’m hard pressed to be overly critical.

I do see the excess - of ego, money and aggression. For sure, there are rogues…but there are heroes, too. Examples of teamwork, fidelity, grace and joy abound.

Holy Spirit, set my focus on the attributes of sport that we need at church, as parents, in our workplace and community:

Nurturing a diversity of talents. Mutual respect. Cooperation. Unity. Commitment. Determination. Clear objectives.

It seems we go over-the-top when we worship a player, coach or team. Lord Christ, may that be reserved for you - only you.

…and then sport will be in its proper place as we use its lessons to advance the Kingdom. Amen.