I like sports.

So when I heard about a book by C.J. Mahaney that was all about sports, I ordered it immediately.

Mahaney writes, “Sports are a gift from God. But as soon as you introduce the human heart, things get complicated.” In this short book (I read it in about half an hour), he explains how Christians should enjoy sports while avoiding the idolatry that can be an inherent temptation. He explains what it means to play for the glory of God and offers several practical tips on how to be a grateful, humble servant athlete.

I would have like to see him write more about competitiveness and how this characteristic is not necessarily a vice. We can glorify God when we strive for competitive excellence. Trying hard to win is not a bad thing. Then again, you can’t hope that C.J. will address everything having to do with sports in a 50-page pamphlet.

All in all, Don’t Waste Your Sports would be a helpful read for any athlete, coach, parent of an athlete, or fan.

The Joys of a Fan

December 27, 2008

For those of you who think I’ve been so bored this break and read so much John Piper that I’m contemplating how that thing on your ceiling that keeps you cool during the balmy summer months helps you see and savor Jesus Christ, think again.

I like sports.

I mean, I really appreciate sports. I think it’s awesome how God designed us physically and how he gave us that drive to compete, and I love participating and watching good athletic competition.

But even more than than, I love being a fan. Now let me define the term a little bit. Being a true fan goes beyond appreciation to a certain level of commitment. Beyond just appreciating an athlete or a team or a sport, real fans will cheer and support their team. A real fan does not just enjoy watching a good game, he follows every match his team plans. A real fan does not just jump on the bandwagon of the latest dynasty, he sticks with his team through thick and thin. And this is where the joy of being a fan kicks in.

The joy of the fan (while bittersweet) is there in defeat. Even though you are upset (maybe severely so) that your team lost, the silver-lining satisfaction you still have is that you were there with your team. You may be mad that your team lost in the championship or did not even make the playoffs, but you were there with them on Opening Day, and you will be there again next year.

The joy of the fan is magnified in victory. When your team is hoisting the trophy, that’s your team. No real fan actually even says, “My team won!” He says, We won. And sometimes the glory of victory is all that much brighter because of years of defeat. I learned this from my Grandpa. He was born in 1922, and as a life-long Boston Red Sox fan, he did not see them win the World Series until 2004. (For those of you keeping stats on this blog, that’s over 80 years.) That’s the joy of a fan.

Tomorrow I will experience the joy of a fan. As I Miami Dolphins fan, I have had the (dis)pleasure of watching my team be terrible for last few years. (Especially last year, when they went 1-15) But tomorrow the Phins have a chance to make it to the playoffs for the first time since 2001. If they win, they’re in. If they lose, they’re out. Simple as that. So either way, I’ll know the joy of the fan.

Maybe it’ll be sweet victory. Just maybe they will complete the Disney-esque season of going from worst to first. Oh, that’d be great.

Maybe it’ll be defeat. Then I’ll know that I was there when they were 1-15, and I was there when they barely missed the playoffs. And as the Brooklyn Dodgers used to say, “There’s always next year.”

What fun…

The Right Play

January 3, 2007

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Earlier this morning, Nick Saban, the head coach of the Miami Dolphins, announced that he will be returning to college football to coach at Alabama. He will become the highest paid coach in college football; however, I don’t think this decision was about the money.

I’m a Miami Dolphins fan, so I am naturally sad to see him go. But if I was in his shoes, I think I might do the same thing. I’d coach in college instead of the NFL any day of the week. The college game is simply more exciting–the rivalries are more intense; the fans are more excited. Also, as a college coach you are constantly dealing with new players to which you can teach the game.

Despite some of the issues with the BCS, you cannot dispute how exciting bowl season is. The NFL only has one bowl game, and it’s not even that super. Honestly, more of the hype surrounding that game is about the commercials or the half-time shows. Who even remembers who played in the Super Bowl two years ago? On the college side of things, there is plenty to remember about this bowl season and the championship game has not even played yet.

Nick Saban called the right play. College football is where his heart is. College football is “where it’s at.”

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

January 1, 2007

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Welcome to 2007, everybody, everybody.

Among other things, I’m hoping this will be the best year yet at Step Onto Liquid.

And speaking of other things, did anybody watch the Rose Bowl? I did. USC finished up a somewhat disappointing season with a loud-and-clear victory over Michigan. It sounds like the “experts” are already putting USC atop the pre-season polls for next season. Yep, 2007 is getting off to a good start.
 

Photo: (Getty Images/Harry How)