JANUARY 13, 2015
The Greatest Comeback in History
Article by Chris Scott
Have you ever thought about why we love sports?
I love sports. Period. In fact, I love playing them far more than I like watching them. I appreciate watching gifted athletes perform at high levels. I love seeing great comebacks from teams who fight tooth and nail to come out victorious. I even have great respect for players who put everything they have into something in order to make their dreams come true. Unlike any other phenomenon, sports give us something to cheer for. They make us part of something that’s greater than ourselves.
Sounds wonderful, doesn’t it? Who doesn’t want to be part of something great? I’ve spent my entire life, as many of us do, trying to find that thing that would propel me to the top. That one thing that would give me meaning, purpose, and value. I want to be seen as successful because I truly care what other people think of me. I strongly believe that most of us think sports can add something to our lives that we lack. Glory.
You’ve heard the saying “no guts, no glory” right? When athletes win a sporting event they gain fame, fortune, recognition, and praise (glory) from those who aspire to be great just like them. But what happens to fans when their favorite team or player wins? For some reason, they start bragging about it (Some more than others). You might be smiling at this point because you already have someone in mind. It’s incredibly true. People get an ego about something they actually had no part in whatsoever. Suddenly we begin to use phrases like “we did it” or “we won.” The success of another is somehow attributed to us as if we did something that helped them win… like buying a shirt or yelling at the TV…, despite the fact that it has no real impact on our lives at all. We are no richer, gain no fame, are not viewed as better by anyone, and are no more in touch with the reality of our every day life. The only thing a fan has to gain is pride in something he didn’t even do. It’s a false sense of identification by association with someone else who did what I could not.
I know there are faithful fans, but think about it. The term “bandwagon fan” is alive and well for a reason. No one wants to be associated with a losing team. We are all just waiting for our team to rise to the top so that we can have a chance to rise above someone else with our words. If we guessed right, we are victorious. If our team sucks, we pick a new team… or look forward to basketball season, etc… I’ll be the first to admit, I’ve been guilty at times…
Now, I’m not saying sports are bad, or that you’re dumb for watching them. They’re fun to play and exciting to watch. As I stated before, I’ve played them my whole life. I even got to play soccer and basketball at my small college in Springfield, MO (Baptist Bible College). But, it’s then that I realized sports can be an idol. They certainly were my idol. An idol is anything we give more of our time, energy or thoughts to than God. This is easy for any of you athletes to understand. You spent countless hours practicing and training for an event, often times caring about nothing else in life. That was me! Fans, on the other hand, spend countless hours cheering for those who have put in the hard work so that the hard work of the players can be attributed to them as well. I know this may sound stupid, but I believe it’s our underlying motive for being sports crazy. Their success is our own, and we will look to anything that gives us success and approval.
The worst thing about sports fans, in my experience, is that their favorite sport actually brings out the worst in them. What was once a fun-loving game becomes an occasion for either celebration or grown-up temper tantrums. It’s absolutely foolish to be emotionally effected by the way an 18 year old kid catches a football. Yet a whole day can be ruined because of a dropped pass or missed free throw. We usually shake it off, but that’s only after we’ve spent hours worshipping a person or team. “Worship…? Really, Chris…?” It truly is worship. Every week stadiums are filled with fans screaming the praises of a team they love. It’s not just in America; it’s around the world. In fact, US sports are quite toned down compared to the rest of the world, where a referee can be killed for making a bad call. A friend from Uruguay once told me that he has friends who have been killed in gang fights before a soccer game. Their fans are so dedicated the team they love that a simple game becomes a matter of life and death. Why? Is a sports team or player truly worthy of all the praise we give them? This friend went on to explain that some people in the world are so poor that all they have to believe in is their favorite sports team. A win on Sunday is the only thing they may ever find joy in. Fighting makes them feel like part of the team. It gives them a purpose and a reason to celebrate.
While I don’t know what it’s like to live in extreme poverty, I think we can all agree that there has to be something better worth celebrating in life.
I’ll always watch sports. They are great entertainment and can certainly be used to bring God glory. However, no sport can ever offer me a comeback story greater than that of Jesus Christ. The story of God who came down to earth as a man, lived a perfect, and died a horrific death on a cross by the hands of men whom he came to save. After being pronounced dead for three days and buried in a tomb, the Bible tells us that by the power of God, Jesus was raised from the dead and appeared to more than 500 people. It’s cool to see the Colts defeat the Chiefs, but it’s breathtaking to hear that a man defeated DEATH! He did this for you. He did it for me. He did it because his suffering would lead to the salvation of people who deserved to spend an eternity in hell as a result of their sin. He did it because we would never be able to do it on our own. Jesus invites us to turn from our sin and turn to him for salvation by faith in what he’s done for us. He desires a relationship with us that no one can ever destroy. He invites us to be a part of his success and to count his victory as our own in the eyes of the creator of the universe. You may not think that’s what you want, but it is what each of us needs!
That’s what people should fill up stadiums across the world to celebrate. That’s a victory worthy of the record books. And that’s truly the only comeback worth bragging about.
“..if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9)
Bible verses: Luke 24:7: John 20:19-20; 1 Corinthians 15:6