Friday, June 18, 2010

Football Fever

There is no getting away from it, the Football World Cup, hosted by South Africa is truly underway. The TV schedules are dominated by the tournament. Paradise for football fans. Not much fun for those who have little interest in the game. True to their gender stereotypes, my son would watch every match if he could, while my daughter scarpers for her bedroom  at the first sign of football on TV.

Who can tell how far England will go before they get knocked out after yet another nail biting penalty shoot out? After an unconvincing start against the USA, we'll have to see. Oh, and for the benefit of American readers,  1-1 was a draw, not a victory fot the USA. Do the math. England will have to beat Algeria tonight if they hope to progress to the later stages of the tournament.

Bill Shankly, the renowned Liverpool manager once quipped, "Some people believe football is a matter of life and death, I can assure you it is much, much more important than that." That almost makes football a religion. What could be more important than life and death other than matters of eternal significance?

Perhaps one reason why Shankly's quote still resonates with people is that football fans are often passionate about the side they support. Football fever enters their souls. They mourn their team's defeats and cheer their triumphs to the echo.

By way of contrast Christians can sometimes seem to lack passion for their faith. But that is not how it should be. Following Jesus is more important than life and death. Believers should be lively witnesses to the life-transforming power of Christ. After all, when our time comes to an end in this world it won't matter whether we have supported England, USA, or Brazil. But trusting in Jesus Christ will make all the difference.

*  An edited version of an article published in June's News & Views, West Lavington parish magazine.

2 comments:

Pr Mark Henderson said...

Guy,

If you thought being an England (or Wales?)fan inevitably means heartache at the World Cup, try following the 'Socceroos'!

Your reflection would make a good tract, btw.

Regards!

J said...

Much as I detest evangelical-style exhortations, I would agree that the soccer craze--er, Fussball--has reached crisis stage. Then, add in US pro schports as well--and the world seems seized with gladiator-level hedonism, but the athlete-gladiators earn emperor-like salaries, and enjoy emperor-like feasts and orgies (I've passed by one of Kobe's chateau's in Ellay). For that matter, the gambling business, and whore-business feed, remora like on the big sports teams. Short of radical solutions-- Stalin...or Hitler--that's unlikely to change for some time.