Baseball, Part 2

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So… I’ve done some thinking since last night, and baseball is still on my mind! (GO CARDINALS!!!!) Game 7 is coming quickly, just under 12 hours away. And I am PUMPED! Still talking smack with the guys, squealing excitedly at girls who don’t get it, and spreading the word of the Cards AWESOMENESS via texts and Facebook. But there’s something that I’m starting to realize: If I can get this excited about baseball, why am I not more excited about Jesus?

I know, I know… Most of us Christian-schooled (or homeschooled) kids have heard this sermon a million times. “If you’re so excited about X, why aren’t you that excited about Jesus? You really love that other thing. You spend time with X/ think about X/ etc. [insert X]. Why don’t you care that much about Jesus! He saved your life!” and so on and so forth. For those of you who, like me, have heard this sermon so many times, you might think something like: “Yeah, that’s right! I’m going to put down my video games/ not text my “special friend”/ leave my homework alone/ etc. for an hour and spend time with Jesus!” Or you think, “Yeah… Here we go again… Look, Preacher-dude, I’m all for following Jesus, but could you preach on something else for once?”

Now. Go and experience this for yourself.

We all have obsessions… when it comes to World Series time and the Cardinals are playing, almost every (read: all who have an inkling of self-preservation) St. Louisan is obsessed with the Cardinals. It’s just part of the city dynamic. If you’ve lived in St. Louis, you know this; if you haven’t… good luck. =) It’s honestly one of my favorite things about St. Louis: no matter where you go in the world, if you find someone from St. Louis, they will like (or appear to like) the Cardinals. It’s great to walk out of my dorm room and see my fellow St. Louisan. I don’t even have to say a word. One look and we’re both celebrating the victory! The first thing that comes to mind when I see him is Cardinals fan/ awesome person because he’s a Cardinals fan. It’s pretty easy to guess what we were just talking about, what we are talking about, and what we’ll talk about next time we see each other. So that’s my present obsession. It’s a lot of fun.

But isn’t it a little sad too?

First, when I see St. Louisans, my first instinct is to say, “Did you see the game?!” rather than “Hey! How are you?” I miss a little bit of the community this way. By so enveloping our friendship in the Cardinals, I risk not ever actually getting to know this guy for who he is. What will we talk about after tonight? What will we say to each other if next season isn’t so good? Do we even know each other beyond first names and our shared hometown? I lose community by limiting our friendship to only one community. I don’t know if that makes sense, but that’s my best explanation.

Second, really? really? Is baseball so important that I forget my brothers’ and sisters’ feelings, that all I do is bash the other team? Really? Now, it’s all in good fun, but how often do I cross the line between teasing and mocking, between lovingly being silly and rudely hurting feelings? Maybe this obsession isn’t so good…

Third, look at my description of my obsession. I’ll copy and paste the relevant sentence down here: “It’s pretty easy to guess what we were just talking about, what we are talking about, and what we will talk about next time we see each other.” Hmmm… as I wrote that sentence, the words I have in bold struck me. Is that really how I feel? The words remind me of what we, as Christians, so often quote or sing–That God was, that He is, and that He always will be. Now, I’m not saying we should completely remove these words from our vocabulary except when talking about God, but I do believe that this is a dangerous move for me. I’m using a simple description of eternity to encapsulate my feelings about a sports team. Hmmm…

I never considered myself a sports fanatic… until I got to college that is. Maybe it’s because home has always been St. Louis. I’ve never been in a seriously non-Cardinals-obsessed situation for a sustained period of time… until now. So, I go crazy, become the fanatic I am, and along the way–just maybe–I’ve lost Jesus. Not in the sense that I’ve lost my salvation, but in the sense that I study the play-by-play more than I glance at my Bible. In the sense that most of my prayers are either for my food or for the Cardinals. In the sense that I’m more likely to bash my brother than to build him up… at least if he’s a Rangers fan. That ends now. I pray to God that I might rest in His love, that I might find His grace, and that I might not make a baseball team my “god.”

Dios te bendiga.

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