Friday, June 3, 2016

The Last Word On..., No. 3: Sports

I have a checkered history with more topics than I care to mention, but few if any of them seem to be as big of a deal as sports.  People everywhere, especially guys, love their ball games, and seem to live for their favorite sport's season...but I just don't, and never have.  I've said I hate sports...but that's not true, and I shouldn't say that anyway.  It seems that us non-sports fans are in the minority...but we're still out there.  I know I am not alone in my dislike for sports...but it sure seems like I am at times.

As usual for this series, I'll make three points, and then I'm done.  First off: Saying that I "hate sports" is wrong.  If you're a Christian, you're probably familiar with Romans 12:9b: "Hate what is evil; cling to what is good." (NIV) Now, I know we all have different definitions of what is evil; some people would even say that much of my favorite entertainment, whether it be contemporary Christian music, the Disney Channel, or even Star Wars, would fall into that category.  However, despite my lifelong dislike for sports, I wouldn't say they were evil or sinful.  True, I do believe some people's passion for their favorite teams or athletes could be seen as idolatry...but, that's a far cry from saying sports themselves are evil.  When it comes to mainstream entertainment, there's plenty of media that is much more sinful than "the big game" has ever been, and, these days, some of it can be seen on the major networks.  Some years ago, I wrote a Facebook note that mentioned Garfield alongside other favorite entertainment entities of mine, and a now-former friend commented, "I like everything you mentioned in your post...well, except Garfield.  I'd rather be stuck in a Turkish prison than be forced to watch Garfield." His comment shocked me; even if you don't like the cartoon fat cat, you have to admit there's much worse media out there--pornography, anyone?--than the infamous Tubby Tabby.  While I wouldn't watch sports by choice, I wouldn't make such a statement about them at all...because they're not sinful or evil.  Even when it comes to places or things, there's a big difference between "hate" and "dislike".  Besides which, I have enjoyed movies and books that are about sports; if I truly hated them, would that be the case? Of course not.

Second off: I don't think anyone likes anything shoved in their face...and that's especially true with me and sports.  Despite the fact that pretty much everyone who knows me knows how I feel about sports, I've still had them--or their equivalents, such as Boy Scouting--shoved in my face multiple times.  More than one person has tried to teach me how to throw a football, even though they had to know I just didn't care.  I know I used to say my "condition" prevented me from doing well in sports...but, that wasn't the real reason.  People used to tell me that, because my "condition" was high-functioning, I could do anything I wanted to, and I agree...but there's a key word in there: want.  I haven't researched it, but, I would imagine that there may be people with the same "condition" as me who have done well in the field of sports, whether on their high school team or professionally, and I say, more power to them; if that's their "thing," then, kudos to them for putting forth the effort.  However, it was never my dream to be an athlete or sportsman, whether the next Michael Jordan, a marathon runner, or even an Eagle Scout; that's simply not me.  People have tried to get me into sports, and it has never worked; I just never seem to "get" them.  When I was little, a doctor I saw suggested my mom put me into what he called "non-competitive sports," and she took him up on it; I was soon signed up for roller skating lessons at the local rink...which I really did not enjoy.  When that didn't work out, my mom signed me up for swimming lessons at the local YMCA...and I enjoyed those even less.  To this day, every time I see the "Y" where I had those lessons, I cringe inside, even though that was over two decades ago.  I don't blame my mom, though; how was she to know that such a thing would happen? Most kids, especially boys, would jump at the chance to hang out at the roller rink or in the pool...but, I wasn't most kids.  It's still the same today: To some of you, playing football with the guys or volleyball on the beach may sound like a blast...but, I'd much rather be at home watching the Disney Channel.  I know you may think I'm weird, but, if you don't like that...there's the door.

Lastly: It's wrong to look down at any group of people...including sports fans.  My Christian friends probably know the parable of the Pharisee who prayed, "God, I thank you that I am not like other people--robbers, evildoers, adulterers--or even like this tax collector." (NIV) Christians are supposed to be a peculiar people (1 Peter 2:9), but, my different upbringing and my "condition" make even many Christians think I'm rather strange, especially since I'm a guy who doesn't like sports.  They may look down on me for that, but, that's on them; I'm responsible for my own actions...but, that road goes both ways.  If it's wrong for them to look down on me for being a fan of Liv & Maddie, it's just as wrong for me to look down on them for being fans of the NFL.  I've found that people are going to judge others no matter what they do, so, I'll just stick with my true friends: those who respect what I do.

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