Last month, Hannah, wrote to The Gazette in a child’s handwriting asking if God cares about who wins the Super Bowl, Olympics and other sporting events. These columns are our response to her letter, which can be viewed by clicking here.
Yes, yes, a thousand times yes! God cares about sports. He cares deeply about sports. He cares about music, arts, science, history. Sports aren’t separate.
Why else would he give us John Elway’s arm, Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf’s jumper, Todd Helton’s swing? Hannah, ask your folks to YouTube Peter Forsberg. The things he did on ice aren’t things we should be able to do. The jaded suggest those were Mr. Forsberg’s gifts.
Well, all gifts come from somewhere.
Do you like basketball, Hannah? Just this week, he gave us North Dakota State basketball. “I was praying, ‘God, give us an opportunity . to make up for my stupid plays,'” said the Bison’s Taylor Braun. Hannah, we are not cool enough, on our own, to do the things we see in sports. We make too many stupid plays.
Did God care about these Olympics? Look to the west. His foam finger is Pikes Peak. Then he allowed that nice young snowboarder to bring all those Russian puppies back to Colorado. Without sports, those puppies wouldn’t have a home.
God loves puppies, Hannah.
And God loves sports.
Our world is so much better with sports. Sports don’t care about a person’s color; only the bad people do. Sports don’t care if we are a man or a woman, black or white, rich or poor. If you can play, you can play. If he can play, Michael Sam’s first NFL locker room won’t deny him. If he can’t, Michael will sell insurance, or speak on a tour, or use his college degree. Don’t let the sensational media fool you. They are the disbelievers, not his teammates.
There is far less prejudice in a sports locker room than in the real world, Hannah.
The God I know, and the God you know, believes the player at the end of the bench is as important as the leading scorer. The forgotten one must be humble. He can share that with the star. Humility still matters.
Does God care when the Broncos win? It depends on the scoreboard. His is different than ours. He cares what the Broncos do when the game is over. He cares that Champ Bailey decorates Christmas cookies with families in transition, that Zane Beadles plays guitar with a child between chemo treatments, that Kevin Vickerson reserves a block of Sunday game tickets for underprivileged kids.
He cares that Von Miller, next month, is giving away dozens of eyeglasses for kids who struggle to see. Von’s Vision ranks higher on God’s list than sack totals. Or speeding tickets.
Would these men extend a helping hand if they weren’t athletes? Maybe, but I’d rather not find out.
Where would we be without sports? Where would my friend Mycheal be without sports?
He’s 21 now, from Chicago. His baby brother isn’t with us anymore. His baby brother was murdered. Mycheal still carries his brother’s keys in his pocket, misses him every day. He plays hoops to honor his brother’s memory.
Let someone else tell Mycheal that God doesn’t care about basketball.
Hannah, there’s a new Bronco named T.J. You will really enjoy him. T.J. Ward was injured in high school and didn’t receive a college scholarship offer. He went to the University of Oregon, anyway, and earned one. “The ultimate success story,” his college coach, Mike Bellotti, told me. “I couldn’t be more proud of what he’s done.”
Sports matter, Hannah. They give us a chance to be cooler than we are. They matter to us, and so they matter to God.
Hannah, the Raiders haven’t been good in a decade.
So, yes. God cares about sports.