Are you in need of a “Sports Fan Tune Up?” It’s football season. How is your team doing? Lots of wins? Lots of losses? Do you have family and friends who are BIG fans? How do you handle a loss against your biggest rival?
I’m sure we all know someone who is a really big fan of football. They wear the colors. They paint their faces. They hang a flag in front of their house proudly displaying their allegiance to their team. They banter with friends and family over which team is better, how the coach is doing, etc. It’s fun, right?
It’s fun until someone takes it too far!!!! What was friendly exchanges turns into a quarrel as talked about in Proverbs. What was couch potato coaching now becomes personal jabs at friends and family who cheer for a different team from ours. One-upmanship becomes the name of the game.
Everyone in our family are avid sports fans. We have Clemson, South Carolina and Georgia fans. I’m not sure which sport we love more, golf or football. I guess each has its own kind of “love”. There are a lot of us competitive types out there. But as I have watched football this season and before any more games are played I, being a huge fan have decided to journal about having a “sports fan overhaul”. Being on the “Back 9” I have watched many fans at games, in dens, at tailgates and even at church carry their allegiance too far!!
IN Matthew 6:25 it says, “Where your TREASURE IS, there your HEART WILL BE ALSO.” Where is the line between being a fan, enjoying some good banter and making football (or any other sport) an idol of the heart? In our culture idols don’t often look like little statues we set on a shelf or erect outside. As I’ve said before, idols are anything that we put before God.
Which is more important? Godly family relationships or being right about your team, regardless of the cost to the relationship? If your heart is bent towards honoring Christ and valuing people, I think you will choose Godly family relationships and other friendships more valuable than who you pull for!
If you, or someone you know, has been guilty of causing strife and quarreling over football or some other sport, take the time to seek God about making some changes before game day hits again. Speak up!!! See if any of these things should or should not be a part of your game day. Read and examine your heart and what you value most:
- God, Need I say more on this one?
- Pull for your team but, out of love, respect, and devotion to family and friends, guard your tongue around others who cheer for a different team. Words cannot be taken back. And words can hurt.
- We all have made mistakes. Learn from them and move on. The strife caused by sports is not necessary. We can have fun without turning into selfish people who lose their composure.
- Self-control is a direct fruit of the spirit in our lives. We are each responsible for our own behavior.
- If apologies are needed, be the first to step up and apologize.
- Evaluate how much time you spend arguing with someone over which team is the best. OR how much time you spend making comments about players, teams that suck. Yes, I said, “suck”.
- Family and friends are more important than football. Your team will not always win or be the best. Face it.
- Is it time to grow up and leave one-upmanship at the playground? Big bragging can backfire on you. No adult really wants to be viewed as a 6 year old.
- Evaluate your priorities. DO NOT LET THE SUCCESS OF YOUR TEAM BECOME AN IDOL OR A FOCUS IN YOUR LIFE……. EVERYONE HAS A RIGHT TO LOVE THEIR TEAM.
- Sometimes bantering about sports turns into personal jabs. Maybe there is something else going on between the two exchanging jabs. Is there some other issue that needs to be resolved? Do you really need to try and resolve it in the middle of a football game?
- Maybe the cause of the quarreling is coming from a little too much alcohol consumed while watching the game. ALCOHOL DEVASTATES AND IT GIVES PEOPLE A LOOSE TONGUE. WORDS FLY AND THEN COMES DEVASTATION…….
- Don’t put up with the behavior. Realizing you can only control your own behavior, you may need to walk away from a volatile situation. Or enjoy the game with others next time.
I know the list is long. But maybe it is time for a sports fan overhaul in many of us. Before the kick-off, examine your heart and make a change.
James 4:1, “What causes fights and quarrels among YOU? Don’t they come from YOUR DESIRE that BATTLES WITHIN YOU?”
Proverbs 17:17, “Starting a QUARREL is LIKE breaching a damn, SO DROP THE MATTER BEFORE A DISPUTE BREAKS OUT.”
PROVERBS 20:13, “IT IS TO A MAN’S HONOR TO AVOID STRIFE, BUT EVERY FOOL IS QUICK TO QUARREL.”
PROVERBS 15:1, “A gentle answer turns away wrath but a harsh words stir anger.”