Sports as religion?
Sports like religion?
Though I would mostly disagree with the claim that sports are literally a form of religion, as some scholars would attest, I certainly believe that sports – specifically professional sports – have characteristics of and fulfil some religious functions.
Myths, legends, ritual and tradition, sacrifice, sacred sites, ineffability, and community. These words conjure up thoughts of experiencing religion just as much as they do of sports.
I’m curious if Christians are aware of and if they should participate in the “religion of sports”.
Following a team: the stats, scores, and players (and their twitters’), being glued to the TV, Internet, or a smartphone (yes, there’s an app for that) for the latest information on trades, rumours, news, prospects (reading the paper and sports magazines works too), wearing a jersey (or something more extravagant), regularly attending games (often with a rather high ticket price),
None of these things seem inherently bad.
But, as a Christian, I question whether professional sports are taking too much our time and if it is a god – how much do these things mean to us?
I question whether we should be proud of, cheering for, and supporting organisations that: spend (tens or hundreds of) millions of dollars on players salaries, commodify people (athletes), promote violence or suffering of self for ‘winning’ (though making money is actually the goal of the organisation), as well as promote the sexualisation of women, the achievement of stardom, and the ethic of winning above all else.
What do you think?
To note: I’m very much in favour of sports on a local and/or amateur level. Fitness is important and there is plenty of fun to be had! I love playing intramural hockey and ultimate frisbee.