Football season is here in full force. I can tell because my Facebook newsfeed has blown up with friends donning their team’s logos and colors. Every commercial on TV seems to have a brown leather ball as its centerpiece. Pee wee league, high school, college and pretty soon, NFL. My Sunday afternoon background nap music suddenly becomes announcers commentating, whistles blowing and crowd noise–sometimes cheering, sometimes booing. Nothing puts me to sleep faster, except golf, of course.
For the first time in my life though, I’m really trying to learn this game. Not because I want to grow closer to my husband (or son, for that matter), although hopefully those things will happen. It’s not because I feel I’m missing out (hey, I’ve made it this long clueless!) I’m only trying to learn the game of football because of my new job. I’ve discovered when you’re a reporter for a hometown newspaper, sports are a major part of the writing. Football has quickly become my nemesis.
So, I’ve read a few self-help articles. Football for Dummies. Beginner’s Guide to Football. And it’s still Greek to me. It’s amazing that my son just “picked it up” by watching hours and hours of this with his dad. I’ve spent at least the same amount of time and have little to nothing to show for it. (Sidenote: Don’t underestimate the power of motivation in learning).
Now, I am motivated. It’s one thing to be in a room full of people (all football aficionados) who are watching the game together and disguise your lack of knowledge. Clap when they clap, moan when they moan. It’s quite another to be responsible for writing down what you witness and give the entire town the opportunity to realize you’re an imposter.
Since I’ve had football on my mind recently, I’ve identified 3 types of people in every stadium:
- Spectator – neutral – just there watching it all .
- Fair-weather fan – one that shows up as long as it’s easy – home games – winning streak – popular thing to do.
- Fanatics – they go all out – could care less what anyone else thinks of them – is only there to cheer on the team, win or lose. They know the stats, the players and could recite the rule book, if needed.
Just because you wear the correct colored jersey, sport the team’s hat and ring a cowbell doesn’t make you a true fan or knowledgeable about your team.
Actually, it makes you a hypocrite, doesn’t it? A person who puts on a false appearance. I admit I’ve been that person that pretends they know and follow the team, but they don’t really. Yet we don’t ostracize football fans that way, do we? We accept one and all, as long as they’re cheering for the “right” team — ours!
I think churches have the same types of people in their pews.
- Spectator – neutral – just there watching it all. Not involved and easily distracted. They come and go, with no real commitment.
- Fair-weather fan – one that shows up as long as it’s easy and convenient. If there’s no better offer on Sunday, they’ll come to church. .Or, if church is going ‘their’ way, they’ll come.
- Fanatics – they go all out – could care less what anyone else thinks of them – is only there to cheer on the team, win or lose. They are familiar with the rule book too (the Bible) and often recite it. Their faith might take a licking but it keeps on ticking. They have their eyes on the prize and won’t stop till they get it.
So, there may be some hypocrites among us, but as long as their cheering for God’s team, let’s not ostracize them. Instead, maybe we can encourage them to grow into a true blue fanatic!