Did you know that the word "fan" comes from the word "fanatic"? Which itself comes from the word "fanum" meaning "temple" ooh, religious undergurdings there, which brings me to the subject of Sport . . . The word "sport" is an abbreviation of the word "disport" which means "to amuse oneself"."
Disport comes from the Latin, "des" meaning "away" and "porto" meaning "carry", and in its original sense it meant "to be carried away", or more loosely, "to be carried away from the work at hand." Put another way, to be involved with "sport" is "to be diverted from the task at hand", again from the Latin "diverto" - "di" "away from" and "verto" - turn, literally "to be turned away from the serious work of the day." Now . . . where can I go with that I wonder ???
You know it troubles me deeply - DEEPLY - the gross amounts of golden tributes and media saturated worshipful accolades cast at the feet of sporting men and women. 18 year old tennis notable, Maria Sharapova who ‘earns’ $26 Million a year was seen stepping out onto the Wimbledon court in 2005 wearing a pair of Nike shoes valued at $1.2 Million. How can anyone justify such a vulgar extravagance?
Some years ago I saw a picture in the paper a few years back of NSW Premier Bob Carr on his knees before Kathy Freeman following the Sydney Olympics and I thought, "How utterly pathetic". We are a culture obsessed with sport. Obscene amounts of money for mere "games." And that's what they are for those who've lost their perspective - GAMES! Something for amusement, but my how it has become obsession, even religious obsession - Tony "God-ra"? Malcolm "The Messiah" Blight?. Do you remember that? Oh that was years ago Tony . . . Wayne Carey - the King??? Give me a break!
I have this little picture of Judgement Day spinning around in my head and there before the Almighty stands a "Monday's Expert", otherwise known as a "Sports Fanatic". And the Lord says to him, "Tell me child, while the poor begged for the want of food in the cities of the affluent, where were you? While those without homes huddled beneath the pages of the daily news on the park benches of darkened city streets, where were you? While that desperate soul cried out for a reason to face another day, where were you? For I say to you most assuredly, in as much as you did not do to the very least of these you did not do to me also. So tell me child, what did you do with the time I gave you." Then comes the whispered answer in hushed, ashamed tones, "Watching the footy" Hmmm!
I like sport don't get me wrong, what I'm talking about here is balance. And it seems to me that there are sooooo many professing believers who know more about the AFL ladder than they do about Jacob's. I've even heard preachers announcing the footy scores from the pulpit!
There's a place for sport and that's on the field, give it a rest when it comes to the gathering of God's people eh! Someone once told me that "Your God is what your thoughts return to at night" - So True!. If your "sport" kisses you goodnight, in other words if that's where your thoughts return by default then my friend you are engaged in what the Bible calls Idolatry, no matter how you butter it up or water it down, no matter how you seek to justify it or excuse it, that's what it is!
The ancient languages bear testimony against the sports fanatic. Art for art's sake. Sport for sport's sake. But there is only ONE God for heaven's sake. Just in case it slipped some minds.