Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Confessions of a Sports Fan (and Pastor)

I root for Tiger Woods. I root against Tim Tebow. And I’m on the Lin bandwagon.

Sunday afternoon I paced back and forth in front of my
television as I watched Tiger Woods finish his final round at the Honda Classic. Other than the fact that he didn’t win, it was vintage Tiger. And I loved it. My daughter Tyler has always been my golf watching buddy. Sunday it
was fun for us to watch Tiger play like the old Tiger. It felt like the good ol’ days that I thought were gone. I wasn’t thinking about his infidelities and hubris. And to be honest, I never gave any thought to whether he was a good husband or dad “before the accident”. Truth be told, I don’t really care now. I never cared if he was
a role model. I didn’t need him to be. My kids don’t need him to be. Sure, a couple of years ago when my daughter asked me what people were saying about Tiger Woods, I cringed a bit when telling her that Tiger started acting like he was married other women besides his wife (serial adultury and dirtbaggery are tough to explain to an eight year old). That’s why I don’t root for Tiger Wood’s personal life. Just his golf life.

I root for Tim Tebow’s personal life. Not his football career. I am a Seminole. He killed us when he was at Florida- roostering up and down the sideline with garnet field paint on his face pumping his team up. I shudder to even mention it. I root for him to lose. At football. But I would be deeply saddened if he took ABC’s bid for him to be the next Bachelor. It would break my heart if he started making out with a few desperate gold-diggers in front of millions of people. It’ll never happen. And that’s why I root for his personal life. I hope he tanks in the NFL. And I’m pretty sure he will. I also hope he goes to prisons and shares Jesus with folks. I hope he spends years in the Philippines with orphans and widows. I hope he dethrones Mother Theresa in the “Least of These” Hall of Fame.

I’ve got a bad case of Linsanity. I love him. I love the story of a really good basketball player who was overlooked in high school, college, and the NBA because he is Asian. I love the fact the he didn’t quit, that he worked his butt off, and that he finally got his. I loved the pride that I saw in so many of my Asian American friends when ESPN was Linsane in the membrane for two weeks. I jumped on the bandwagon for what he was doing for the game of basketball. And when I found out later that he was a devout Christian who was considering career ministry, it didn’t faze me. I didn’t like him more. I didn’t like him less. I just worried about him more. Overnight fame, the promise of millions, and New York City are a terrible combination- every time. I would hate for Jeremy Lin’s sports success to infringe on his faith success- which is usually in a much healthier environment when it is incubated in struggle.

I want God’s Kingdom to grow through the work of His church. I enjoy sports. Those things do not mean I root for Christians to succeed in sports because they’re Christian. That also doesn’t mean I root against worldly pagans in sports because they’re worldly pagans. God will glorify Himself as God sees fit. If he does it through humbling a vain golfer, elevating a mediocre quarterback, or having the world notice an unnoticed point guard then that’s God’s business. However, God can also glorify Himself in the empty success of vanity, in the humiliation of one of His children, and in the train wreck that comes from overnight fame. I want God’s glory to shine. I don’t care so much how He chooses to do it. So in the meanwhile, Go Tiger! Fail Timmy! And hold on tight Super Lintendo!