I watched South Carolina pull off the upset of #1 Kentucky in basketball and was so ecstatic. If I had been there I would have stormed the court, $25,000 fine or not. But then perspective hits me – how many poor people could be helped with $25,000? How many Haitian orphans could have their lives changed? Why don’t people storm the church? Interesting!
Why do we spend so much money on coaches’ salaries; i.e., Lane Kiffin? It’s a big business when we see players jump ship to the NFL like Sidney Rice, or the three “one & done” freshmen players for UK who were being scouted by a dozen or more NBA scouts the other night. SO, college athletics is very often NOT about an education. It’s about making a buck for the school, the player, the agent, or somebody.
Yet, so many people love sports! I’m one of them! Sports events are distractions from everyday life. Maybe the reason sports figures are so overpaid is that they give us a taste of immortality, a momentary, if fleeting, adrenaline rush, a release of endorphins that carries us beyond the mundane difficulties of daily life. Why else would we call Super Bowl Sunday “super”?
I have wondered for some time about the connection between sports figures’ salaries and the salaries of people in helping professions. The teachers who help the players make the minimum score to even play ball are paid a miniscule amount in comparison. Is there a valid reason for the difference in pay? Is it the danger that athletes face, or is it the difference in the pay-off for the spectator?
Unfortunately, I think it is the latter more than the former. Why don’t people get as excited in classrooms and sanctuaries as they do in stadiums and arenas? I was often thrilled with being in a classroom, at least in the subjects that resonated with my passions. Often it was because the teacher was an exceptional communicator or person. If the teacher or preacher was dull it was hard to be enthused. Using the criteria of relevance or quality of teaching, being thrilled in church should be an automatic occurrence.
Jesus Christ is far superior to any teacher, preacher, or sports star ever known. And Jesus is better than any coach, too. Former football great Henry Jordan was quite revealing when he talked about playing under coaching great, Vince Lombardi, the coach for whom the super Bowl Trophy is named. Henry Jordan said about Lombardi, “He treats us all the same – like dogs!” That was his most quoted line, but Henry Jordan had others almost as good: “I play for the love of the game, the love of the money, and the fear of Lombardi.” He also said, “When he says, ‘Sit down,’ I don’t look for a chair.”
What do we say about Jesus? Does talk of Christ and the Kingdom salt our conversations? What are our stories of Jesus like? Do they reveal our passion and hero-worship? Does Jesus command our respect, our loyalty? Does He get our adrenaline pumping and our endorphins flowing? If He doesn’t, then it’s not Jesus’ fault because Jesus is no wimp.
Jesus is like a legendary coach, superstar player, and Teacher of the Year rolled into one. Coach Bum Phillips once philosophized: “There’s only two kinds of coaches, them that’s been fired and them that’s about to be fired.” Jesus supersedes both categories and is beyond compare! He’s never had a losing season. He’s always a winner, and there’s nothing that He can’t handle. As Christians, we’re playing for the Jesus Trophy! People should sense that kind of excitement in our sanctuaries, our homes, and our schools – wherever we might be. Maybe then sports will become just one of many ways that people get their juices flowing. Maybe then everyone in every job will be paid for how well they represent Jesus, the Author of Greatness. I’m waiting for a $25,000 fine for people storming a sanctuary. What an idea!