Pre-Game Jitters and Prayer

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Should I pray about the Gamecocks’ game against the University of Southen Mississippi tonight? I’ve got the jitters. It’s 5 hours or more before the kick-off and I’m already dressed in my team colors, hat is on my head, and my “Beat Southern Miss” sticker is on my favorite Gamecock shirt. I’m going to pick up my brother at Bojangles and head to our parking spot and I’m a little freaked. Our mantra year after year is “Wait until next Year!” Well, this is next year. I’m going to pray, but I hope with some priority perspective.

The longest prayer I ever heard, and I mean ever, was at a high school football game. A pastor in that small town had evidently been saving up for his big chance to pray under the “Friday Night Lights.” He prayed for the football players, the referees, the coaches, the assistant coaches, the cheerleaders, the bands, the parents, the teachers, the school administrators, and the highway patrol officers who were directing traffic. No joke, he prayed so long and for so many people that the game started 20 minutes late!

Don’t get me wrong! I’m all for prayer, and “Sweet Hour of Prayer” is one of my favorite hymns. Nevertheless, prayer at sporting events bothers me, and it’s not just because I’m such a stickler about the separation of church and state. I think my problem stems from being a University of South Carolina Gamecock fan. I grew up going to all the games. I heard Dr. Lauren Brubaker of U.S.C.’s Religion Department pray at every game year after year. Here’s my problem as a U.S.C. fan. If you pray for the best team to win, that’s probably the other team. If you pray for nobody to get hurt, that might negate Carolina’s only hope of winning. Bottom line, I agree with Hall of Fame catcher, Yogi Berra. Once, when a batter stepped into the box and made the sign of the cross, Yogi said to him, “Let’s just leave God outta this, okay?”

Okay, I yield. I know prayer helps us in everything, but really… should we pray for our team to win? There’s an anonymous tongue-in-cheek story that puts this question in perspective: “Jesus Christ said he had never been to a football game. So we took him to one, my friends and I. It was a ferocious battle between the Protestant Punchers and the Catholic Crusaders. The Crusaders scored first. Jesus cheered wildly and threw his hat high up in the air. Then the Punchers scored. And Jesus cheered wildly and threw his hat high up in the air. This seemed to puzzle the man behind us. He tapped Jesus on the shoulder and asked, “Which side are you rooting for, my good man?” “Me?” replied Jesus, visibly excited by the game. “Oh, I’m not rooting for either side. I’m just enjoying the game.” The questioner turned to his neighbor and sneered, “Hmm, an atheist.”

Is God an atheist when it comes to sports? What harm is there in praying for good results about a game, a great round of golf, or a super outing on the lake? The answer is, “Nothing,” unless we take God’s apparent disregard or ambivalence to our request as indifference. God cares, for sure, about every facet of our lives, but maybe God has bigger fish to fry than who wins the game, and God expects us to be the cooks. Luke DeRoeck put it this way in a letter to the editor of Sports Illustrated, “To suggest that God really cares about the outcome of a sporting event is preposterous. Conservatively, 20 million people in the United States went to bed hungry on Super Bowl Sunday. A God who cares about the outcome of the Super Bowl is not a God I ever want to meet.”

Being a good sports fan is great. I know I love my team. Being a disciple, however, is more important than anything! That God is God and the Gamecocks are not will hopefully calm my pre-game jitters. We’ll see.

A Week in Omaha

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It’s been a while since I blogged. I know that most of you have been keeping up with Narcie through her blog at http://narciejeter.wordpress.com and that you have heard her good news. Her tumor is not malignant; it’s stage 2 not 3 or 4 (although I wish had been a stage 1). The Tumor Board will meet next week to determine the next course of action. We appreciate your prayers and keep them coming. This thing has the potential of growing back and she will have MRI’s every few months to keep track of it.

Last week after I had done all the “busy” things that I could do to keep from crying, Caleb and I headed to Omaha, Nebraska for the College World Series. Those of you who know me are quite aware how much I love college baseball. This is my fourth trip to the CWS, 2002, 2003, 2004, and now for Rosenblatt Stadium’s last season. Caleb and I have an adventure. We always do! Maybe the low point was sleeping on the pavement in the rain to exchange general admission tickets for reserve seats. We/I have been to all the games, and the days are running into each other in my mind. Last night’s thriller against Oklahoma was UNBELIEVABLE! We won in the bottom of the 12th with 2 outs.

We play Clemson tonight at 8 and I don’t have my tickets yet – freaking a little bit about that, but it will work out. It got into the 60’s and I wass too beat to sleep on the pavement again. We’re staying about 3 miles from the stadium at Lake Manawa State Park, $11 a night and eating on the cheap. This has been a good distraction from all of Narcie’s drama though I’ve been calling numerous times a day. The proof of that is that the only time I’ve cried in since all this with her started was on Wednesday when she called and gave me the report. These were tears of joy. My little/big girl may get to live and I’m so grateful to God. I’m grateful that Caleb is here with me, too, and the rest of you have been as well.

By the way, since Cindy comes from a big Clemson family, and Josh graduated from there, I made the fateful promise not to pull against Clemson unless they were playing Carolina. I’ve kept my promise, but NOT tonight. We have to beat them the next two days in order to get into the Championship series that starts Monday. Go Gamecocks! This what sports was meant for: to give you a minor distraction from life, and that sports shouldn’t be a life unto itself. Fullness of life can only come from Christ, that I know!

Anyway, thanks to everyone for your prayers and keep them coming for Narcie.

Should I Pray for My Team

The longest prayer I ever heard, and I mean ever, was at a high school football game. A pastor in that small town had evidently been saving up for his big chance to pray under the “Friday Night Lights.” He prayed for the football players, the referees, the coaches, the assistant coaches, the cheerleaders, the bands, the parents, the teachers, the school administrators, and the highway patrol officers who were directing traffic. No joke, he prayed so long and for so many people that the game started 20 minutes late!

Don’t get me wrong! I’m all for prayer, and “Sweet Hour of Prayer” is one of my favorite hymns. Nevertheless, prayer at sporting events bothers me, and it’s not just because I’m such a stickler about the separation of church and state. I think my problem stems from being a University of South Carolina Gamecock fan. I grew up going to all the games. I heard Dr. Lauren Brubaker of U.S.C.’s Religion Department pray at every game year after year. Here’s my problem as a U.S.C. fan. If you pray for the best team to win, that’s probably the other team. If you pray for nobody to get hurt, that might negate Carolina’s only hope of winning. Bottom line, I agree with Hall of Fame catcher, Yogi Berra. Once, when a batter stepped into the box and made the sign of the cross, Yogi said to him, “Let’s just leave God outta this, okay?”
Okay, I yield. I know prayer helps us in everything, but really… should we pray for our team to win? There’s an anonymous tongue-in-cheek story that puts this question in perspective: “Jesus Christ said he had never been to a football game. So we took him to one, my friends and I. It was a ferocious battle between the Protestant Punchers and the Catholic Crusaders. The Crusaders scored first. Jesus cheered wildly and threw his hat high up in the air. Then the Punchers scored. And Jesus cheered wildly and threw his hat high up in the air. This seemed to puzzle the man behind us. He tapped Jesus on the shoulder and asked, “Which side are you rooting for, my good man?” “Me?” replied Jesus, visibly excited by the game. “Oh, I’m not rooting for either side. I’m just enjoying the game.” The questioner turned to his neighbor and sneered, “Hmm, an atheist.”
Is God an atheist when it comes to sports? What harm is there in praying for good results about a game, a great round of golf, or a super outing on the lake? The answer is, “Nothing,” unless we take God’s apparent disregard or ambivalence to our request as indifference. God cares, for sure, about every facet of our lives, but maybe God has bigger fish to fry than who wins the game, and God expects us to be the cooks. Luke DeRoeck put it this way in a letter to the editor of Sports Illustrated, “To suggest that God really cares about the outcome of a sporting event is preposterous. Conservatively, 20 million people in the United States went to bed hungry on Super Bowl Sunday. A God who cares about the outcome of the Super Bowl is not a God I ever want to meet.”
 
Being a good sports fan is great. I know I love my team. Being a disciple, however, is more important than anything!