My level of interest in sports of all kinds is at the same level as the Dali Lama's interest in Philly Cheesesteak sandwiches.
When I served parishes in Massachusetts I feigned a passion for the Boston Red Sox and the New England Patriots. I did so for reasons of job security.
(Of course I am mildly pleased when my home teams [Red Sox, Patriots, Bristol City Football Club] do well, but there is nothing passionate about my pleasure).
In these United States there is much ado and twitter about the possibility that the said New England Patriots used slightly under-inflated footballs in their recent game against the Indianapolis Colts, allegedly to give them some game advantage.
The "twittersphere" is already replete with the postings of a million or so experts; lining up, expounding their theories, taking sides, and saying nothing.
I am sure that you have read this dreary story. If it was the case that the footballs were deliberately under-inflated, then the Patriots would be guilty of cheating.
Cheating in sports? Say it's not so!
Why am I not surprised?
It seems to me that the whole "business" of sport is utterly susceptible to corruption, and that it often corrupts the athletes themselves.
I think in particular of American Football ( at the professional and college levels - and maybe even in high school football).
I think of Baseball in the U.S.A.; of Premier League Football in England; of the World Cup and FIFA; and of the entire Olympic boondoggle.
Back in Massachusetts I would regularly tune in to radio station WBUR to the one sports' show which I found to be worth hearing. Hosted by Bill Littlefield the programme is called "It's only a Game".
Would to God that we could say of all sports "It's only a Game". That would give us a wise perspective. Poor naïve me.
(In the interests of fairness in reporting. I must add that organized religions are also utterly susceptible to corruption, which often corrupts the religious leaders themselves.)
Speaking of God and Sports it is now commonplace in the U.S.A. (and other places) for athletes to give public thanks to God for their successes. I find this to be utterly pathetic, so I am grateful to Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers who is wise.
See this from the L.A. Times:
"God probably isn't a big football fan, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers suggested Tuesday during a radio interview.
Still feeling the sting of defeat from the Packers' loss to the Seattle Seahawks in the NFC championship game Sunday, Rodgers - who has said he is religious - was asked if such a big loss shakes his faith, since it is commonplace for athletes to thank God or to say God intervened when they win.
Rodgers didn't mince words.
"I don't think God cares a whole lot about the outcome," Rodgers said. "He cares about the people involved, but I don't think he's a big football fan."
While that statement may not seem noteworthy to some, it may raise eyebrows.
Rarely does an athlete, especially a professional, say God had nothing to do with the outcome of a game.
In fact, Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson - an outspoken Christian - told reporter Peter King that a divine influence made Sunday's barnburner so exciting.
"That's God setting it up, to make it so dramatic, so rewarding, so special," Wilson said, according to King. "I've been through a lot in life, and had some ups and downs. It's what's led me to this day."
Still, Rodgers made it clear during media day before Super Bowl XLV where he stood on his faith.
"I just try to follow Jesus' example, leading by example," Rodgers said."
(From the L.A. Times via Karen G-R)
Thank you Aaron. Think again Russell.
I end with humour, via my Pittsfield friend and colleague the Revd. Richard Floyd.
His nephew, Ben Floyd, works for the Boston Coffee Co., who were quick off the mark and created "Deflated Football Cookies".