Category: Sports

The prophetic subversion of “I’m just here so I don’t get fined”

In his (required) pre-Super Bowl press conference last week, Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch simultaneously delighted fans and frustrated reporters by responding to every question with the same statement: “I’m just here so I don’t get fined.” In their Super Bowl special Friday night, Key and Peele exaggerated his avant-garde press conference, replying instead, “Biscuits and…  [more]

Janay Rice on mistakes and/or sin

If it is a mistake to forget your wife’s birthday, what might we call it if you punch her and drag her from an elevator unconscious? Is this, too, a mistake? This is the question raised by an interview given by Janay Rice following news that the NFL has reinstated her husband, Ray Rice, to play football once again. And it is a question that should be raised by each of us as we watch to see how team owners and…  [more]

What price glory? Parsing the mixed messages of sports celebrations

This week the NFL spawned a heated debate about who can be worshipped in the end zone. During Monday’s routing of the New England Patriots, Husain Abdullah, a safety for the Kansas City Chiefs, intercepted a Tom Brady pass and returned it for a touchdown. His performance was the talk of social media. No, not his athletic performance, but rather the fact that he fell to his knees after scoring and bowed his…  [more]

Adrian Peterson’s prayer group

What was that little red “O” doing behind Adrian Peterson’s name on the Web page for my fantasy football team? “Out.” What was this? There had been no hint of an injury leading up to the weekend’s slate of NFL games. What was going on with “my” best player? As further reports would reveal, Peterson – star running back for the Minnesota Vikings – had been…  [more]

LeBron James’ letter: great PR or a new take on greatness?

When news of “The Letter” broke, I was listening to Colin Cowherd’s show on ESPN radio. LeBron James’ declaration that he would return home to play for the Cleveland Cavaliers was not only brilliantly handled, I thought, but also authentic. With a little distance from the celebrated letter, though, I can’t help but wonder how well James himself matches up with the narrative that his…  [more]

Prison runs and Paul’s urge to race

The people at Oregon State Penitentiary have an interesting way to rehabilitate offenders. Once monthly from spring through fall, the maximum-security institution hosts runners from the local community who compete alongside 150 eligible inmates in races behind the prison walls. Since its inception during the 1970s through the efforts of Olympic runner Steve Prefontaine, the annual program has given inmates a healthy…  [more]

Jesus didn’t tap – but would He have even played?

As I child, I loved Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. The only coloring book I still remember owning was a Power Rangers collection as thick as a phone book. As a young boy I loved to play fight and invent invisible enemies I would defeat with my wickedly awesome fighting skills. My parents saw this as a stage and, sure enough, they were right. Despite my young obsession with the Power Rangers, I have never understood…  [more]

Why World Cup whining is blind to the beauty of sports

The World Cup reaps its harvest in summertime. With each Cup, a fresh crop of fans spring from the earth like overnight mushrooms. Every fourth summer, flags and patriotic t-shirts and beach towels are snappily unfurled from dormancy. After the Olympics, this is the golden hour of international unfurling. In addition to all the fair weather patriot-fans, the World Cup elicits its share of soccer critics,…  [more]

Pre-game prayers: worship, witness or showing off?

With the NBA playoffs underway, the Oklahoma City Thunder have garnered attention for more than their stellar play. As the New York Times reports, the pre-game ritual at Chesapeake Energy Arena includes a prayer of invocation. Although the team asks that the prayer be generic and nondenominational, some who offer the invocation are quite specific. Given that Oklahoma is 73% Protestant and 9% Roman Catholic, it may…  [more]

How a stadium convinced me to like baseball

I don’t usually like baseball. Living in Pittsburgh probably hasn’t helped, considering the Pittsburgh Pirates only recently ended their record-setting streak of consecutive losing seasons. Still, I have been to a few games at PNC Park, home of the Pirates, and it is the stadium itself that has won me over. Typically, when I walk into situations where I am surrounded by large numbers of people, my…  [more]

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