I have loved sports my entire life. I’m sure that a majority of American men can probably make that statement as well. Games, no matter what sport hold so much meaning for us. They are where we are taught life lessons, learn who we are as a person, bond us as friends and family, and present us with memories that last a lifetime. It is almost part of the American dream. Every little boy relishes that first game of catch with their dad, their first MLB/NFL/NBA/NHL/etc. game, and at some point, thinks about all of those things for his own son. To many of us, sports are an idyllic world that serves our fantasies, helps create our identity, and helps create our community. They do many of the things that organized religion do without as much of the dogma and spiritualism.
As a young American male, sports became a passion for me early on. I followed almost anything that was on television and that has blossomed into a major part of my life now. It really doesn’t even matter who is playing anymore, if there’s a game on somewhere, I’ll probably turn it on. It’s also a land of dreams for me. As a guy who is active but was never good enough at any sport to come anywhere near talented enough to play past high school, I see things I wish I could physically do but get great pleasure from seeing others do. As pathetic as it sounds, I have become more attached to game schedules than almost anything else. On Saturdays in the fall, I will do just about anything to make sure that I can see both Ohio State’s and Bowling Green’s game. There are three TVs in my living room right now for the purpose of watching 3 games at once. To cut a long story short, I am devoted, devoted enough to declare my personal religion to be sports. The passion on game day, to me, is the same as the religious exuberance that some people experience during intense church services or other spiritual experiences. I happen to believe that I’m not the only one who feels this way. So in thinking about all of this, I hope to present documentation for those who worship at the altar of competition, who see stadiums as cathedrals, and for whom game day is a holy day. This week, I’ll present our calendar, dogma, and rules for worshiping in the religion of sports.