I used to be a huge sports fan but my enthusiasm has gradually waned over the years. I started following the New York Knicks in 1968, the San Diego (now Los Angeles) Chargers in 1969, and the San Diego Padres in 1970. All three teams have had some good runs here and there but there’s only been a total of two championships between all three teams in 50 years (the 1970 & 1973 Knicks). If you enjoy winning, these three teams would definitely be the wrong teams to ride.
The opening of the baseball season began Monday with the usual results. The
Dodger$ ($230 million payroll) clobbered the Padres ($69 million payroll), 14-3*. Ho-hum. What else is new? General Manager, A. J. Preller, couldn’t win with past-their-prime free agents (e.g., Matt Kemp, Justin Upton) the previous two seasons, so now he’s going with the kids (the Pads have the 2nd-youngest team in MLB). The only “star” on the team, 26-year-old first baseman, Wil Myers, is outspoken about his faith in Jesus Christ. Now that’s what I’m talking about!!!
But what about the Padres’ mascot, the Swinging Friar? I have to admit, I’m not a big fan of the Padres’ name, their mascot, or their nickname, the “Friars.” Isn’t it ironic that an ex-Catholic saved by the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ alone would follow a team named after the Catholic mission priests of California? Oh well. I don’t think it’s all that objectionable. Similar things like this are scattered throughout our culture like the days of the week and the months of the year being named after pagan gods.
The prognosticators don’t expect a lot from the young Friars this season but that’s par for the course. The last time they had a winning record was 2010.
Many of America’s men have made sports their religion. They look to their favorite teams for their identity, pleasure, and fulfillment. Even some Christian men have made sports into an idol. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying sports or other forms of entertainment but when they take a preeminent place in our hearts, that’s a problem. When we get to glory we certainly won’t care one single iota about what team won the last Super Bowl, World Series, NBA championship, or Stanley Cup. Some guys can’t comprehend that. Ladies, I didn’t forget about you. You’ve got your idols, too! There’s a lot of things we take extremely seriously here in the world that won’t amount to a hill of beans in Heaven.
*Postscript: The Padres actually beat the Dodgers, 4-0, in the second game of the opening series.