My Love/Hate Relationship with Sports

People often ask me if there is anything I miss from the US during my time in Australia.  The only time something we really missed was during my first three months in Melbourne before the cable television was hooked up.  You see I’m a sports fanatic so having the sports cable package allowed me to watch all the prime time games (with a fourteen hour time difference), which cured any homesickness.

True watching Monday night football at 10:00 on a Tuesday morning wasn’t the same as seeing it back home with my dad as we lay on separate couches and only talked during commercials,   Editors Note:  phrases such as “look at that hit” or “that wasn’t a penalty!” are permissible,  However it reminded me of home in a time when I didn’t know many people in Melbourne.

Since sports are so important to me I am making sure to record game five of the NBA Finals tomorrow night, but not for the reason you may think.  It’s not just to watch the game, even though they have been awesome.  Not to have some friends over to watch it, because my favorite teams are playing, or to entertain myself since there is nothing else on TV.

I am recording it because Lebron James will most likely win the NBA Title tomorrow night…and I don’t want him too

Now please understand I don’t hate Lebron but have a serious problem with the way he moved from Cleveland to Miami.  It wasn’t the infamous “decision” that angers me where he chose to nationally televise his choice to leave Cleveland without telling them first.  It wasn’t even the press conference introducing him and other players that turned into a boy-band concert complete with music and choreographed dancing.  It was Lebron himself sitting on a stool and counting off on his fingers the five championships he was destined to win.

We enjoy it when our sports stars are confident; you have to be to succeed.  But there is a fine line between being confident and arrogant, and when someone crosses that line it bothers me.

A few weeks ago Doug Hawkins on wrote a very interesting article about hating other teams or specific players such as Lebron or Tiger Woods from a Christian perspective.  He points out “Sports hatred is deeply embedded in the American culture-as American as apple pie” and asks the important question, “is it all right for Gospel-bearers to participate in a culture of sports hatred?”  The answer to this is no of course but what I found fascinating is his reasons why sports hatred is such a huge part of our culture.

1.  Hatred is rooted in our sports jargon

2.  We link our own feeling of self-worth to the team’s success

3.  Sports is our cultures religion

4.  Key figures in America encourage sports hatred

5.  Rivalry is based upon hatred and hatred is good for business 

To read an explanation of these reasons and an interesting conversation about it in the comments section go to the sports section of

Being a sports fan and Christian doesn’t mean we have to cheer on every team or celebrate when our favorite player loses.  It’s about making sure we don’t become that person who goes too far, takes a loss too seriously, and begins hating a certain team or player.  So play well tomorrow night Lebron and win that championship in Miami (you deserve it) I promise to watch the entire game without throwing something at the TV.

Just don’t expect me to watch the celebration

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John Wilburn

Church planter, teacher, and disciple-maker in Barrouallie St. Vincent

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