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True Confessions

Feb 06, 2014 — Categories:

I love football. And I especially love football this week as my hometown Seattle Seahawks have brought home the Super Bowl trophy. (I also love baseball but that’s another season.) I have come to appreciate the elegance of the game itself, so many moving parts coming together to accomplish a goal, so many stories of kids who have made it through some hard knocks into manhood and learned the value of hard work, focus and what teamwork really means. I love the 12th Man and Woman which is what we call the fans here in Seattle, people from all over the region who are committed to this team and who undoubtedly contribute to its success on the field. I love Coach Carroll whose philosophy of positive reinforcement and working with players who are still works in progress has paid off big time. Other people in leadership might take note.

I love football. And I especially love football this week as my hometown Seattle Seahawks have brought home the Super Bowl trophy. (I also love baseball but that’s another season.) I have come to appreciate the elegance of the game itself, so many moving parts coming together to accomplish a goal, so many stories of kids who have made it through some hard knocks into manhood and learned the value of hard work, focus and what teamwork really means. I love the 12th Man and Woman which is what we call the fans here in Seattle, people from all over the region who are committed to this team and who undoubtedly contribute to its success on the field. I love Coach Carroll whose philosophy of positive reinforcement and working with players who are still works in progress has paid off big time. Other people in leadership might take note.

And I hate football. I hate the money, the bling, the overwhelming evidence of brain injury, and the emphasis on violence, the men behaving badly on the field and off, the microcosm of our culture of racism, sexism and homophobia that damages so many people.

So life is complicated.

What I have learned as a sports fan is that in the midst of the contradictions that professional sports represents, this is a reality that brings people together in spite of our politics, religion, race, gender or orientation. The polarization that defines American culture at this moment in history melts away as fans focus on athletic excellence and achievement.

I just watched 700,000 people celebrate in the streets of Seattle as the Seahawks parade made its way through downtown. For a moment today, in the bright sunshine, we shared the joy of accomplishment as a community in spite of our differences and struggles. That can’t be bad.

So I am prepared to continue to live in contradiction, rejoice in the moments we can celebrate together, and then get back to changing the world one day at a time.

Onward to the Winter Olympics games and the next opportunity to be challenged by the contradictions inherent in sports.

Rev. Dr. Marie M. Fortune
www.faithtrustinstitute.org
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football

Posted by Debra S. Michels at Feb 07, 2014 03:14 AM
I always read your blogs with interest, Reverend Marie, but I just can't see encouraging athletes to butt heads as though they were rams on a mountainside, when actually they are men with so much more depth and intelligence - encouraging athletes to do a sport that is bad for their bodies.

Maybe it's too great an exposure to Chinese martial arts as taught by an acupuncturist - a "sport" or a discipline that encourages work both on the body and also the emotions, mind, and spirit - combining body with meditation both Taoist and Buddhist -

I wish Christianity were also yoked with physical disciplines!
Yours truly, Me Again...

sports and health

Posted by Debra S. Michels at Feb 07, 2014 03:14 AM
P.S. - Debra Michels again - I also think our society or our culture should value men's bodies a whole heck of a lot more than we do now - I think sending them into battle, exposing them to a form of hell, or sending them into football - are both betrayals of them as whole people.

I'd really like to see a definition of masculinity that has lots of strength and courage both physical and emotional - but which doesn't just throw men away, by encouraging them to be violent or measuring their masculinity by how much violence they can either take or dish out.

Other countries and cultures already do this, and I'd really like to see ours do so, as well.

Football

Posted by Nancy Richardson at Feb 07, 2014 03:15 AM
Marie, I love this reflection. Partly because I, too, enjoy watching football -- a hold-over from high school band days -- AND hate football for all the reasons you say. Also because I was cheering for the Seahawks -- partly because in the Boston area, we know Coach Carroll is a decent guy, partly because we had seen the wonderful stories about Derrick Coleman, partly because Russ Wilson is not Peyton Manning (a nemesis of our Tom Brady)and as we learned Sunday seems to be a great guy in his own right. And mostly, because - as usual -- you put the conflicts out there to look and think about and live with. You're the best! Thank you, Nancy

Football

Posted by Judy Callahan at Feb 07, 2014 06:27 PM
Thank you once again for saying so clearly what I think! I love to watch the game of football, just not the injuries as one team tries to put the other out of commission during a game. I love our Coach Carroll, our enthusiastic, focused players, and the feeling of hometown pride as we celebrated this victory. Whoever came up with "the 12th Man (or Woman)"should get a gold star for the greatest PR idea ever. Here's what I hate: That the NFL has a tax exempt status like any church or charitable organization. Are you kidding me? The Church of Football? I don't begrudge them the money, I just think we "12th people" could use some of it given back to the community as taxes like the rest of us do.

Agreed!

Posted by Mary E Hanke at Feb 07, 2014 10:16 PM
I ditto all your comments, including re: the Olympics, but now we have to watch the Seahawks and their owners & managers dicker over money, with the push by those we have most respected in their playing to get more and more millions of dollars. Our society is so screwed up re: recompensing what is really an important contribution to society, e.g. teaching. Our emphasis turns ever more distance from the needs of children to the needs of men, and I do mean men. MH