Growing in Holiness Through Sports Pain

growing-in-holiness-through-sports-painBy the end of the regular season the Texas Rangers, my favorite Major League Baseball team, had the best record in the American League earning them home field advance throughout the playoffs. Good stuff!

And since the American League won the All Star game this year the Rangers would also enjoy home field advantage during the World Series. Really good stuff!

The Rangers also have two of the best starting pitchers in all of baseball – Cole Hamels and Yu Darvish. Add in postseason veterans like Adrian Beltre and Carlos Beltran and, man, things looked great for the Rangers chance to make some serious noise this October!

Well, as you may already know, the Rangers flopped in a major way. In fact, they were swept by the Toronto Blue Jays in 3 straight games.

Boom. Season over.

My Sports Addiction

Now, as I’ve written about before, I’ve struggled with an unhealthy sports addiction in the past and this was most definitely something I focused on during the 90-day Exodus purification process I went through.

In fact this was the first baseball postseason I’ve experienced post Exodus so I was curious to see how I handled it. Now, I did watch the games but it was different this year. Sure I was disappointed to see the Rangers get smoked… but it didn’t destroy me like it would have in the past.

I even found myself counseling some of my die-hard Rangers friends who were overly worked up about the situation. I couldn’t help but see my old self in their anger, frustration, and, at times, despair.

Obviously, there are FAR bigger issues in this world than your sports team losing. Take the train wreck of a Presidential election we’re forced to deal with as just one example.

But I don’t think you have to give sports watching up altogether. In fact, I’d argue being a fan of sports is great way to grow in holiness… allow me to explain.

Loyalty

First, being a sports fan can help you practice the concept of loyalty. Do you stick with your team through thick and thin no matter what or do you jump on and off the so-called “bandwagon” based on the team’s performance?

Being a loyal person is obviously important in many areas of life most especially being loyal and true to our Catholic faith. You see, it’s really easy to be a bandwagon Catholic… sometimes referred to as Cafeteria Catholicism where you take a little of what you like and avoid everything you don’t like. This isn’t the way to sainthood or heaven!

Instead, we need to be loyal to all the precepts of our faith no matter the situation and I contend being loyal to our favorite sports teams is an easy way to practice.

Patience

Next, patience is one of the 7 Contrary/Heavenly Virtues. Specifically, patience can help us to counter the deadly sin of anger.

The city of Boston waited 86 years to see their Red Sox win the 2004 World Series. That took a lot of patience!

Likewise, the Texas Rangers have never won the World Series! So, yes, being a Rangers fan is most definitely affording many people the opportunity to practice patience.

Obviously, no one likes to practice patience… getting angry is so much easier… but, again, anger only leads to sin and spiritual death while patience is the way to virtue.

So, my fellow Rangers fan, please stay loyal and have patience. Our time will come!

Temperance

Finally, the Cardinal Virtue of temperance is typically thought of in contrast to the deadly sin of gluttony and can best be described as “moderation” or “practicing self-control.”

The temperate person masters his or her ability to not over indulge when it comes to pleasures of the world such as food, drink, and entertainment.

And, let’s face it, for most of us, watching sports is nothing more than a form of entertainment. So, if you don’t place your love of sports in the proper perspective you can very easily over indulge in them leading to sinful behavior.

So, yes, I believe being a fan of sports is a fine way to practice loyalty, patience, and temperance. Do you agree?

Until next time… be holy, eat clean, and do more push-ups!