Friday, October 19, 2007

Take one for the team

As an athelete, I watch a lot of sports. I am always seeing atheletes praying. Some teams pray as a group. Some pray to themselves when they score a run or a touchdown or a goal. I have prayed with my team mates as a team before games, and I have prayed quietly to myself before games or matches. When I see it happening, the question comes to my mind that everyone has asked themselves. Does God take sides? Does He root for a single team during the duels that attract so much public attention? My answer to this is, directly, no, but passively, possibly. It's a touchy subject, and a tough one to answer, and obviously no one knows for sure. I believe that God is involved, but He doesn't take sides.

God created all people. He must be equally good to all of us. Anyone who has ever played a sport has experienced victory, and also defeat. Loss may be more common in some sports than others, but where there is a winner in sports, there must be a loser. We can't always tie.

When a team wins, it is not because God was rooting for them. He is too powerful and present in all things to take sides in sports. That does not mean, however, that he is completely removed from the outcomes. God created some people with more natural athletic ability than others. He also created ones more natural work ethic than others. There are those that are naturally talented and "destined", if you will, to do well in sports. On the other hand, those whom He blessed with natural ability were often not blessed with the other characteristics needed to make a great athelete, and therefore waste their talents. The point is, those who have a good combination of the traits needed will more often then not experience victory more than defeat. Sometimes God places these atheletes with teams of people whom God did not bless. Other times the atheletes find themselves with a team of other atheletes like them, and everything clicks, and these teams go far. Sometimes it is the coach who gets blessed and is sent to change a group of atheletes who have what it takes, but don't know it. I could go on and on with different scenarios. Gods atheletes are the ones who do the most with what God gave them. He sets the mold, and from there it is up to His creation to decide how far they will go.

Another religious aspect of sports is the praying, and here God is also passively involved. God does not answer the prayer directly, but it is He who allowed prayer to bring hope and confidence to those who pray. Prayer in groups can inspire more team unity, and a team that acts more as one during competition has a better chance of winning. Those who pray individually often gain more hope and self confidence, traits that never hurt when playing sports. When one side has team unity, faith, hope, and confidence, and the other team lacks those things, it is easy to see which team will come out on top.

Religion helps in sports. I believe that is a fact. But it is not because of God directly that makes religion help. It is the people, the atheletes, who play do their upmost with what God gave them and have faith in themselves, their team, and in God who make religion a deciding factor in sports.

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