Return of the Prodigal Son by Pompeo Batoni - 1773

Evolution for the Catholic Student

Order 'Evolution for the Catholic Student' - Click on the image above

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Thanking God for the Superbowl

Thanking God for
the Superbowl

Image from

I have to admit that I love sports, football in particular.  So even though the sting of my beloved 49ers losing the NFC championship game by three inches of loft off a Colin Kaepernick pass is still a little tender, I can’t wait for the Superbowl.

Next Sunday, for about 5 hours, the whole country will seemingly shut down as everyone tunes in to the big game.  On some levels, it’s pretty silly.  After all, we act like it’s the most important event of the year and in the end, it’s just a game.  Could anything be more insignificant, really?

I was thinking about this the other day.  And I also got to thinking: since that fateful pass was intercepted in the end zone a week and a half ago, we’ve seen: another mall shooting; the 41st anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision marked by the March for Life while the killing goes on unabated; a mass gay “wedding” at the Grammy’s; a governor say that pro-lifers have no place in his state; the President’s war on conscience push forward; and a judge order the execution of a child at the request of that child’s family.  And that’s just a fraction of the evil that’s happened in just our country.

We are a people of the Light, and yet sometimes the darkness feels overwhelming.  In the past ten days it has brought me to silence, to yelling, and to tears.  But in the morning as I work out, or on my drive home from work, I can hear analysis, argument, and prediction, all regarding this Sunday’s major, insignificant event.  I can enjoy, for a little while, something that is safe.

It reminds me of a story I heard of a sportswriter who ran into his New York police officer friend shortly after 9/11.

“Can you believe it?” the sportswriter asked.

“I know,” replied the officer, “What do you think the Mets should do about their pitching?”

The sportswriter looked at him in disbelief, considering the events of the recent few days.  “That’s not really important, is it?” he asked.

“No, of course it’s not,” answered the officer, “but it helps to pretend that it is.”

Well, I am looking forward, next Sunday, to forgetting about the culture wars we have to fight as Catholics, and pretending, for a few hours, that the issue of greatest importance is whether the league’s best defense can slow down the league’s best offense.

This is one of the glories of sports.  It offers us a respite, not to mention the beauty (which is always more powerful than the darkness anyway) of friendly competition, of seeing people make the most of their God-given abilities, and of spending quality time with family and friends.

Enjoy the game.