A buddy of BountyBowl posted this to his Facebook profile on Super Bowl Sunday, and well, I thought it was too good not to ask him for reprinting rights. We’ll protect the official names of the innocent, but he’s appeared in the comments here on BountyBowl as “Thorles” a couple times, and has occasionally had the misfortune of watching Eagles games with me. Though he’s a Boston guy (and a tasteful Boston fan at that!), he spent the last two years living in a house full of Birds fans whilst in grad school. That is, he knows the drill.
If God & Jesus get the credit, how does Satan escape the blame?
Jesus has never been involved in a missed kick. He has never thrown an interception, fumbled the ball, jumped offsides or dropped a crucial pass. In baseball, he has hit many homers and won titles but has been a strike-out victim not a single time!
One can only assume that the Dark Lord bested Jesus in those particular instances where a player failed rather than succeeded. How refreshing would it be to hear the Prince of Darkness cited in a post-game interview as contributing to a player’s poor showing or a team’s demise? “Yeah, Satan really had it in for me today. On that first pick, the Deceiver of Men gave help to the cornerback as he raced all 78 yards to the end zone. I thought Jesus would come through for us in the 4th quarter but obviously the Devil and his agents were working against us.”
Is Satan pissed that he’s not getting credit? All his hard work to meddle with the fervent if misguided pleadings of the faithful and he gets no press? No mention in a post game interview? Satan is no doubt proud of his deceit and trickery and surely wants acknowledgment of its formidable potency. And what of those athletes who seem to have sold their souls in exchange for otherwordly or an inexplicable run of good luck? As a Pats’ fan I really want to hear Tom Brady explain his deal with the devil. I think he reneged on his end of the bargain and was rewarded with a season-ending knee injury. Though he still has Gisele on his arm…maybe that was the trade-off.
On the “Scripture written in the eye black” angle, how about spicing up the verses? John 3:16 (”For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life”) and Philippians 4:13 (”I can do all things through him who strengthens me”) are swell and all, but how about some Old Testament Fire and Brimstone shit? Real wrath of God type stuff? “Then the Lord rained on Sodom and Gomorrah sulfur and fire from the Lord out of heaven; and he overthrew those cities, and all the Plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground.” (Genesis 19:24, 25). Or going New Testament with anything from Revelations, tales of plagues and serpents and dragons running amok, and seas and rivers turning to fire? How about an approach with more carnal relevance: recent history suggests that many college and professional athletes enjoy the company of women but seem to disdain the limitations of birth control measures: “David took mores wives in Jerusalem, and David became the father of more sons and daughters.” (1 Chronicles 14:3). Most TV announcers, being less than biblical scholars and generally utter morons, would be falling over each other to heap praise on a player for his “devout religions beliefs”, unaware that the scripture in question promotes violence, promiscuity, discrimination or the embrace of mythological creatures.
I’ll concede the requested involvement of a higher authority in praying for safety and health, or the recovery from injury of a downed player. If he doesn’t make it, or ends up paralyzed, can we once again fault the idol-strewn path to the Lake of Fire?
Implicit in the praising of God for on-field success is that God somehow has a vested interest in the outcome of the game (is Jesus making prop bets on Super Bowl XLIII? Parlays? Does JC have a gambling problem?) and is somehow judging certain players more worthy of receiving His help than others. If He helps you throw a touchdown, does that mean your defensive opponents are a motley collection of idolaters, sodomites and followers of false prophets?
Do not the Father, Son and Holy Ghost have more pressing matters clamoring for attention? I suppose we can assume that there is no better multi-tasker than a divine being who can concurrently note the need for a 52 yard FG while saving orphaned children from money grubbing sweatshop owners.
I don’t know. I’m not religious. It just seems offensive to parade one’s faith as some sort of on-field gimmick, a gadget play, a form of “trickeration” (in the parlance of our times). Seems like a “money-changers in the temple” sort of thing. Though I find humor in imagining an omniscient, multi-tasking supreme being reading another prayer or thanks that has made its way into his/her/its Inbox (certainly God uses the Internet), shaking his/her/its head and mumbling about “effing meatheads think I give a damn about some crappy football game.”
Or maybe God never sees these prayers or hears these displays of gratitude? I’d venture that God benefits from celestial junk mail-filtering and spam-detecting technology that terrestrial IT departments can only fantasize about. God is vaguely aware of his name being used or summoned for decidedly earthly matters but has smartly delegated the handling of the prayer deluge to his tech-savvy staff of angels. That’s the analogy. Sports prayers : God :: spam : the rest of us. Praying for a converted 4th and 1 receives about as much attention from a deity as junk mail beckonings for discount Cialis do from we mere mortals.
Yup. Rather than praying for assistance with the outcome of a sporting event, we should all pray for permission to use God’s IT professionals. It will save us from the modern incarnation of Satan’s evil ways: spam.
In a few hours I’ll be watching the Super Bowl, rolling my eyes at on-field salutations to the sky, and smirking at post-game vocal offerings to God. Provided I have not slipped into the delirium of a food coma by that point…or been banished to hell for writing this note. At which point I will cite Beelzebub for my note-writing success.