Faith and Sports by Eric Jensen

It seems as if we are exiting this thing( thing in this case being crushing global pandemic). This pandemic we have been trapped by for about a year and a half it seems we are hurtling towards its end.

It surprises me every day how much I don’t feel it anymore. I’ve had to put my masks in all my bags so I have one just in case because it feels as I go out little by little I use them less and less.

Though admittedly, I still feel strange without one and if others are wearing them around me I slip mine on sheerly out of habit and kindness.

So what did we learn from all this? Well I think mainly that God built us to be resilient, sure we may be a little worse for wear, we may be struggling financially, we may have lost people, but we are still here. We continue to exist, to try and move forward after the great darkness.

Now this is of course not to say we should forget the millions of people who have died but we as humans have some God given gift to move forward.

Have you ever watched Mad Men? If not I really recommend it, it’s a tremendous study in self discovery, loss, the evils of man, and human nature. There is a scene in which Don Draper is sitting in the hospital room of the main female protagonist Peggy, who has just had a child out of wedlock and is now giving it away. Don Draper sees the struggling Peggy and provides a solution, move forward. The line that really sticks out “It will shock you how quickly you forget”.

That’s sort of the way I feel at the end of this thing. It is shocking how quickly I am forgetting the whole thing ever happened. The hours at work have returned, going back and sitting in restaurants again has come back, but some things never left for me. I rode public transit all the way through this thing. I biked, I ordered from resteraunts.

I realize I am in a unique situation as well, a quasi-adult with very limited responsibilities and a lot of privilege. While some of my peers may complain they lost a year of partying, that was never really my scene anyways. Largely my life through this whole thing remained unchanged and I never once got COVID (I went 28 for 28 on negative tests after getting tested every week because I lived on campus, those are hall of fame numbers.)

I did learn that I need sports; by far the darkest moments of the pandemic were those early April-July months when I couldn’t find anything on the TV.

I guess I learned that, some people have reading, some people binge TV, some people play video games, but me, my household addiction of choice is live sports on television.

I need them, since they’ve come back I have watched and worked with them a lot and without them my life would feel empty.

That is something you probably don’t want to admit out loud in a church newsletter but I just did. Sports mean a lot to me, God and sports are intertwined. When I sit and watch sports and collectively cheer with the television crowd, in some of those moments I feel closer to God.

Working at the Jazz Stadium and being there on game nights during the playoffs this year when I heard the crowd erupt while I was toiling away in my radio booth I felt closer to God. Everyone has something that makes them feel that, for most people it’s nature or being with family or being at church. Not for me though, I feel closest to God when I'm in the middle of a packed 18,000 seat stadium. Without that I felt the farthest from God I ever have.