Faith and Sports – Eric Jensen

It is July. Ah yes, the loneliest sports month. While yes baseball is raging on, and I am for the first time quite enjoying it, the season of football is nearly upon us. It is more or less the Advent season of sports, were all just waiting patiently for August and September to roll around. That won’t be the topic of this month’s article though.
Instead I want to focus on Pastors sermon from June 23rd of this year. If you missed it heres a quick synopsis. The sermon is on Jesus exorcising a demon from a Gerasene man. After this is done the Gerasenes are very afraid of Jesus and ask him to leave. Pastor talked about fear and how we fear the unknown and why God gives us fear and the exorcism of fear. Those were my main takeaways from the Sermon. 
It made me think. Sports at least for me, are an exorcism of fear. The world is full of fear. I could pick out 10 different news stories from any major media company and tell you why they scare the crap out of me. I could tell you I don’t watch the evening news as much anymore because all the news is bad news. As a student of journalism I could tell you the reason for that is that fear sells. Which is a very foreign concept to me. For the majority of the population though we need to know what we should be afraid of, what to stay vigilant for. Personally I don’t feel that way. I don’t need to be told why my life is going to be hard, or that the world is ending, or how many bad people there are trying to do bad things. I kind of already know that please don’t shove it down my throat.
Which brings me to sports. Sports for me are an exorcism of fear. That’s really important to me. I understand fear is important and that we need to be informed but there is such a thing as too much fear. I have met people my age that talk about how our planet will be gone by the time were fifty or at least in very different shape than it is now. Not to bash those people, and they are probably right, but outside of participating in Plastic Free July and making personal changes there isn't much I can do about climate change. It’s going to happen, why sink so much time worrying about what happens when a catastrophic event comes? That’s I think why I watch sports and connect with them. It’s an escape, it’s a place where you don’t have to worry constantly unless you want to.
My dad has always said the reason he likes sports is because “No one dies.” That quote always really resonates with me. Sports are a conflict, yes, and they provide drama and intrigue but there is rarely cost of human lives at stake (at least in the short term, let’s sweep concussion problems in pro football under the rug for this article ok?). Sports for me are an exorcism of the fears of daily life. They bring me joy because they give me an escape. They are truly an exorcism of fear and help people get through the scary parts of life. They are a constant, they are always there, on a schedule, like clockwork. The world changes, gets scarier, sports more or less stay the same.
Fear is important. You can’t ignore it but you also can’t be consumed by it. That’s why God provides natural exorcisms of fear. It’s not only sports. Art gives us a way to understand and express fear. Music gives us a way to ward off fear. Sports show me that not everything is to be feared. That makes life a little easier.