So I was doing a little on-line reading about the Olympics and found this, “The Olympics were of fundamental religious importance, featuring sporting events alongside ritual sacrifices honoring both Zeus (whose famous statue by Phidias stood in his temple at Olympia) and Pelops, divine hero and mythical king of Olympia. Pelops was famous for his chariot race with King Oenomaus of Pisatis. The winners of the events were admired and immortalized in poems and statues.” Sports still are like a religion for many nations. How many medals will we get? It’s the thrill of victory and the agony of the feet – isn’t that how that phrase goes? The heroes or the Olympics were once immortalized in poetry and statues and now they are placed on cereal box covers and commercials. We build stadiums that look like places of religious ritual – cathedrals to sport and watch the games from luxury boxes and over-stuffed “lazy boys.” (As an aside – isn’t it amazing the the best selling chair in America is called a Lazy Boy?)
In a way this is what makes things like the child molestation at Penn State happen. Sports becomes untouchable, invincible, unnapproachable. We become confused as to who the real heroes are. Do we love sport for what it does for us – or do we love it for what it does to us? I rode my bike ten miles yesterday in one hundred degree heat – there was no medal awaiting me – just a cold glass of ice water and my little Nike Fuel band telling me that I had reached my goal for the day.
I was at my desk last evening when I read from 1 Thessalonians 1, “For we know, brothers and sisters loved by God, that you were chosen, because our gospel came to you not simply with words but also with power,with the Holy Spirit and deep conviction.” Faith tells me that there is life beyond sports, money, power, politics, prestige, and pomp. We live to make an impact not for our own praise and glorification but to make this a better world – to make a difference. Will we measure an Olympic level of love and service? We should – some or you qualify. Keep it up – don’t do it for the glory – do it because it is right.