Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Sports And Faith

I've had this post bouncing around in my head ever since last Saturday when my Cleveland Cavaliers finished off another sports season without a Cleveland team winning a championship. I wasn't sure if I was going to write about it but an article from Hemant Mehta about how Magic center Dwight Howard places his team's success squarely on god's shoulders pretty much forced me to write something.

You see this year was going to be different. We had the "chosen one" in Lebron James and we finished the regular season with the best record in the NBA. We swept through the first 2 rounds winning all 8 games by at least 10 points and were only 4 wins away from a date with destiny against Kobe and the Lakers. But that shot at destiny hit the latest in a series of speed bumps that Cleveland fans have had to endure for 45 years.

I am sure that most sports fans even those not from Cleveland have heard of "The Interception", "The Drive", "The Fumble", "The Shot", and "The Choke". All of these are famous phrases from Cleveland sports history and all refer to massive collapses by Cleveland sports teams on the brink of winning championships and now listening to Howard we will have to add "Divine Intervention" to the growing list of Cleveland sports failures.

I have always laughed when sports figures thanked god for their successes on the sporting front. Like somehow that mythical guy in the sky would care who won a freakin baseball game and I always wondered why the same athletes never chastised that same god when they failed miserably but the fact that these athletes believed so strongly that god was in their corner got me thinking.

If god was somehow picking sides in sporting events, how could anyone from Cleveland still have faith in that god? If these athletes were right and some mythical god was responsible for their victories, a Cleveland sports fan would have to think that god hates them.

What other explanation could there be for allowing the Elway's and the Jordan's of the world to consistently dash their hopes and dreams. God helped Dwight Howard's Magic to beat the Cavs? So why didn't he guide Brian Sipes' pass in the endzone out of the hands of Lester Hayes in 1980 or give Jose Mesa the strength to close out game 7 of the 1997 World Series or otherwise intervene in even one of the several chances Cleveland has had to win a championship during the last 45 years?

Now I am sure that the faithful are reading this saying that this is just silly. Of course god isn't picking sides in something as trivial as sporting events, he obviously has more important things to worry about. Try explaining that to a Cleveland sports fan sometime or better yet just tell athletes to stick to their usual cliche filled unintelligible doublespeak and stay away from religion when being interviewed.

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