By DAVID NOWAK
I remember reading a synopsis of the five reasons for the “Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire” by Edward Gibbon in which he listed the Romans’ obsession with sports at the coliseum as a cause of the fall of the empire.
I did not understand how or why that could contribute to the fall of a nation until I have witnessed it in our own age. The obsession with sports is one thing that is rooting out spirituality. We don’t have time for God because of basketball practice, the bowling league, one’s favorite team is playing on ESPN or going to a professional game. Sports preempts every other event. When a conflict between worship services and sports occurs (whether practice or the game), sports usually comes out on top. America has become obsessed with sports, from pee wee leagues to professional competition.
Picture in your mind, if you will, two 7-year-old T-ball players facing each other on the baseball field. One player is standing near first base with glove in hand and the other is standing on first base. The caption reads: “Is your dad still yelling at you from the stands?” “Yeah, he thinks I’m going pro tomorrow.”
That is the same dad who does not have enough time in his busy day to go out in the backyard and play catch with his son. He’s the same dad that can’t find time to make it to his son’s games and when he does, he is yelling at him the whole time he is trying to play the game. How very sad.
My dad and my brothers would spend every evening after supper playing baseball in the backyard. My dad even went as far as to build us a baseball diamond in our backyard for us to practice on during the day. When I threw a baseball through the kitchen window one evening my mom stuck her head out of the broken glass and asked my dad what had happened? He responded by saying, “Did you see the arm on that kid”? My mom just smiled.