Back in the good old days… things weren’t always so good. There were cheats and hooligans and dirty play and bad owners. The Oakland Raiders of the 70’s, now there was one repulsive organization! So maybe it just feels like too much at once. Can anyone in the NBA stay out of legal trouble? How many NFL players does it take to commit a felony? The election of a narcotics felon to the Football Hall of Fame is shameful, but will baseball have the guts to stand up to the Bonds supporters when the time comes? It has always been about money, I won’t pretend that any level of sport is left un-sullied by filthy lucre, from the NFL junior league called the NCAA to the kid’s league future stars.

And then there is Italy, the other “football”… an entire league shut down by rampant fan violence, this time not just tied to team loyalty, but to team association with partisan politics and regional rivalries. What’s a fan to do? Criminals on the field and off, agents and players and owners and fans…

I could just stick to being a fan of cricket from afar (I actually played with a local club when I spent some time in the UK). Not enough people care about cricket anymore to create a mob. But with the collapse of England in the Ashes, even cricket has lost the magic.

Does Jesus really care if my grotesquely over-paid hometown athlete beats your grotesquely over-paid hometown athlete? Do those who pray to God for a divinely granted victory cheapen our faith? What is a Christian to do when we are so entangled in this system of sin? Sit back and laugh at the SuperBowl ads?

I don’t have an answer. But with recent events in professional sports, I am moved to pray that the Holy Spirit will inspire us, that we will be moved to re-claim the beauty and integrity that is the athletic celebration of God’s gift to us, these fragile bodies, here but for a moment…

Maybe a day will come when Super Sunday is about our Savior, and not about “our” team.