— Midweek Meditations:
thoughts, inspiration and encouragement
from ACF community members —

Soccer football season is on again! Until May next year, when Bayern München will have garnered their umpteenth championship in a row, a lot of otherwise relatively sane people will turn into glassy-eyed, sports-hero-worshipping fans every weekend. I wonder if they will notice that their crowd, that of the died-in-the-wool football fans, is gradually going the way of everything olderwhitemalewithbeerguts.

My research group at the university was looking for something entirely unrelated when we noticed from their answers to a questionnaire that school students appear to be turning their backs to sports heroes. Hysterically overpaid, loyal only to their wallets, an overpriced, overrated freak show, they said. Especially football appears to be suffering a dramatic decrease in credibility – safe for a small group that is going in the other direction. These kids will tell you that their heroes are not so much just role-models, “because they made it big”. No. Ronaldo, Neymar and whatshisname are, in so many words, “gods”.

The deification of football heroes appears to have been set in motion in 1954, when sports reporter Herbert Zimmermann proclaimed Germany goalie Toni Turek “a football god” during the World Championship – an epithet he had to apologize for later, and officially so. Since then, football and other sports gods and demigods have proliferated, and the media and the sports industries and of course the ‘gods’ themselves made a huge profit out of the desire of sports fans to be a bit like their heroes, to feel the aggrandization of being able to associate with a god.

There isn’t a single sports event in the bible.

The Timothy letters and 1 Corinthians use the example of Athletes and their discipline and self-control, but that’s it:

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.

1 Corinthians  9:24-27

Does not sound like the making of an athlete-god. And the school kids seem to have understood the difference. Their role models are increasingly those who help others, especially medical personnel. And their heroes are increasingly their parents – but not because they run to the local sports studios every day, and discipline their bodies. The decisive factor is time: parents that spend time with their kids, that talk to them rather than to their smartphones, are heroes to their children.

So chances are that if your kids accompany you to the Bayern or the SC or whichever game, they are not really interested in the sport, or the teams, or the football-gods. They want to be with their parents. They want you to have time – for them.

The ACF Midweek Meditations
are written by a diverse group of our church members with the intention to seek God’s fingerprints in our lives. They range from somber to humorous and are inspired by all facets of live and faith. Written by ordinary people from all walks of life, they reflect a wide range of Christian backgrounds and spiritualities.

Each week’s text portrays the individual viewpoint of its author. They might not always resonate with everyone, and are not meant to be understood as representing the Anglican Church Freiburg as a whole. Yet, as a church that is aiming to ‘Build a Community of Grace’ we seek to practice learning from and listening to one another.

We pray that these humble ponderings add a small spark of blessing to your week.

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