God and Football

Living in Wisconsin, I have observed that the line between religion and football is thin. During my formative years, I was the lone Minnesota Vikings fan in a small Wisconsin town. Fortunately for me, the Vikings were quite good during the 1970s … although never quite good enough to win the Super Bowl. More importantly, the Green Bay Packers stunk during those years. After I joined the Church in the early 1980s, I stopped paying attention to professional football because I wanted to keep the Sabbath Day holy, and professional football does not have much to recommend it in that regard.

Since moving back to Wisconsin, I have again come into intimate contact with the enemy: Packer fans. They are all around me, and even though I profess complete ignorance of recent developments in professional football, I cannot escape them. Yesterday, at a wedding reception, I learned to my chagrin that the Packer and Vikings were battling each other for a playoff spot. When I was a boy, I used to pray about things like this, until I concluded that God did not hear the prayers of Viking fans. Tonight I found more evidence of that. After the rest of the family was safely in bed, I couldn’t resist taking a peek. Ugh! (Breathe slowly. Repeat after me, “I don’t care. I don’t care. I don’t care…”)

Thankfully, I am leaving for India on Thursday. Surely, by the time I return the Packers will have been eliminated from the playoffs, and we can all settle in for several months of cold and snow.

6 comments for “God and Football

  1. December 29, 2003 at 5:21 pm

    I don’t watch football on Sunday, but I must confess to rarely missing Alias on Sunday nights. I also tend to lay on the couch with my wife and catch up on the week’s This Old House Episodes my PVR has captured.

  2. December 29, 2003 at 6:35 pm

    From the 70’s through the mid 80’s, I spent my summers on my grandparents farm just north of Green Bay. There were not the maniacal fans that are there now. I remember looking around on a trip in the early 90s and wondering what happened. There were green and yellow flags on cars, homes, everywhere.

    In short, it was exactly like what Nebraska has been like my entire life. Husker fans give new meaning to fanatic – and they are like that whether they are winning or losing. It’s just more unbearable when they are winning. Religion plays a strong part, too, if the bumper stickers are any indication…

    “And on the 8th day, God created the Huskers.”

  3. December 30, 2003 at 4:04 pm

    Follow-up: Last night the local news reported a poll. “Why did the Packers make the playoffs?
    (a) Talent
    (b) Luck
    (c) Divine intervention”
    As you would have expected from my post, 69% chose (c).

    Today’s newspaper reported that the City of Green Bay will be hosting at the playoffs the St. Louis receiver who caught the winning touchdown pass against the Vikings. I really need to leave this place for a few weeks!

  4. whatever
    January 4, 2004 at 3:44 am

    why does Steve Young not have to keep the sabbath?

  5. Nate Oman
    January 4, 2004 at 9:48 am

    I have lived in three football crazed locations: Provo (BYU Cougars), Washington DC (Redskins), and Little Rock (Arkansas Razorbacks). I confess that I much prefer college football to the NFL and for some reason I have more patience with pyscho-college fans than psycho-professional fans. Maybe it is just pseudo-intellectual snobbery on my part.

    Of course, I don’t have a TV (or more precisely, I don’t have cable or a television attenna) so I have completely missed watching any football this season. I miss it. Reading about it in the newspaper or on http://www.espn.com just isn’t the same.

    BTW, there is a fun article in the most recent Weekly Standard (www.weeklystandard.com) using De Toqueville to defend the BCS/bowl system. I still think that they should have a tournament.

  6. Debbie
    January 5, 2005 at 9:38 pm

    For years I lived in peaceful bliss in the state of Minnesota surrounded by other Purple People Eaters. But some twist of fate, I found myself living in Green Bay, WI just as football season was starting this year. As soon as the words “I don’t like the Packers – I like the Vikings” leave my mouth, the crowd instantly quiets and all eyes turn and squint at me, and the corners of mouths grow wide as lips part to allow a silent scream to escape. I am instantly an enemy before I can even meet anyone. After losing by a field goal at the end of not one but two games, I am heckled as I walk down the green and gold lined streets in my Viking jacket. Nobody remembers how close the Vikings were to being first place in the division. There are only the reports of already stating as facts on how well the Packers are going to do and how many points the Packers are going to score then they beat the Vikings for a third time. And the only thing I can imagine as I ignore the isles of Cheese heads, cheese ties, and cheese bikinis is how blissful it will be to don every once of purple I own and walk with my head held high through all the tear soaked Cheeseheads lining the streets when the Vikings beat the Packers.

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