February 5, 2010 by C.J. Mahaney
Categories: Fathers | Sports
Given my love for sports I have an obligation to publish a public service announcement to prepare you for the impending Super Bowl…
The Super Bowl is the most overrated sporting event in the history of all sports, dating back to the very first Olympics. The NFL thinks so highly of itself, the Super Bowl is assigned Roman numerals.
Yet despite the hype, year after year this game rarely delivers. With few exceptions, most of these games are neither exciting nor memorable (unless your team is participating). With Peyton Manning and Drew Brees in the Super Bowl, there is at least a chance that Super Bowl 44 will be entertaining, but I doubt it.
For me, the only good thing about the Super Bowl is that it means MARCH MADNESS is fast approaching! Don’t get me started on March Madness and college basketball because year after year college basketball always delivers.
Tips for watching the Super Bowl
I’ll give you a Super Bowl game prediction later but for now some things to keep in mind while watching the Super Bowl (or any televised sporting event). If you chose to watch the Super Bowl, here are four tips for watching the game for the glory of God.
1. Strategically assign the remote.
Some prefer to turn off all the commercials; other prefer to just keep an eye on it and turn off the offensive ones. Either way, be proactive about what shows up on your TV screen. One way to do this is to assign one person (someone with both discernment and quick reflexes) to remote-control duty.” This cannot be just anybody. Throughout the game viewers are assaulted with commercials—immoral commercials, commercials that assault and offend one’s intelligence, and commercials with immodestly dressed women (which both tempt men and belittle women). These are as much a part of the Super Bowl as the game itself.
Working the remote requires skill and coordination as well as discernment. This person needs to be paying attention and anticipating commercial breaks. While everyone else enjoys the game, this person is working and always aware of what’s on the TV.
I recommend you establish on the remote an alternative channel that presents no temptation (C-SPAN for example). Turning to C-SPAN will ensure that conversation will take place.
2. Watch proactively.
I encourage fathers to watch actively and discerningly, never passively and superficially. There is no doubt that throughout the game you will hear one superlative after another attributed to the skill of the athletes. The accent throughout the game will be on skill, not character.
Nowhere is the word great mentioned more often in our culture than in the context of professional sports. If you watch any game this weekend and listen to the announcer’s commentary, then like a mantra you’ll probably hear the word great repeated throughout—great, great, great. Yet it may well be that nowhere in our culture is the absence of true greatness more evident than in professional sports. So be careful about cultivating an excessive love for professional athletics in your child.
Without minimizing the skill as a gift from God, I want to direct my son’s attention to character as theologically defined. So as Chad and I watch the game, I will draw his attention to any evidence of humility or unselfishness I observe, as well as any expression of arrogance or selfishness. I will celebrate the former and ridicule the latter.
3. Foster fellowship.
We need to make sure a room full of people are not simply passively watching the Super Bowl. Commercial time can be time redeemed with the right leadership and by a simply changing of the channel to C-SPAN.
Don’t misunderstand. It’s perfectly legitimate to watch and enjoy the game. I’m not advocating that you invite those who have no interest in the game and who want to distract your attention from the game. You can arrange to meet with those people at another time.
No matter who we invite to our homes on Sunday, let’s not just stare at the TV, paying little attention to our families and our guests. Watching the game should involve building relationships.
4. Draw attention to the eternal.
Sometime after the game—that same evening or the next day—it’s helpful for a father to draw his child’s attention to the game in light of eternity. It’s also helpful for us as fathers to be reminded of an eternal perspective.
Apart from those few who listen excessively to sports talk radio, this game will be quickly forgotten. Let me ask you this—who won the Super Bowl even five years ago?
The day before the 1972 Super Bowl, Dallas Cowboy running back Duane Thomas said, “If it’s the ultimate game how come they’re playing it again next year?” Some players seem to get it. Sadly, many fans don’t.
More recently Tom Brady, quarterback of three Super Bowl championships, is quoted in a 60 Minutes interview saying,
Why do I have three Super Bowl rings and still think there’s something greater out there for me? I mean, maybe a lot of people would say, “Hey man, this is what is.” I reached my goal, my dream, my life. I think, “God, it’s got to be more than this.” I mean this isn’t, this can’t be what it’s all cracked up to be.
I anticipate that in a week or two, after the Super Bowl has been won, the champions will experience this same dissatisfaction. As Augustine said, “You [God] made us for yourself, and our hearts find no peace till they rest in you.”
We must impart this eternal perspective to our children.
Super Bowl XLIV predictions
Okay, on to predictions.
Who will win? I predict the Indianapolis Colts. No surprise there.
Who do I want to win? I want New Orleans to win because of my friends at Lakeview Christian Center, the Sovereign Grace church in New Orleans.
How can the Saints win? The Saints can win only if they can force turnovers and make some big offensive plays. They will do the latter but not the former, or at least not enough to win. And the Saints’ defense is average at best.
How can the Colts win? Unless Peyton Manning gets hurt before the game or during the game, Indianapolis wins.