Alabama or Auburn? That was the most important question to a group of teenagers when I moved to Alabama. I’m talking about SEC (South Eastern Conference) football – and it’s BIG in Alabama (and some other states, South Carolina included).
While riding my bicycle down the street and meeting my neighbors for the first time, at the age of 15, they didn’t care about my name or where I was from, just which football team I supported. That day, I didn’t realize just how important it was to Alabamians that you choose a team and support them 24/7. Well, not really, but it does seem that way on occasion.
After living in Tuscaloosa for 13 years, a normal person seems to adopt the home team (Alabama – Roll Tide). You also learn not to go downtown or anywhere near the stadium within 8 hours of a game, unless you feel like parking instead of driving.
The Alabama/Auburn rivalry is generally pleasant, except at times when nearing and during the Iron Bowl (when the 2 teams meet head to head).
Despite being in the “Bible belt,” fans take football so seriously that many don’t mind attending a late night game on Saturday and forego church on Sunday. While living in Alabama, this bothered me; and it still does today.
Why is it that we are teaching our children – the future of the world – that football is more important than God?
Don’t get me wrong – I love a good game, and enjoy the fellowship of friends gathering for a heated rivalry. The difference – I don’t care who wins. Sure, I’d like to see Alabama take another National Championship. I’d rather see Army take one though (God is still in the business of miracles, right?).
Back to point – why do we promote sports so heavily over God? We invite people to our houses (into our private lives) to watch a game, but are afraid to invite them to God’s house for the real game.
As the seasons bring beautiful weather, and with sporting events ramping up all around the nation, let’s remind our children that while sports are fun, God is number one! Let’s put him back at the center of our lives.
I’m not suggesting that when you meet someone for the first time, you ask them “Christian? Or atheist?” – but I am suggesting that we make it a point to allow God to Bless America by making Him the center of our lives.