My Elimination Experiment: Sports Fast

Texas Rangers (baseball)

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Today ends my week long elimination experiment. In previous posts, I proposed that for one week we fast, or eliminate,  something that has an unusual hold on our attention or time. I chose to go a week fasting from sports. Here is how it went:

First of all, it was kind of a relief. With all of the hype and attention given to the Super Bowl I was ready for a break from 24/7 sports talk. Because I live in the Dallas area, I was interested in the analysis of DFW as a Super Bowl host city but I moved past that without much trouble.

What was really hard for me was not obsessing over the Michael Young saga. I am a lifetime Texas Rangers’ fan and a long time admirer of Michael Young. There is a possibility that he will be traded from the team that he has served faithfully for more than 10 years. Normally, I would follow all of the chatter and rumors surrounding this story and I did intentionally search this story out a couple of times but only to catch a headline about it and not to read every word on the topic.

What I found to be the most silly aspect was a sudden panic I felt last Thursday when I thought it was NBA All Star Weekend. I literally had this thought, “Oh no, am I missing the NBA All Star Game?” It was the exact same feeling I get when I miss an assignment or duty at work or forget to get an item at the grocery store; over a basketball game!

Honestly, I needed the break from sports and I think God knew what he was doing when he led me to do this. My life became really hectic and stressed this past week when our daughter when in for surgery, the class that I am teaching started to have papers to grade, and the small group that I am leading began. Plus, I am becoming more and more committed to pursuing many of the themes and emphasis of this blog and learning how I can share what I have learned with others. I appreciated the extra space in my life to see what God has in store for me in these areas.

Through my fast, I have, for a time, placed sports in its proper perspective while pursuing things that have broader meaning and significance. I haven’t decided exactly how I am going to break my fast officially but when I did turn on sports talk radio last night and heard talk about the NFL seven months in advance of its next season, I didn’t have too much of a desire to jump back into my previously sports obsessed existence.

How about you? Did you eliminate something last week? How did it go?

The Next Great Fad: The Sports Fast

This is a picture of "Cowboys Stadium&quo...

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I used to carry a small transistor radio around my house so that I wouldn’t miss a pitch of a Texas Rangers’ game. No, this wasn’t just in my halcyon youth but well into my 30s. I used to read Sports Illustrated cover to cover every week and fumed when I realized that my issue was sometimes missing articles that others received. I may have been one of only 15 people who actually watched the live broadcast of the US vs. Spain basketball Gold medal game of the 2008 Olympics; played at 3:00 in the morning. I recently read about a couple in Alabama who missed their daughter’s wedding because it conflicted with an U. of Alabama football game.

Quick philosophy discussion –¬† Our culture is awash in Postmodernism. This, in the simplest terms, is a breakdown of Big Stories. In other words, there is no large theme that holds culture together. Former Big Stories such as religion, duty, science, or the American Way have been reduced to little stories. So we have thousands of little stories and a fragmented society. Who is to say that my story is less important than your story? This contributes to an increase in fanaticism in our culture. We are placing emphasis that should be reserved for larger, more meaningful stories on to ideas, events, and happenings that hold very little meaning; such as celebrity, pets, veganism, etc.

Sports may be the biggest small to Big Story of them all and while cultures in the past were symbolized by their churches or government buildings, our culture, at least in the DFW Metroplex, is defined by the world’s largest domed stadium. On Sunday, that domed stadium will be hosting the biggest sporting event of the year. But on Monday, I will be shutting off my sports talk radio and my sports Twitter feeds, and my multiple times a day ESPN.com habit and trying to create a week thinking about the Biggest Story the Universe has ever known – God’s work of redemption and action on his creation.

Now that is something to be fanatical about.