So what good is sport if it brings out the evils of the human heart? Sport still has much to offer. In fact now is a good time to reflect on the good sport brings.
Just a few include:
â€¢ The work/rest balance. In a commercial workaholic society that never stops sport reminds us of the need for recreation and rest. The pattern in the Bible shows a work/rest balance. God created then He rested/completed His work. The pattern is developed in the 10 Commandments (4th) and find its fulfillment in Jesus as our eternal rest. We need time for re-creation. Sport is a valuable distraction from a serious world.
â€¢ Physical fitness is of some value and brings physical, emotional and spiritual benefits. Our bodies are important. This is despite the influence of Greek mythology in our churches that says flesh is evil and spirit is revered. Sport brings great pleasure as well as strengthening our bodies.
â€¢ Sport influences world politics for good. Out of the tensions of the Cold War and the Olympic boycotts of the 1980s saw sport used as a means to thaw international relations. The Goodwill Games specifically aimed to promote U.S. and USSR relations. The South African Rugby World Cup is regarded as pivotal in breaking down apartheid and promoting reconciliation. Sport influences world politics for good.
â€¢ Sport, by nature brings hope. Hope of a victory, of striving for a goal, inspiring us, highlighting unity and teamwork, providing a sense of belonging for people craving community.
Sport is neutral. Kicking a ball is neither good nor evil. However, when you combine it with our fallen nature it highlights the evils sport can bring: drugs, corruption etc.
Yet when the positives are explored we also see the good sport brings. The challenge is to promote and remember this among the turmoil we see now.
Jeremy Dover is a former sports scientist and pastor
Jeremy Dover's previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/jeremy-dover.html