Thursday, April 28, 2011

How You Know that Sports is Our National Religion

Watching the Boston Bruins try to hang on in the seventh game of the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs, I found myself wondering at how Scripture has given way to the sports page in our culture, Bishop Fulton J. Sheen and the Billy Graham Crusade to the talking heads on Sports Center.

Here are ten things that occurred to me, with and without beer:

1. Notre Dame (that’s Our Lady in French) is more honored for football than for faith. Hey, it’s the home of Touchdown Jesus (pictured).

2. Attendance is higher at casinos, racetracks, and betting parlors than at churches and synagogues.

3. To say nothing of the collection.

4. Speaking of revenues, the average NFL quarterback makes $1.97 million a year, the average Catholic bishop something less. The highest-paid NFL quarterback, Carson Palmer, makes $13.5 million, the Pope something lesser. (Carson Palmer?!)

5. The NFL has taken over Sundays. Golf has too, including the participatory kind, making the 5pm Mass at some churches the “golfer’s last chance.”

6. Speaking of golf, watching the Masters on Sunday is a religious experience, or at least CBS thinks so. OK, I confess, me too.

7. Our president gets ink for picking NCAA brackets, but forgets to honor Easter.

8. We don’t believe in evil or original sin, but we do believe in losing streaks and curses. (Were you a Red Sox fan before 2004? A Cubs fan ever?)

9. We believe in miracles when talking about the Mets of New York, but not Jesus of Nazareth.

10. The most frequent use of the term Hail Mary in the media during the past 30 years was not in connection with the rosary. The term now mainly refers to Doug Flutie’s pass in the 1984 Orange Bowl. If you don’t know what I’m talking about . . .

And here comes an extra point . . . Overtime causes more nail-biting than the Final Judgment. Same goes with extra innings and Purgatory.

Speaking of which, the Bruins won at 5:43 of the first overtime. Hallelujah! It’s a miracle.

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