Are televised sports compatible with Christian discipleship?
I tweeted this over the weekend:
I really don’t understand pro sports. Who has time to remember which sport is in season, keep all those teams straight, AND watch the games?
This is a busy season for sports which means social media feeds are buzzing about bad calls, good plays, and bragging rights. It also means those of us who are not into sports walk around with glazed-over eyes and cotton balls in our ears most of the time.
But it also has made me wonder: are televised, professional sports compatible with the life of Christian discipleship?
I imagine I will get a number of overwhelming YESs in response, but hear me out.
Given the number of hours in each game, set, or match, think about the collective good that could be done with that time.
After some brief Google research, it seems fair to say at least 20 million people will watch an NFL football game if it’s on TV. With most weekends having multiple games throughout the day, I imagine the actual number is much highe. But 20 million people watching a three-hour football game is 60 million hours of time that could be spent out in the neighborhood, gardening, reading, cooking, worshiping, creating, and playing. And that’s one game. Most people I know watch more than one game a week.
Because I’m sure this will come up, I do realize many people watch sports together. They get together, share food, and talk about life while peripherally paying attention to the game; this is an American past time, a way to bond and connect while cheering on our local team. But many, many people watch sports alone and, with enormously rich athletes and owners and with global corporate sponsors, there are few, if any, truly “local teams” to root for anymore.
Given the amount of money spent on professional and televised sports, think about the collective good that could be done with that money.
Professional sports are multi-billion dollar industries (and I imagine regularly televised sports at the college level are too). Player salaries, stadium construction and renovation, advertising and sponsorships, and bounty payouts (zing!) all add up to a massive amount of money I don’t even feel like estimating.
World poverty statistics are too well-known and too numbing to bother citing. We can all think of about a million things that could be done with that money to affect real change in the local and global society.
These are things I think about that I think more people should think about. Although you can definitely read my bias in this, I want to this to come across as a genuine question (not as finger pointing, speck-in-the-eye picking, etc.):