In the heat of the game

Basketball has always been a passion for most Filipinos. At every alley or street corner, it’s usual to find a makeshift basketball court of wood and twisted iron rods. Pick-up games are common and baranggay or village leagues are frequent in every town or city. The passion for the ball has even spread even in the most remote area of the country. Some even just set up their boards on trees with the ground as their court.

In whatever sport, whether basketball, volleyball, tennis or dodge ball where there is a winner and a loser, one cannot help but focus on winning. Sometimes in the heat of the game, people tend to forget themselves. Some may have that real desire to win and top everyone in the game. Some may be so keen on getting the championship trophy even if there is no trophy involved.

Things would have been easier to understand if you were LeBron James or Rafael Nadal or any professional athlete in whatever sport. After all, they are professionals. They have taken it as their job to play their hearts out to win the game. Most of all they are paid to do it.

However, I still don’t understand how even an amateur friendly competition among Christians could end into anger and resentment towards their fellow brethren. I found out about this after observing the 4-Sunday sports fest conducted by 8 of our church districts. I cannot figure out how some Christian people could be so passionate to top their fellow brethren. Why can’t they just play and enjoy while playing win or lose? Why do some people take games so seriously, they don’t realize that their reputations as Christians are at stake?

When one person  or group of persons make a friendly amateur sporting event look like a remake of the NBA Finals or the Wimbledon finals, it begins to look like the practice of one principle of the Evolution theory: survival of the fittest. It begins to look like if you can’t win, you cannot survive. This poses a risk of inculcating into the minds of people especially those who participated or witnessed such event that life is also a rat race of survival. It could translate into the minds of the simple men and women that winning is the most important thing in life and that losing means the end of everything.

This misleads people, when, in fact, in the eyes of God, winner or losers are the same. Life is not a matter of survival, rather it is of cooperation, fellowship and love with another person or group even if you’re pitted against each other on a game where one wins and the other loses.

And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.- 1 Corinthians 13:13

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