The NHL hockey playoffs started a few days ago, and that’s big news – if not the only news – in this part of the world. To everyone’s delight, the first round started with a bang.
One of the key elements to the excitement of a game, match or series in any sport is the Rivalry. The rival team or player is the sworn enemy of the loyal fan. We hurl insults at each pitchers, cheer on the defense, and cough during a golfer’s follow-through.
The colors of loyalty we wear clash with those of lesser mortals who choose oppose us. It is easy to distinguish which side of the battle line we stand on. For the most part it is all fun and games, but it still leads even the best of us into some very un-Christian thoughts and actions.
After checking the sports scene and hearing my wife’s complaints about my uncle’s comments about a certain hockey matchup they are on opposite sides of, I started to think about the power of the Rivalry.
It draws men and women from all classes of society and from various corners of the world. Some of us are on the 50-yard-line and others are in box seats. There’s a crowd in the cheap seats and thousands watching on television. But we all join our hearts together for one cause. Winning is good, but defeating our rival is especially sweet.
Like so many aspects of our lives, I pray that might learn to channel the power of the Rivalry into our spiritual pursuits. Maybe we already have learned to be rivals in some ways as Christians. Is this power used properly, or is it misdirected?
There is nothing wrong with a healthy Rivalry. But as we learned recently from the world of sports, a Rivalry misdirected or improperly programmed into our hearts and minds can be destructive.
[Q:] Which rivalry is the most fun for you to participate in? How do you express which side you are on and how you feel about “the enemy”?