Sunday, 3 February 2013

God hates 50% of footballers?

On Monday morning some Australians will be in front of their TV sets watching US football's Superbowl. I won't, mainly because I will be at work but partly because I don't care and wouldn't watch anyway. I find it an intensely boring game with more breaks than actual play. Anyway, I noticed News.com.au carrying a story about what it's like in the losing team's dressing room after the match:
MOST Australians watch the Super Bowl with only a passing interest in those hulking men in helmets and skin-tight lycra playing a game whose rules we barely understand. 
 
I was one of them until I was lucky enough to cover the event for myself. And I didn't just cover the game and all the hype that surrounds it, but was one of a tiny handful of media who made it into the losers' dressing room straight after the game.

I'll never forget what I saw and what I heard in there. We're talking about nude, hulking 160 kilo men sitting motionless and deathly silent, give or take the odd bit of stifled blubbering.
This made me think about another Superbowl related story this week, in which Americans were surveyed about what role they believe God plays in sports events:
Nearly 3-in-10 (27 percent) Americans believe that God plays a role in determining which team wins sports events, according to the January Religion and Politics Tracking Survey, conducted by Public Religion Research Institute during the weekend of the National Football League conference championship games. A majority (53 percent) of Americans also agree that God rewards athletes who have faith with good health and success, compared to 42 percent who disagree.
So 27 per cent of Americans (and 40 per cent of evangelicals) think God is at least partly responsible for deciding which team ends up blubbering in their dressing rooms. Believing in the existence of gods seems silly enough to me, but thinking that those gods would start interfering in a sports contest to favour one team over the other seems like it should be blasphemous to those who do believe.
Unsurprisingly, Mr Deity had this covered a couple of years ago:

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