Sport is Important
Well, yes. Important enough for you to put a Manchester United poster up in your room. Or pay for the sports channel. But when you boil things down to what’s really important, most people would strike sports off the list. I wouldn’t.
Now, there are obvious benefits that come from playing sport, that we hear every day from sports clubs and people trying to sell us things. It’s healthy. You’ll lose weight. You’ll make friends. These things are not what I’m talking about. They’re worthwhile, don’t get me wrong, but they’re not the point. In my view, the defining reason why sport is important is this:
God considers it important.
Ok, hear me out. This is not a new phenomenon- along with arts and entertainment, sports were obviously of great value to any and every civilisation throughout history; from kicking a pig’s bladder around to the ancient Olympics to the Superbowl today. You might be wondering why I lumped arts and entertainment in there, but that’s not a random side note. What these three areas have in common is this: They’re all useless.
Or at least, not useful. They don’t feed you, clothe you, or contribute to living in any practical way. From an entirely pragmatic point of view, all these things are a waste of time. So why has mankind been so committed to them for so long, pouring time, effort and valuable resources into them?
Easy- because we are made in God’s image. We are created to reflect God. And these things are important to God!
Here’s why. God is creative- look at the world and try to disagree with me. Seriously, how many kinds of insect do you really need? What’s with all the fish? Don’t even get me started on flowers. The fact of the matter is God didn’t want a black and white world. He didn’t create efficiently or uniformly. He created diversely. And the diversity that God built into nature is built into us- He wants us, like Him, to create, and create diversely.
That’s why we celebrate. After all, what else can arts, entertainment and sports be defined as? They are a celebration of what we can do. We celebrate the craft of the sculptor and the grace of the dancer. We celebrate the passion of the drummer, the vision of the filmmaker. And we celebrate the strength, skill and speed of the athlete.
Celebration is our capacity to be creative, and enjoy creation. And sport is celebration- that is why sport is important to God! Because as we enjoy what He has given us, we praise Him for the job He has done. We rejoice in the diversity of the life He has given us. And as we ourselves create and celebrate our creation, we mimic the one in whose image we are made.