Saturday, December 27, 2014

Picture This: My Spirituality through Sports (Part II)

The Catholic novelist Flannery O'Connor lamented our age's loss of "a sharp eye for the almost imperceptible intrusion of grace" into our fallen world. I suppose that's why I begin my Sports and Spirituality course by having students share a Sports Moments of Grace. We must train the eye to see. The first instruction for how to live a life by the poet Mary Oliver is "Pay Attention." Sports Moments of Grace invite us to do that. 
What exactly is a Sports Moment of Grace? In the article "March Madness," the Rev. Dr. Michael Tino describes them as "peak experiences." He writes, 
During peak experiences, it is said one finds connectedness with the universe around us—sometimes one is overwhelmed with that sense of being part and parcel of a vast and wondrous creation. 
Many of my colleagues described experiences like sitting on mountain ridges at sunset, or finding deep inner peace on a meditation retreat. I thought of women’s basketball. Needless to say, I kept my mouth shut… perhaps I should have shared this sooner!
I wish he hadn't. But, I'm grateful he recalled a missed opportunity and wrote about it to encourage others to do the same. Said moments can also be understood as 

  • A moment of self-actualization
  • When you found connectedness (not all need to involve connection, but many do….)
  • Kairos…not Chronos
  • Flow
  • Sports Moment of Grace
In the five years I have taught the class, I have told my students about the 201o World Series parade that took place on my brother's 40th birthday; this year I wrote about attending a baseball game in Tokyo, Japan as my Sports Moments of Grace. 

We learn a lot about one another in the sharing of our stories and I hope the exercise is just the first one of many where-by I train their eyes to see in a new way. Choosing a photo that captures their spirituality is another. Here is part two of the venture.
“I'm forever in pursuit and I don't even know what I am chasing.”
–Harold Abrahams, 
Chariots of Fire

I think what I miss most about football is...the guys.
Not winning, or losing or catching touchdowns.
It was like, the locker room and the bus rides home.”

- Cooper Manning
“Family on three. Family” —Fouad Zaban, head football coach of Fordson High School

“Grace is the presence of God within us.”—Friar Jim Van Vurst

 “Run in God’s name and let the world stand back and in wonder.”
Reverend J.D. Liddell —Chariots of Fire

"Every time we encounter another person in love,
we learn something new about God." —Pope Francis

No comments:

Post a Comment