In "Our National Religion" Father Jud Weiksnar, OFM addresses a truth we are already familiar with, but need to reconcile. He points no fingers, nor takes any names. Rather he raises some important questions that our society must consider; he owns his part. He writes
Growing up loving both sports and church, I’ve noted a seismic shift in how society prioritizes the two, measured in time, money and energy expended. As a youth, I tuned in to the Major League Baseball Game of the Week every Saturday afternoon on NBC. Now, with cable, satellite and the internet, I have access to more games in one day than I once would have watched in an entire summer. Technology drove part of that change, but so did our priorities.
In the 1970s a Sports Illustrated essayist questioned how we could justify the average professional athlete’s salary being four times greater than a teacher’s. Today it’s 50 times greater. If you’re lucky enough to be Mike Trout, the multiplier jumps to 570. It’s impossible to imagine the trend in sports salaries and stadiums continuing at this rate.
In 2069, will average athletes make 625 times as much as teachers? In 2119, will we be spending 150,000 times more on new stadiums than on new churches?Weisknar invites the reader to consider issues of access, priorities, payment, values, and resources—in particular those precious two: time and money. I recommend reading the entire piece.
George Orwell wrote “To see what is in front of one’s nose needs a constant struggle." Weisknar offers this reminder in the context of Sports and Spirituality, for those who love both.
The word "religion" comes from the root "religio" Latin for binding. To think of religion is to consider what we are bound to? What grounds us? What are your roots? I think it is important to consider our priorities in light of this term and all that comes with it.
- What do believe are America's priorities?
- Coaches, how often do you speak about team, community, school and societal priorities? What do we want them to know?
- How realistic is it for us to expect our priorities to change?