Numbers serve many purposes in both sport and spirituality. A number is a measure—a means by which to mark the passage of time, distance traveled, and accomplishments that have been made. And the purpose of this post to celebrate an important one: 1000.In Scripture, numbers are used for much more than their literal function. As written on the website Scripture Revealed,
"Throughout the scriptures, there is patterns and symmetry that prove that it is inspired. We can see God’s designs and patterns not only through types and parallels but also in numbers and the meaning of names of people and places.
The number one thousand (1,000) symbolizes “immensity,” “fullness of quantity” or “multitude.” The number evokes a very long time according to most Bible passages. It is often used in scripture to specify an indefinite quantity. Many early Church fathers saw in the number 1,000, “the totality of the generations and the perfection of the life.” The number sometimes is used in a reference to paradise and everlasting happiness.
I can't think of a better way to capture the work of this blog and what I would like to celebrate: 1000 published posts.
In 2009, I decided to launch Sports and Spirituality for many reasons. For one, the writer must write. I knew that the discipline of putting pen to paper, or in this case my fingertips to my MacBook Air would not only make me a writer, but a better one too.
While practice doesn't necessarily make perfect, it does make things easier. Yes, there are times the words flow out of me, but there are also around 100 posts that sit in the draft file. Overall, I am more efficient at crafting and creating my posts. I have more tools, ideas and resources for how to improve and what I want to improve. No doubt, that makes things easier, too.
At the same time as the advent of this blog, I started to teach Sports and Spirituality—an elective for seniors in high school. The coursework, readings, videos, assignments, objectives and outcomes of this Religious Studies class afforded me with regular topics for this blog. Comments in class, stories from my students and their own lived experience became much more than musings. They were lessons in the light of faith and the living Word. The blog and the class have a symbiotic relationship.
This blog offers insight into my mental health. Indeed it has become my spiritual barometer. When I can't make sense of my day, week or month, I can look back upon what I have been drawn to write. What ideas are feeding my soul? What is sparking joy? Sports does that for me time and time again.
Though Sports and Spirituality, I have come to understand that a writer, (or any artist) must live with creative tension. For example, in order for the painter to paint, they must have enough time and space for an idea to be born. However, if nothing is pressing on that time, ideas remain in limbo or half baked. There is an interesting dance between what the artist can and cannot control. I have learned more than I could have imagined along they way.
The most popular blog post of the last 1,000 is "Catholics vs. Convicts: The Story Behind ESPN's Shirt of the Century." Over 11,000 people have read much of what I learned all about from my good friend Mike "Eggroll" Caponigro, over the course of one of our many San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge runs. Those were special times—both the ND vs. Miami era and the miles with Roll.
I have to say, I think one of my more creative posts is In Defense of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. With over 3,000 unique views, it is on the Top 10 Posts lists. I can be tongue in cheek; to purport this issue has value worth defending.... well....
The most popular post prompted by the life of my students is The Good, the Bad and the Catholic. I think it begins with a compelling ethical question and it speaks of students both good and Catholic who I don't want to forget.
Words cannot adequately describe how much I appreciate those of you who have read this blog on any sort of a regular basis. I am grateful to friends and family who support me in the development of this work and who understand what it really means to me. I love it when people share ideas for a blog post with me. Please keep sending, even if it doesn't go to print or....in this case, publish.Thank you!
There is much more to say, but as the Bible captures through 1,000 the “immensity,” “fullness of quantity” or “multitude.” of it all is for another time.
This past weekend as I was listening to E Street Radio, I was reminded that from January 2016 to February 2017, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band played "The River" from start to finish. This concert tour was in support of The Ties That Bind: The River Collection box set and in celebration of the 35th anniversary of the 1980 album—which is my second favorite.
After leading off with "Meet me in the City Tonight," the Boss would say the following words
By the time I got to ‘The River,’ I think I noticed that the things that bind people to their lives or their commitments—family, love—I wanted to imagine and write about those things. I wanted to make a big record that felt like life—like life for an E Street Band show. I wanted the record to contain fun, dancing, laughter, jokes, politics, sex, good comradeship, love, faith, lonely nights and of course tears.
I'm not one of the world's most popular musicians or an American icon, but in Springsteen's message, I see a lot the WHY behind Sports and Spirituality. I see the way both sport and spirituality binds people. Each calls us commitments, shared by our family and friends. I too wanted to image and write about those things. In 1,000 posts, I see that I have.
Thank you for the laughter, love, good comradeship, love, tears and of course—the faith. Here's to the next 1000.