The Football Post


by Rachel Held Evans Read Distraction Free

Note: If you’re not a college football fan, that’s okay. I’m not here to convert you; just plant some seeds. 

College football season has finally begun and I’m allowing myself one post about it…(two if Alabama defends their national title and I have some serious gloating to do).  

With Tim Tebow out of the way, Christian bloggers are under no obligation to debate the effectiveness of biblical eye paint this season, so opportunities to write about God’s favorite sport would be limited were it not for my friend Chad Gibbs, who has written a fantastic book entitled, God and Football: Faith and Fanaticism in the SEC.  

It’s funny. It’s creative. It’s thoughtful.  And it’s SPOT ON in its depiction of the idiosyncrasies found in Southern football culture. 

Now, I have to admit that when I first heard that Chad was an Auburn fan who had defected from Alabama, I was horrified. Alabama vs. Auburn is the most serious rivalry in college football, and the thought of some Auburn fan getting paid to cover the 2009 season made my crimson blood boil. 

But as the season progressed and Alabama continued to win, I realized that this was the perfect scenario:  An Auburn fan is forced to write about the glorious comeback of his arch-rival. 

This provided Chad (and now his readers) with the opportunity for thoughtful introspection regarding the emotional hold that sports can have on our lives and the tension this can create for people of faith. It’s easier to observe this tension objectively when your team is losing, which means this book will be spiritually beneficial to everyone except Alabama fans. 

For us, it’s just one more opportunity to relive the best season we’ve had in seventeen years. (Case in point: The first chapter I read was the last chapter. The second chapter I read was the one about “The Block.” Then I started again at the beginning.) 

The book is full of some great lines that football fans will appreciate: 

  • “Now twice God had guided my teams through undefeated seasons, only to break my heart in the end, once because I thought he was picking on me and now because he didn’t factor in strength of schedule.” 
  • “Losing makes me introspective, which means Vanderbilt fans must be the most self-aware people on earth.” 

As well as plenty of lines that anyone with a sense of humor would appreciate:

  •  "Being a Southern Baptist whose knowledge of nuns comes exclusively from Whoopi Goldberg films, I assumed the sister was actually from the Dominican Republic.”
  • “I spat in the face of optimism; I urinated in the cornflakes of hope.” 

Chad’s also got a great blog you will definitely want to follow during the 2010 season. 

So that’s my football post. I’ll try to resist the temptation to rehash game day every week and instead stick with our favorite topics here: doubt, theology, faith & science, missional living, books, coffee, monkeys. 

…But be sure to look for the next football post in January. ROLL TIDE! 

 Where do your sports loyalties lie?

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