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Wednesday, November 17, 1999
Houston, Texas
Volume 65, Issue 62

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Sports and God -- do they really mix?

By Marcus Cardenas

Upon hearing the judges' decision of the Lennox Lewis-Evander Holyfield fight Saturday night, it was brought to my attention that God does not exist. The evidence?

Simple. One of the men in Holyfield's corner was on his knees with his eyes closed while the judges' scores were being tabulated, praying that his fighter would win. Holyfield didn't win. He lost.

Holyfield is the boxer who trains while listening to gospel music. He claims to be a devout Christian (his illegitimate children aside). He's supposed to be the good guy -- but he lost.

Some guy prays to God that the boxer he's rooting for will win. That boxer loses. Therefore, there is no God. See? Simple, like I said.

OK, enough with the pugilistic riddles. Let me get right to the point: God and sports do not mix. Period.

Is anyone else out there tired of athletes (from the high school level to the pros) proclaiming God was the cause for their victories? "I guess God was on our side today."

Really? Then who was on the losing side? Satan? Yeah, I'm sure anyone who has lost at anything would support that theory.

I'm going to go out on a limb here and guess that God doesn't give a mustard seed about sports. Why should he/she/it/they? I mean, come on. Those athletes can't really be serious when they credit God with their on-field accomplishments, can they?

Similarly, should students be allowed to say a prayer over the loud speakers before a high school or college game? Absolutely not. Not because it's offensive to members of other religions (which it may be), but because it just doesn't make any sense.

I've heard the prayers before. Some chirpy girl or guy stands in the press box and prays into the microphone that the teams will use good sportsmanship and nobody will get hurt. Uh, it doesn’t work.

People get hurt. Fights would sometimes break out. And only one team celebrates at IHOP after the game, enjoying its victory with hamburgers, pancakes and God on its side.

People will always get hurt in sports, especially the more contact-oriented sports like football. Does praying really make a difference? If so, how must the guy lying on his back on a football field with a severely fractured ankle feel about himself?

You have to wonder if he's asking himself what he did wrong that no one else on the field did. Or maybe he's mentally tracing the quickest route from the emergency room to the nearest confessional.

What is appropriate is the post-injury prayer. I think it's really touching to see teammates from both sides in huddles praying for an individual who has been seriously hurt. When Michael Irvin lay motionless on the ground a few weeks ago, players gathered on the field in groups and prayed.

Despite the idiocy of some fans who cheered the injury for whatever demented reason, the kind of care that was showered on Irvin, who had recently been charged with his fair share of crimes and misdeeds, is more than welcome anywhere.

As for sportsmanship, I think it's sad that we should have to pray for that in the first place. Look, the pregame prayer sounds like a nice gesture -- it really does -- but let's face it: Sports are a secular part of life.

This exploitation of deities for our culture's obsession with sports is a gross indecency of what our faiths, whatever they may be, should really be used for. A greater devotion to family and friends, a more productive role in the community and a sincere appreciation for the self as an individual are some possibilities.


 
Cardenas, a junior creative writing major,
can be reached at geminimeg88@hotmail.com.
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