Pedro: “Bats, they are sick. I cannot hit curveball. Straightball I hit it very much. Curveball, bats are afraid. I ask Jobu to come, take fear from bats. I offer him cigar, rum. He will come.”
Eddie:“You know you might think about taking Jesus Christ as your savior instead of fooling around with all this stuff.”
Pedro: “Ah, Jesus, I like him very much, but he no help with curveball."
Eddie:”You trying to say Jesus Christ can't hit a curveball?”
That little snippet is an excerpt from one of, if not the, finest baseball movies ever made, Major League and it applies, at least in America, to most major sporting events around the country.
C’mon, most of us have seen it in one form another. After all, it plays so well for the camera it’d be hard to pass up such a glorious shot. It’s just absolutely made for televsion. There you have Joe or Jane Jock delivering the game winning hit, bursting through a horde of would be tacklers, sinking that buzzer beater under immense pressure or kicking that winning field goal and the first thing they do is point their fingers skyward as if to say “That one’s for you (insert Jesus Christ or God here. Strangely Buddha and Allah and a host of Hindu gods don’t seem to be much into sports.)”
Shortly after the game is over and still dripping with sweat and emotion, a microphone is shoved in the victors face and they announce to the world their notion that it was either Jesus Christ or the Big Man Upstairs himself that carried them through to this precious moment.
I don’t know when all that stuff started. Maybe it was way back in the days of Knute Rockne in his heyday at Notre Dame when he made his players attend mass before a game. Come to think of it, down at South Bend at the Fighting Irish’s home field there’s a mural of Jesus that can be seen from the end zone. It depicts The Savior himself with his arms upraised towards the heavens and a serene look on his face. Among the faithful, it’s come to be known as “Touchdown Jesus”. There are team prayers before the games and nowadays it seems popular, at least in the NFL, for players who are so inclined to gather at midfield after the game is over, kneel down and hold hands and offer up a prayer as chaos in the form of both victorious and dejected fans dance all around them.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m a jock. Well, an aging jock who’s activities are limited to bar league softball games and rounds of golf replete with golf cart but growing up I was always involved in team sports. I think sports, if done the right way, helps build character and prepares one for the inevitable ups and downs that life eventually throws at us. From what I remember though, our coaches always told us that whether we won or lost, we were to carry ourselves with a bit of grace and show some dignity. Either way, the teams were going out for pizza and burgers afterwards. That's where the victors consoled the losers and the vanquished congratulated their more worthy opponents. There was no mention of The Almighty himself coming off the bench to lend an assist on the path to victory.
Shit, we didn’t have the balls to blame Him when we lost, surely we couldn’t thank Him when we won and besides, doesn’t He have more important things on his mind?
I sure the hell hope so…