Love & Hate — The Confessions of a Fanatic Fan Being Conformed to Christ Through Football

 

My father-in-law Bob Wilund is ready for some football!

My father-in-law Bob Wilund is ready for some football!

Here are the confessions of a fanatic fan being conformed into the image of Christ through football. (It can happen!)

(Actually, I’m only confessing three today. I’m not quite ready to divulge all my confessions yet.)

Confession #1 — I confess I love football. A lot.

College – Pro – PeeWee – Doesn’t matter. I love it all!

Confession #2 — I confess I love Clemson football the most.

There really is just “something in these hills!”

Confession #3 — I confess I hate it when people hate Clemson.

No explanation needed for the first two. They’re logical — at least to me.

The third confession needs to be explained.

It’s not so much that I hate people not cheering for Clemson. I don’t understand it, but I respect it.

I just hate that they seem to feel the need to hate my team just because they love their team.

I feel as strongly about this next statement as I do about my Clemson Tigers:

I don’t have to hate your team to love my team.
&
You don’t have to hate my team to love your team.

When I say I love Clemson, I’m not saying I hate your team. I’m simply saying: I love Clemson.

I don’t have to hate your team to love my team, and you don’t have to hate my team to love your team.

I love being in Clemson, too. It’s a safe zone. 

I can wear all the orange and purple I want, and not one person will say something hurtful to me.

There's nothing like a Clemson game!

There’s nothing like a Clemson game!

In Clemson my daughter can answer the question of where she applied to college (This picture is old — my girls are brilliant but not going to college that young!), and no one will scrunch their face as if she’d crammed a pickle into their mouth and then utter a snarky comment about the school and team she loves, like what happened at the doctor’s office the other day.

I’m so weary of all the trash-talking.

Obnoxious fans don’t bother me.

Clemson could package and sell obnoxiousness. 

I love enthusiastic fans. It’s the hate and arrogance that’s worn me down.

Why do we embrace hate and arrogance in sports, but own it as unacceptable and prejudiced in almost every other arena?

Can’t we all just get along?

Back in my college days, I attended a Clemson game at a nearby university in another state. I wore a white shirt with Clemson subtly written on the front out of a desire not to “ask for it,” but I still got it.

An 80-something year old fan for the other team looked at it and spit on me! I was young enough to be his great grand-daughter, and he spit on me!

He didn’t have to hate my team to love his — and he certainly didn’t have to spit on me! 

Several years ago my five-year old daughter ran up to me crying in a Christian bookstore. Another young child had approached her and said horrible things to her about Clemson all because she had on a Clemson outfit.

Where do you think this very young child learned to trash-talk another child until she cried? 

She didn’t have to hate my daughter’s team to love her team.

If I don’t expect it in a Christian bookstore, I certainly don’t expect it at church.

Go ahead and proudly wear your team’s colors or logo to church — nothing wrong with that. But never forget why we’re there.

We come to church to worship God, not our team. Rivalry has no place in church. Unity does — rivalry doesn’t. 

For Christians, I’ll go so far as to say, we have a mandate from Christ not hate someone else’s team. (Mark 12:30-31)

Jesus’ “game” was no game — it was life and death — eternal life and death. Yet, Jesus didn’t hate those on “the other team,” even though they literally wanted to kill Him. (Luke 23:34)

How is it we get so worked up over just a game — a GREAT game — but just a game?

I wish we could just shake hands, say, “Good game!” laugh together and good-heartedly tease, “We’ll get you next year,” and leave the field as friends, not enemies.

Let's shake hands and leave the field as friends, not enemies.

Let’s shake hands and leave the field as friends, not enemies.

I’m still going to cheer for Clemson to win every time we play your team, but I don’t have to hate your team to love my team. Amazing!

If there’s one team I should dislike, it would be Florida State.

(Were you expecting me to say the Carolina Gamecocks? Why should I hate them? We’re from the same state! We should be like family cheering for each other — not hating each other.)

So, why Florida State?

Because they keep interfering with our winning the ACC Championship, but I don’t hate them. I like them. They’re a good team! 

I don’t have to hate their team to love mine.

Thankfully, not everyone acts this way, and to each of you, I say a hearty Thank you!

To all of you who’ve been on the receiving end of a Clemson fan trash-talking your team, to you I say, I’m deeply sorry. They showed poor sportsmanship and didn’t represent Clemson well.

And if that person was me, I’m super sorry!!!  

Now repeat after me:

I don’t have to hate your team to love mine!

I don’t have to hate your team to love mine!

I don’t have to hate your team to love mine!

Now repeat after me:

GO TIGERS!

No?

I don’t understand you! 

But I don’t hate you or your team!

I LOVE MY TIGERS!

I LOVE MY TIGERS!

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I sort of ranted a bit in this post, but passion and sports go hand in hand — as do love and hate.

I want to see love increase & hate decrease. In myself first, but I thought we could all handle being challenged.

I’d love to hear what you think. Did this challenge you, or do you not get my football fanatic insanity?

______________________________

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Even if you don’t like sports, you’ll love this post: : Monday Music: Because Life is Serious Enough (I told you I don’t mind obnoxious fans. This guy qualifies. It’s hilarious!)

You may also enjoy this post: Three Great Fathers — Three Great Lessons

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Comments

  1. susan pence says:

    I totally agree, My Dawgs play your Tigers this weekend, Go Dawgs! 🙂

  2. Jetta Allen says:

    AMEN! Gonna share this! You’ve touched on a problem I’ve seen in all three states in which I’ve lived. Especially hard to hear from Christians. Of course, you comments apply to other sports, too–like basketball!

    • Thanks, Jetta. I’m all for good-humored teasing among friends — when there really isn’t any hurtfulness intended — but it’s gone way beyond good-humored teasing in most places. Easy to solve if we all just love our team and stop hating the others. 🙂

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