Rivals for a Day, Friends for Life: Conformed to Christ Through Football (Thanks, Samoa.)

Rivals for a Day. Friends for Life. I don't have to hate your team to love mine. Conformed to Christ through Football.

Football’s back! Life is good!

But before we put on our school colors, we’d better put on Christ.

So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, . . .
Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.

~ Colossians 3:12-14 NASB

Don’t worry. I’m not looking for football players to pass out hugs and flowers on the line of scrimmage. But I do want them to let Christ rule their hearts as they square off.

The stands is a different story. We could use a whole lot more hugs and flowers there.

We fans need to stop acting like we’re on the line of scrimmage and that the other team’s fans just stepped on our puppy. 

We need to keep the mindset demonstrated this summer by the nation of Samoa and the Samoan Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi.

Say his name three times fast. Actually just say it once and get it right. Not happening.

When New Zealand’s team, the All Blacks, arrived this summer for a rugby match, the Prime Minister and Samoans welcomed them with open arms and celebration.

The Prime Minister expressed that what made New Zealand and Samoa great rivals also made them great friends.

My daughter Carolyn got to see this phenomenon in person. She was in Samoa serving with a medical mission team when New Zealand arrived.

She described the streets lined with adoring fans, cheering and welcoming New Zealand to Samoa. She told me of the sign she saw everywhere:

Rivals for a day. Friends for life.

I watched a video of members of New Zealand’s team driving up in buses waving at the Samoan crowd who’d showed up in droves to greet them.

Several members of All Black expressed their appreciation of the kind welcome Samoa showed them. They added that the next day they knew they’d be set on beating them.

Rivals for a day. Friends for life.

Their shared passion for rugby and competition didn’t divide them except during the moment and on the field of competition.

Why must passion for our football team cause us to hate our neighbor’s team?

Put on your school colors and wear them proudly, but put on Christ first.

Rivals for a day. Friends for life.

In other words, 

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

 

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 won’t hate your team.

Rivals for a day. Friends for life!

(Thanks, Samoa, for setting the example. You’ve proved it can be done!)

I LOVE MY TIGERS!Now repeat after me:

GO TIGERS!

I gotta cheer for my Tigers. Still not hating your team, though. 

What do you think? Can we adopt Samoa’s mindset? I’d love to hear from you. 


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Comments

  1. Great post, Jean! Hope it helps every Christian sports fan keep their perspective.

    • It’s so easy to lose perspective when you’re passionate about something. I have to remind myself in the heat of the moment, too. 🙂 I’m glad you enjoyed this. Thanks for sharing it!