Saturday, January 22, 2011

Thesis Statement

When I was eight years old, I fell in love with sports. It was October of 1992, and the Atlanta Braves were playing game seven against the Pittsburgh Pirates to move onto the World Series. The image of Sid Bream sliding under the tag at home with Dave Justice and the rest of the team waiting to embrace him in euphoric victory is so vivid in my memory it’s as if the moment happened within my family. The late Skip Carey’s cries of, “Braves Win! Braves Win! Braves Win!” still give me goosebumps to this day. When Otis Nixon grounded out to end the World Series against Toronto, I was unconsolable. In my young mind, I felt the heartbreak along with them. Even in my devastation, though, I was hooked.

My story is by no means unusual. I grew up in a family devoted to the Braves and the University of Tennessee, and my devotions continue to this day. However, my appreciation of athletics has broadened dramatically as I aged. I find myself at times enthralled in Premier League matches between Arsenal and Tottenham, or ecstatic when Farokmanesh and Northern Iowa put away Kansas on a three pointer to end all three pointers. I converse with complete strangers on the ramifications of the Cam Newton investigation, why I hate John Calipari, or if the Braves will find a better hitter in the off season. This may seem irrational, but it's fueled by a drive that goes to the heart of who we are and how we see ourselves.

Part of enjoyment in being a sports fan is expecting greatness. Fans in Atlanta expected to buy game tickets into late October through the 90s and early 2000s. Brazilians and Germans have no doubt their national teams will earn their way to the final rounds of the World Cup. Greatness is expected and anything less is considered unacceptable.

We all long to feel this way in our lives. To stand with our arms raised as conquerors while the crowds cheer in jubilation. These moments, however, are fleeting if they happen at all. We grow discouraged and look for any outlet to provide affirmation and recognition; someway to feel like a champion. It’s a frustrating, defeating cycle.

During the summer after my freshman year of college, I read Waking the Dead, by John Eldridge. His thesis statement was based on a quote from St. Irenaeus, “The glory of God is man fully alive.” That statement has been etched in my mind. I find myself indulging in sports to find the champion feeling that, in reality, is available every moment of every day. If I am made in the image of God, then I am a living, breathing representation of His power alive in the world. Paul wrote in the New Testament that through Christ, we are more than conquerers. Through Christ, we now stand atop the podium, with glimmering medals around our necks.

Rather than provide this affirmation, sports can help us more fully realize and understand this power God has poured out on us. I plan to write my blog from this perspective, providing commentary on this transcendent quality inherent in sports. I will write on a variety of topics which I hope you as the reader will find compelling. My goal will be to write an article each week, so continue checking back for more updates.

Thank you so much for reading.


  1. Its about sports and God....2 of my favorite things!! Fabulous!

  2. love it, Mark! thanks for sharing from the perspective of what is deep in the heart of ever be 'fully alive'...

    it made my heart happy when I was reading in 1st John earlier today that "now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when He appears, we shall be like Him for we shall see Him as He is" (wow!)