Sunday, December 02, 2007

Football fervor

As many of you know, I live in Alabama, where our allegiance to God, country and football is legendary, and not necessarily in that order. In fact, the joke goes that once you cross the state line, you must declare your loyalty: Alabama or Auburn. Roll Tide or War Eagle. Crimson and White or Orange and Blue.

And lest you think I'm exaggerating, you can check out my friend and fellow Alabamian Leslie's post on the annual Alabama-Auburn game (aka "The Iron Bowl"). Keep in mind her loyalities lie with the crimson and white.

Like Leslie, I too grew up chanting "Roll Tide roll!" My dad was an alum, so choosing sides was a matter of tradition and family legacy.

That is, until we moved to Texas when I was in eighth grade. I find it interesting how much our surrounding culture shapes our passions. Living apart from the Tiger and Tide hotbed, and then marrying a wonderful man who happens to be an Auburn man through and through led to a measure of indifference on my part.

We now live in Alabama, but despite the joke I referred to earlier, I don't declare loyalty one way or the other. My husband is raising four of the biggest Auburn fans you can imagine, and no doubt it would thrill his heart for his wife to also don the orange and blue. Instead, I now say I'm non-denominational when it comes to football in Alabama. I just want everyone to be happy.

But sometimes I wish I were one or the other. In her post, Leslie describes the sense of community and commaraderie that arises between fans of like persuasion, and it's true. My boys will be sporting some of their various Auburn paraphenalia and should we encounter another Tiger fan, here in town or in another state, there is immediately a sense of commonality and unity.

Not to mention a common enemy and common hatred. My friend whose husband is a purebred Auburn fan made the comment that if Alabama were playing water polo against the university of Osama, then her hubby would no doubt root for the bin-Ladens. Oh, many fans will claim they only cheer against the other when playing each other, but I never half believe them. To be an Alabama fan is to hate Auburn, zealously so, and vice versa.

One month awhile back, our usual pest control man was replaced with a young guy who was--and I do not exaggerate in the least--an Auburn fan from head to toe. Literally. Auburn cap, Auburn shirt, Auburn pen, Auburn key chain, Auburn tattoo(s). I've never seen anything like it. His allegiance was more than obvious. He wore it literally on his sleeve.

While in no way condemning the football fan, Alabama or Auburn, I can't help but think in terms of our spiritual fervor. To consider that it is a game, and in the end it is really only a game, that inspires such fierceness of emotion, in contrast things of eternal value often engender only a vague indifference. Oh, that I might have the same unwavering boldness in declaring my allegiance to Jesus Christ, my Lord and my Savior! How I pray for passion, zeal, and fervor that marks me as a follower of Christ! May we His church be united, may we know kinship and community with other blood bought believers, and may we be diligent in the fight against the enemy of our souls!

7 comments:

  1. We've had all these problems at our house recently and had to call an engineer to come and take some measurements and give us a professional assessment of our situation. Anyway, he had an Auburn decal on his car. The boys noticed this right away--Noah especially. Well, he started calling for me from across the house and demanding that we not let the guy in our house because he was for Auburn. I had to explain that Auburn was a real school with a good engineering program, and that this guy was really smart and we needed his help..."this has nothing to do with football, son. And you'd better not be rude to him." Our kids kept staring at him like he might sprout an extra head or something! It was kind of funny...

    I understand what you're saying, though. Though the "Roll Tide" moments are more frequent right now than others, I have had SEVERAL times when I've met another woman at a store or a neighborhood park and just through our conversation we could tell that the other was a believer. I usually end up asking, "Are you a believer?" or "You're a believer, aren't you?" somewhere along in the conversation and that always opens up the conversation....an instant connecting point. It just lifts the comfort level with one another to know that this woman is a sister in Christ, we're going to be hanging out for eternity. I love those moments.

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  2. Being the mother of a bunch of boys and a sports crazed husband I can totally relate to this post.

    I pray with all my heart that I wear my allegiance to Jesus on my hat, my t-shirt, and every where else. I know that I fail miserably at times but seek to give myself grace and not beat myself up over it. Only Jesus can make me the perfect flower I know he truly wants me to be. I pray with all my heart he will turn me into that rose soon and I can quit being the weed in the garden so much of the time.

    Blessings to you,
    Julie

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  3. I live in Indiana, and I am drowning in Colts' blue. I like the application you make.

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  4. I just thought about that last night as I sat on a plane coming back from a visit with my mom. Who on the plane truly knew our Lord and was I going to share the Love of Jesus with them? I want to be that Auburn fan (which I think you should send to Leslie's house, tee hee;) ) and wear my Lord all over me. I want Him to shine through and for me to be bold & stand up and proclaim Him to others. "I am not ashamed of the gospel!" :)

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  5. I have had the thought at a football game that one day we will be cheering, all united, very loudly for the most famous one of all, our Jesus. Won't that be a glorious day!!!

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  6. I have to admit I got a little overzealous when my Georgia Dawgs completely and utterly dominated both Bama teams. Those were both some quiet Sundays at church..:))

    And I'm sure there's a way to spiritualize that, but I can't think of it right now...:))

    Lisa

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  7. We are University of Georgia fans here (well the rest of my household, I am more by marriage) and I know what you mean about the passionate love and hate (in our case for Tenn. & Florida) it inspires. My paster is also a UGA fan and has made comments several times from the pulpit about how if we could show half as much passion for Christ as we do for our teams, our world would be a different place.

    "Oh, that I might have the same unwavering boldness in declaring my allegiance to Jesus Christ, my Lord and my Savior! How I pray for passion, zeal, and fervor that marks me as a follower of Christ! May we His church be united, may we know kinship and community with other blood bought believers, and may we be diligent in the fight against the enemy of our souls!"

    Amen. This one also gets the linky love.

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