. . . and that means we’re off to a state university to watch a couple state championship semi-final high school basketball games. My daughter’s team will play, as will the school’s boy’s team. Last year the girl’s team got into the top eight, this year into the semi’s. Not too shabby for. . . I was going to say, a small school. But the there is a somewhat level playing field, so to speak, in that the schools compete within divisions based upon school size. The kids’ high school is in the lowest division, having a student population of around two hundred.
It’s been a good year for sports. I mentioned that my son made it to the regional wrestling championship. That was a great accomplishment: he wrestled only half season last year and only half season this year. When he switched schools after first semester last year, he was, by Georgia’s Athletic Association rules, unable to compete for one complete calendar year.
Unlike so many American families that really get into sports, neither my wife nor I are particularly interested, at least not until the kids’ interest developed beyond the years of playing soccer (which is really football throughout the rest of the world). This year we even hosted a Super Bowl party in which my son had two male friends and three female friends over to the house.
Now I competed in various sports as a kid. I was on the swim team, competing back stroke and freestyle. I played football as a line man. I was also on the rifle team. But I didn’t get into watching sports or attending games. . . as I said, until now.
One thing I’ve noticed at both the wrestling matches and basketball games is the audience/spectator involvement. There’s an energy that seems to build until even I begin to shout “Yeah!” when one of the girls on my daughter’s team makes a long hoop shot for three points. And when their team leads by sixty points, we all cheer when a girl on the opposing team scores on a tough shot, and sometimes on any shot. At a game last weekend, a girl was hurt, twisting her knee badly. Immediately the gym began to quiet down, and when both team trainers and the athletic director headed to join the coaches attending the girl, you could hear a pin drop.
My take on all the energy flow, and reaction to injuries, is that spectators become engaged in the activity such that it becomes personal. Each player becomes a daughter or a son or a sister or brother. There’s a corporate flow of brain waves that seem to draw even the most reluctant person into the moment, engaging some primordial place within each of us. Some how we all become one family–at least for a few moments.
That’s a totally secular spirituality, in a sense. It’s what it was like when the Believers gathered together. They were all in one accord. [ ASIDE. That reminds me of a joke: The Bible says the Apostles drove a Honda; it says the Apostles were in one accord. The Bible also says Joshua rode a motorcycle; his triumph was heard throughout the land. ]
And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart. . .
Today is also St. David’s Day. Don’t know what that is, it’s a day for the Welsh patron saint, something like the Irish St. Patrick’s Day. I can only guess why all America seems to celebrate the Irish day and not the Welsh. Perhaps it has something to do with the invisibility of the Welsh in America. Here, yes, and throughout the last two hundred years, but reserved and just invisible. Anyway, Happy Saint David’s Day.
Lord Bless, Keep, Shine. . .