Friday, February 22, 2008

None Dare Call It Sport

While Christmas shopping this year, I saw a sports card display with a huge, gold-framed picture of Lou Gehrig. A feeling of awe came over me, quite similar to the feeling I had when I walked into the Sistine Chapel in Italy. I love Lou Gehrig. He represents to me all that sport can be but seldom is.

There were also huge, framed pictures of Michael Jordan and Pete Rose on display, which filled me with disgust. They filled me with disgust because both men, Jordan even more so than Rose, represent modern, Gnostic, capitalist sport. Mere physicality is demanded in modern sport. Whatever gladiatorial spectacle that can please the masses (and therefore make money for the capitalist owners and players) is the order of the day.

True sport is anti-Gnostic and anti-capitalist, because the good and true athlete competes as an integral man, with his body functioning in unison with his heart and soul. The good and pure athlete competes for the same reason a monk prays, so that through self-sacrifice he can save his own soul and others’ as well. True sport points to the Creator; it uplifts the spectator as well as the participant, while modern sport defiles and degrades and plunges the participant and the spectator into the depths of self-indulgence and depravity.