I promise this is the last thought I will write about football, at least for this month….
By the time you read this, you may already know. Some of you may simply not care. But for those of us who have the affliction of following football, and following England in particular, Sunday evening looms with a mixture of excitement and anxiety. Sport can do strange things to your emotions. Some will simply not be able to bring themselves to watch; fear will remove any pleasure. Others will maintain an easy confidence; of course we will win, but I suspect that is a front (or simple over-confidence). Most fans will watch, cheering and groaning at regular intervals. Oh the agony and the ecstasy! I’ve twice seen Kidderminster Harriers lose at Wembley in extra time; unless you have had the pain, you don’t appreciate the glory. At its best, playing or watching competitive sport, you understand passion accepting and embracing life for what it is, but dreaming of what it might ultimately be, always hoping.
Perhaps these thoughts give some insight into parts of the bible? My passion as a football supporter helps me understand some of what St Paul writes, as he describes the agonies and ectasies of his own life as a Christian minister:
“ We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed… So we do not lose heart… For this slight momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all measure, because we look not at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen; for what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal.”
So get behind your team and your life.