On EWTN’s The Journey Home last week, Marcus Grodi and his guest, Doug Lessels, talked a bit about football. I never played football – I ran cross country in high school – so I naturally relate more to the metaphors that St. Paul uses in his epistles. Football, unlike running, is more of a team sport. The quarterback might be the star, but if his linemen aren’t blocking, he’s going to get sacked. The wide receivers has to run his route in order to be where the quarterback is going to throw the ball, and even if he doesn’t get passed to, he still forces the other team to cover him.
We are all part of the team that is the Church. Paul said that the hand, the foot, the ear, and the eye were all part of the same body, codependent upon one another. St. Therese recognized that in God’s garden, both roses and little white flowers are necessary, and if she was to be a little white flower, her aspiration was to be the best little flower she could be. We all have our gifts; we all have our role to play, and we all have a responsibility to and dependence upon our teammates.
We are not without our coaches and cheerleaders. On All Saints Day especially, we are reminded of those who have taken the field before us and gained entrance to the glorious Hall of Fame. The letter to the Hebrew tells us that we are surrounded by a cloud of witnesses.
So yes, football fits. Baseball fits. Running fits. Sports competition mirrors the spiritual life, and whatever your sport might be, there are important lessons that you can learn from it.