We have been in the midst of Football finals, and people have been declaring their alliances as the number of teams still eligible to play was reducing through the knock out process.
In Australia we seem to be quite sports mad. In Victoria they have recently introduced a ‘Grand Final Eve’ public holiday! Most states have a public holiday for their regional horse race, some have them for boat races, and some believe that ‘Boxing Day’ is a holiday for the start of a cricket game or yacht race!
There is something different about competitive sports and the ways it can divide, compared to the Olympics, which seems to have a more unifying essence to it. There are divisions in families similar to Romeo and Juliet with regard to which team people support. There is nothing more unthinkable than allowing your son or daughter to marry into a family that follows a different football team. Some have been excommunicated for their perceived abandonment of the traditional family values!
We are also infinitely aware of the health of all of our team members, who their girlfriends are, or if they’re in trouble with the law. Leading up to major games we know if any of our team has a niggling injury or the whisper of a cold. But how much do we know about those we actually see from day to day? How important to us are the everyday life details of those we work with, or share aspects of our life with?
A week or two ago was ‘R U OK?’ day, a day designed to highlight the need to have a meaningful conversation with friends, family and colleagues to ascertain their state of mind and demonstrate that we all care for each other.
What have we become as a community when we need a day to remind us to be genuinely concerned about people around us? In the Bible it tells us there are 2 important rules for a good life. The first is to love God with everything we’ve got. The second is to love your ‘neighbour’ as yourself. (Mark chapter 12 verses 30-31). Jesus explains that basically our neighbour is anyone other than ourselves.
Loving our neighbour and caring for their needs as much as we care for our own needs would require us to be as interested in those around us as we are for the well-being of our favourite football team members! Imagine the difference in our communities if this were actually the case.
Now that’s a thought to ponder as you cheer on your team whoever they may be.