A religious sports fan’s internal conflict

By  Nicholas Carafa, The Catholic Register
  • April 16, 2009
Toronto sports teams are recognized for their huge fan base. Whenever our teams are playing, we’re right there in the stands with them, supporting them through thick and thin. The people of Toronto support many teams, including the Leafs, Raptors, Blue Jays and Toronto FC.

But when does this passion for the game go too far? Is it right for someone to be more devoted to a sports team than their religion?

One weekend, I overheard a couple of my friends talking about another unsuccessful season for our beloved Maple Leafs. One said he was especially disappointed because following the Leafs was his passion and his life, comparing it to a kind of religion that all Leafs fans share. This got me thinking; has the sports world affected our lives so greatly that we have now decided to classify it as a religion? It’s hard to say, it must be a depressing religion as most of Toronto’s teams are nowhere close to success.

I share sympathies with my fellow Toronto supporters. It has been a tough few years for our teams. Failure after failure, we continue to fill the seats even though none of the teams have won a championship. After another “rebuilding” season, the Leafs continue to prolong their 42-year Cup drought. As for the Raptors, they are soon to complete a disappointing season that began with high hopes. But the Boys of Summer, the Blue Jays and Toronto FC, might shed light on Toronto’s woeful sports season.

As you can probably tell, I am a huge Toronto fan. I follow every team, continuing to hope that this is our year to win that championship. I believe Toronto fans deserve better than what we’re getting. The empty void presented by failure is not a happy feeling.

There is a sense of enthusiasm revolving around Toronto’s franchises, but the search for fulfilment should not stop at the ACC gates. It should expand into our communities, as we try to make the world around us a better place.

I hope people haven’t forgotten about the man who saved us from sin and promised to return to bring us to ever-lasting salvation. No, I’m not talking about George Armstrong (last captain of the Leafs to hoist the Stanley Cup), but the other guy we learn about in church: Jesus Christ.

There’s nothing wrong with being a die-hard Toronto sports fan, but the line must be drawn somewhere. If I have been taught correctly, the First Commandment states, “I am the Lord your God... You shall have no other gods before Me.” We must realize that sports are a form of entertainment and a business. We should realize that by revolving our lives around sports, we are not living a completely satisfying life. We need to treat others as we want to be treated, and live our lives to the best of our abilities while also fulfilling God’s plan  for each us.

I’m not saying we should throw away our passion for our city’s teams, but people should try to balance both worlds. Of course we want to enjoy ourselves, but we have to keep our faith and values in tact. We should try to have Jesus riding in the front seat along with our sports idols, and not forget about Him in the trunk.

(Carafa, 18, is a Grade 12 student at St. Basil-the-Great College School.)

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