Friday, September 30, 2011

Divine Intervention

If God was really helping professional athletes out, wouldn’t we notice?

Most weekends during the fall, I (along with 150,000,000+ other Americans) sit at home and watch football players follow up most plays with a theatrical hop, skip and skyward glance.  Often this glance is accompanied by crossed arms, closed eyes or biblical verses scrawled on their eyeblack.  They may be thanking God for the play’s result, but the result was clearly human – all too often a defender will take down a running back after a 30 yard run only to genuflect and thank the Big Man upstairs for helping him make a play on the ball.  Where was God for the first 30 yards?  If he took sides, wouldn’t we notice?  The same basic principal holds true for the winter, spring and summer (basketball, baseball and baseball, respectively); professional athletes seem to give God quite a bit of credit for even the most mundane performances, recognizing divine influence in every deep 3-pointer and infield single.  

But what if God made his presence felt in more concrete terms?

What if the next time Tim Tebow (God’s favorite son) gets into a game and hurdles someone, he just keeps floating up, higher and higher, breaking the plane just before he disappears into the heavens.  What if Donte Greene takes one of his patented no look, half court running three pointers – but the ball never leaves his hand.  Instead, he floats into the paint and rips the rim right off the backboard.  They call the game, the Kings win, and wearing thorny crown instead of a headband becomes commonplace (until Lebron starts doing it, at which point everyone else stops except for Chris Bosh).  Better yet, what if the Sacramento Kings make money next season?

How will the sporting world respond?   Here are a few guesses:

1) Rethink the whole “don’t sacrifice animals” thing.  I think at this point God could go for a golden Bull, divine intervention burns more calories than you might think.  Plus, this particular Bull has a lot of vitamins and minerals, and everything else you get from eating 6 meals a day.  

2) Rename the New Jersey Nets the Brooklyn Rapture – it would be more relevant than ever, and the new stadium can serve holy water instead of Poland Spring.  Who wouldn’t be a little intimidated playing on the road at an arena named “God’s House” (until they sell the rights to Dr. Scholl’s)?

3) Revel in the sale of the Dodgers by Frank McCourt.  After God reveals himself to the sporting world, Satan comes forward and formally apologizes for his henchman.  The Devil may have dispatched Frank to wreak havoc on the world, but even he didn’t have this in mind.  Doug Brian also makes an appearance at the press conference before returning to his new home in the underworld.  

4) Rewrite the rules to eliminate interceptions in football, steals in basketball and stolen bases in baseball.  Remember – God is watching.  Pooch punts on first down, teams voluntarily turning the ball over, these selfless acts all become the norm as athletes and coaches try and secure their own tickets to Heaven (perhaps the greatest competition of them all). 

Will any of these things ever happen?  Only time will tell, that or Rachel Nichols.

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