Keeping Score

So last time I talked about going to a baseball game, and how it reminded me of going to church. This got God and I to talking about sports in general. Of course “sports” is up there in the list of most talked about subjects, so really it was rather more mainstream of a conversation than I’m used to having. As a subject though, it’s up there in the company of things like the weather and politics.

Now baseball stands out from other sports in that it’s been singled out as The Great American Pastime. I think I’ve got a good idea of why that is. It’s a game you don’t need to pay attention to, and Americans like things they don’t have to follow too closely. Things happen, in baseball, at a leisurely pace. It’s not like basketball, football, or hockey where the action is frenetic and sometimes hard to follow. This means you can chat with your friends while watching the game and not generally feel like you’ve missed much. You can go get something to eat, you can shop for souvenirs; you’ve got the time.

In other ways though, baseball is just the same as every other sport. It has its passionate fans, its devoted followers, its sinners and saints. And also, like every other professionally played sport, it has one big thing in common with religion: Everyone thinks that their team is the best, whether they win or lose, but which team is theirs is mostly just an accident of birth.

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