By Curtis K. Shelburne
Once every couple of years my wife finds out how blessed she is.
You see, unlike many husbands whose fingers itch to control the remote anytime the TV drifts over to any channel not owned by ESPN, I’d usually rather watch an old movie (make that “always” if it’s John Wayne) than pretty much anything ESPN might offer. (Come to think of it, I happened to run across a darts competition on ESPN once, and I really enjoyed that.)
I’ve always been this way, and I can’t seem to help it. The only time sports on TV were ever very tempting to me was in college when I needed to be studying, and then they were amazingly appealing. So is broccoli to a starving man.
My sons who generally hold me in high regard find this aspect of my personality appalling. The fact is, it’s largely their fault.
I spent years at football fields and gyms because I loved to watch them and our community’s kids play. I’m so glad we were there, and no parent was ever more proud. Hey, I was Choir President in a big school and proud of that. But I’m as proud as I am surprised that I would grow up to father a sports dynasty. (My wife’s genes, no doubt.) I’d have been just as proud if they’d been all-star pupils (or excelled in any other area). (They did okay. If you like “slobber-knocking” quarterbacks you’ve gotta stay eligible.) But I can tell you from experience that athletic scholarships are not as lucrative as academic ones. Still, I was and am exceedingly proud of those athletes. As coaches say, “They were players.”
Not myself a “player” in the praiseworthy sense coaches mean, I’ve really enjoyed playing some sports (racquetball, tennis, etc.). I’m impressed with exceptional understanding and ability in any field, including athletics. But I confess (and in our society, that’s probably not too strong a word), I just don’t have much love of watching most sports on TV (whatever shape or size of ball we’re talking about). I don’t consider that a moral flaw, but it may be.
Sometimes it’s embarrassing. One of my sons was especially interested in one game one weekend and asked me what channel ESPN was in our TV lineup. I had to think to remember if we had ESPN. (No worries, we do. More than one.)
But every couple of years, things change. I absolutely love the Olympics, most especially the Winter Olympics, and I am very selfish with the remote when they’re on. Given the opportunity, I’ll stay up half the night and wear out the recliner watching downhill skiing and ski jumping and luge and . . .
And you’re gonna say, yeah, nerd, you probably like curling too. I would if I understood it. I just can’t say I’d really like to play something involving brooms and much sweeping.
But praise be to the God who has given us all such varied gifts and interests! He understands and loves us all.
Curtis Shelburne is pastor of 16th & Ave. D. Church of Christ in Muleshoe. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org