Duke Divinity School Intramural Basketball……….and questions about competition.

November 25, 2008

Search me and all my thoughts, O God.  Even the Darkness will not be Dark to YOU.  Even the Darkness will not be Dark to YOU, for the Darkest of the Darkness is as LIGHT to YOU. 

So, the Duke Divinity School Intramural Basketball team had our first game last week and I came away from it utterly depressed.  We lost, yes, but that is not why I was depressed….

You see, I have this problem.  I have been extremely competitive since the day I was born and in the past it has gotten me into a lot of trouble.  This extreme competition in all that I do has produced depression, hostility amongst others and anger (among other things).

At the beginning of the game we were losing pretty bad and I was getting frustrated.  I mean, who doesn’t want to win? 

As I got more and more frustrated I started to be a little more aggressive on the court.  My frustration was evident as I started to complain to the refs about calls that were made (poor refs, they are Duke Undergrads getting paid minimum wage to get yelled at).  Our captain, who is one of my favorite fellow students, even told us to be careful about complaining to the refs, but I had a hard time listening.  It is incredibly embarassing to think back on my behavior, but it first hit me after the game was over. 

One of our players asked the other team to pray with us.  My first thought was, “Oh great, now they know we claim to be Christians.  This is when the embarassment was overwhelming.  I need to make something clear here.  Asking the other team to pray with us after the game and acting “spiritual” does not excuse my behavior during the game.  I think this is an example of how we, as Christians, act in todays world.  We think we can act like asses whenever we want, but if we “act superspiritual” at other times everything is okay.  That is not how things are supposed to work.    

It only helps me to recognize how many times I “act spiritual”  because I am supposed to be spiritual.  A life that fully embodies Christ is one in which everything is spiritual. From my actions on the court to my actions off, my whole life should be centered upon God.  When we separate the spiritual from the non-spiritual we are watering down the Gospel that gives us hope, life, love, beauty and truth. 

This Gospel embodies all that we do and there is no separation………………….this includes the basketball court.



A couple of questions to ponder…

How can we stop separating our lives into the spiritual and the non-spiritual?

There is a famous athlete that stated that “God comes first” after accepting a very prestigious award.  Can we really put God first if our lives revolve around competition and being the best?

Do all of our actions resemble God or do we do “spiritual things” to cover up the times when we have not been Christ-like.

Is competition healthy for Christians?


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