How Bron­cos quar­ter­back has po­larised the sport­ing world

Where there’s a Wills

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - SPORT -

THE Nats of old used to say that sport and pol­i­tics shouldn’t mix. That was twaddle then and it is now.

In the real world, our elected rep­re­sen­ta­tives will put their oar into every­thing where there’s money, the na­tion’s good name and free tick­ets in­volved.

But what of re­li­gion and sport?

The Nats of old were happy for teams of their choos­ing to pray on the field and there are plenty in the new South Africa who overtly align their faith and the score­line.

Many are the post- match in­ter­views which in­clude a ref­er­ence to the almighty’s role in pro­ceed­ings, and overt thanks to heaven are of­ten prof­fered on the field for a try, a goal or a wicket. Some also give praise for a birdie putt.

Here this stuff goes largely un­com­mented on.

Few seemed to even find it bizarre and un­healthy when Han­sie Cronje in­spanned Ray Mccauley as the Proteas’ team pas­tor.

We ac­cept much of this as rou­tine and so, I thought, did the Amer­i­cans who lead the world in “Shout It Loud And Proud Re­li­gion” and where God has a pub­lic hand in ev­ery Os­car, Grammy and pres­i­den­tial elec­tion.

That was un­til Tim Te­bow came along.

Te­bow’s the star quar­ter­back for the Den­ver Bron­cos who, as the sports cliché goes, has taken his pub­lic be­lief “to the next level” and po­larised the na­tion in the process.

Tim, the home-schooled son of a pas­tor, praises the lord in­ces­santly and his on­field prayer rou­tine is now called “Te­bow­ing”.

He marks scrip­tures in his anti- glare eye­shadow. He ap­peared in a half-time com­mer­cial at the Su­per­bowl – noth­ing un­usual in that ex­cept it was for the anti-abor­tion Pro-life group.

Even for some with faith he has gone too far and Te­bow has be­come a di­vi­sive fig­ure crit­i­cised for do­ing too much of a good thing.

His re­tort: “If you’re mar­ried, and you have a wife, and you re­ally love your wife, is it good enough to only tell your wife that you love her on the day you get mar­ried? Or should you tell her ev­ery sin­gle day when you wake up and have the op­por­tu­nity? That’s how I feel about my re­la­tion­ship with Je­sus Christ.”

Ah yes, goes the ri­poste, but if you told ev­ery­one ev­ery day that you loved your wife you would be a right pain in the back­side and then they quote scrip­tures about god’s need for un­demon­stra­tive prayer ... and then the Te­bow camp fire back some­thing from Proverbs and around it all goes again.

This will never be re­solved to ev­ery­one’s sat­is­fac­tion but maybe along the road more tol­er­ance and hu­mil­ity will emerge on all sides in this thorny is­sue about which Bob Skin­stad tells a won­der­ful story of his first game for Stel­len­bosch.

As cap­tain Bob was sud­denly in­formed that he must lead the side in a pre-match prayer.

He then blurted out the only holy text which came to his un­pre­pared mind; “For what we are about to re­ceive may the lord make us truly thank­ful.”

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