I’ve spent a good deal of time in Buffalo, even lived there for a few weeks when the Empire State Games rotation hit there in the 1980s, and like my time in Washington, D.C., I came away completely impressed with the devotion of fans to their respective football teams.
So I can only imagine how devastating this year has been for Buffalo Bills fans, who are among the hardiest and most ardent fans in the NFL. Their 2010 campaign had seemed particularly cursed, so I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised to find out that the Almighty has allegedly been among those who have dissed them.
If you somehow missed it, the Bills’ dropped to 2-9 after falling in overtime on Sunday to Pittsburgh. Bills wide receiver Steve Johnson dropped a game-winning touchdown pass and then promptly tweeted the Almighty about apparently forsaking him.
I’ve been fuzzy for a long time on just what the heck tweeting was anyway, but if it actually does involve direct contact with the creator of the universe, I guess I’ve probably shortchanged its appeal.
I guess I need to quote his tweet directly, though I stop short of using multiple exclamation points (nor will I employ all-capital letters – it makes it seem as though you are hollering): I praise you 24/7! And this is how you do me! You expect me to learn from this! How? I’ll never forget this! Ever! Thx Tho ...
I am a little unclear about the closing, wondering if he had intended to say “Thanks, Thou,” which would seem pretty sarcastic to be directing it towards the heavens.
Anyway, I am hoping that this particular theological kerfuffle actually propels us a bit forward in this curious debate about how much of an active hand the Creator might be applying to sporting evens, professional or otherwise.
I watched in dismay for years as athletes of all levels and descriptions would thank God for their winning moments, all the while ignoring the seemingly obvious question of why a deity would favor one side or the other. It was that same notion that kept me from rooting for either Sammy Sosa or Notre Dame, despite the widespread fanaticism connected to both.
Sammy’s rather conspicuous hand gestures skyward annoyed me no end, much as the Notre Dame willingness to foster the perception that God was on their side did. Sosa’s comeuppance is ongoing, and not terribly different from that of the beleaguered Fighting Irish, who have found for some time that it takes a good deal more than divine intervention to allow the South Bend minnows to swim along with the barracudas at the highest level of Division I NCAA Football.
I am so thoroughly indoctrinated in all this that I am more than a little leery of lightning strikes for having put forth such apparent blasphemy.