People brag about juice fasting, diets, etc.  For Lent, they give up social media, high fructose corn syrup, etc. for forty days.

I feel called by the Lord to fast from one particular thing, and it will go until the first week of February.

From now until Super Bowl 48, I will be giving up sports.

*Walks away from computer and sobs for 20 minutes*

I don’t know why this is happening now.  Couldn’t I prepare myself for this, you know, before the NFL preseason started?  It would have been nice to know I was going to do this before I picked every single NFL game and wrote down my predictions for the season which I planned to blog about next week.  Why did I confirm this on the day college football begins?

This isn’t really an ascetic or religious fast.  I don’t think sports are sinful.  I don’t get angry when my teams lose like I used to.  I’ve actually cut back on going to sports bars, listening to sports radio, etc.

Why am I doing this?  First, I feel called by Jesus to do this after thinking and praying about it.  It’s that simple.  Second, I preach in a church plant full of people who, for some strange reason, don’t care for sports.  One of the strengths of our church is community and loving culture.  I wonder how I might view community and culture in fasting from sports.

Third, I wonder if I will be a better husband and dad if I took a break from sports.  Saturdays and Sundays will be available to my wife and boys.  Fourth, I want to see how difficult it is to break away from something that is an addiction and idol for many of us.  I do think sports is an idol of mine.  I love the athleticism, drama, and pageantry of it all.  In addition, memories of my dad propel me toward sports, and sometimes I spend 4-8 hours watching football game just because I want to remember my dad.  But that is not a good excuse to waste a day away from one’s family…especially 16 times a year.

Fifth, I wonder what will happen to me personally.  Will I lose weight?  Read my Bible more?  Read more?  Invest in my college students and church more?  Love and serve people more?  Experience new things?  Love Jesus more?

Finally, will I finally get the message of Ecclesiastes?  Sports fans, teams, and players are driven by the desire to see a champion crowned in their sport.  We pour everything in that desire.  We judge, cheer, boo, and let out many other emotions as this goal is pursued.  Then, a champion is crowned.

“Hmmm, I wonder who will win it next year?”

The cyclical vanity of it all.

I appreciate Tom Brady’s honesty after he won his third Super Bowl in 2005,

“Why do I have three Super Bowl rings and still think there’s something greater out there for me? I mean, maybe a lot of people would say, ‘Hey man, this is what is.’ I reached my goal, my dream, my life. I think, ‘God, it’s got to be more than this.’ I mean this isn’t, this can’t be what it’s all cracked up to be … I love playing football and I love being quarterback for this team. But at the same time, I think there are a lot of other parts about me that I’m trying to find.”

I don’t like Brady. (Why is that?  I don’t even know the guy.  I like Peyton Manning, but he could be more of a jerk than Brady for all I know.) But I feel like him in many ways.  Most of my teams (Bucs, Gators, Lightning) have won championships.  I’ve been to amazing sports (and wrestling) events.  I have all these memories with my dad that I cherish.  But, I feel like I am trying to find other parts.  The next ten months will be crucial to my family’s future as we pray about our next ministry phase.  I am committing myself to several college students as I disciple them and open my life to them.  I am being discipled by one of the greatest men I’ve met.  I need to make sure my household is in order and that my wife is being discipled.  I have people looking to me for vision and answers on a number of ministry issues.

In summary, I feel called by Jesus to do this.  I look forward to watching the Super Bowl in five months, but until then I hope to have other things on my mind besides watching hours of TV sports, listening to hours of sports radio, attending hours of live sporting events, and talking for hours about sports.  No ESPN.  No Bleacher Report.  None of it.

But pro-wrestling isn’t a sport.  So I will still watch that.  🙂

Oh, okay.  No pro-wrestling either.  Happy?