(Sport fans in the US are about to enter the Bermuda Triangle of sports. The NFL season is over. College Football won’t start for a few months. College Basketball is about to wrap up. Baseball is just in Spring Training. Granted the NBA playoff season is 22 weeks long, but only the last week matters. This is the sports dead zone. Fortunately, for all you fans out there, Bryan Allain is back with his hilarious approach to sports and faith. It’s great and it’s a perfect example of why guest posts are so fun. Here’s Bryan:)
Last year at Prayers For Blowouts I ran a video featuring the Head of NFL Officiating, Mike Periera. In the clip Periera explained that any time a football player scores a touchdown and then goes down to the ground to celebrate, he WILL be assessed a 15-yard Unsportsmanlike Conduct penalty. The ONLY exception, according to Pereira, was if a player went down to the ground to pray. This would not be penalized, he said, because “…I do not want to be struck by lightning.”
(Before we get to Christian end zone celebrations, I’ve got to ask something: why is it that whenever someone does something blasphemous or wrong, people joke around about God striking them with lightning? I’ve blogged about this before, but when was that precedent ever set? As far as I know, God never used lighting to kill someone in the Bible. A Great Flood? Check. Giant hole in the ground? Sure. But lightning? Zeus maybe, but not Jehovah. On top of that, why are we so afraid of lightning strikes anyway? They only kill about 80 people a year in the U.S. whereas horse-related injuries kill over 200 people a year. Maybe next time someone does something wrong, instead of saying “watch out for the lightning bolt!” we should say, “Ride ‘em cowboy!”)
Anyway, back to the end zone celebrations. Going down to one knee to pray is good, but you’ve got to admit it’s a little played out at this point. This is 2009 people, it’s time to step it up! As always, I am here to help. What follows is a guide to help you craft and execute a memorable Christian end-zone celebration, separated into 5 Tiers of awesomeness from Rookie to Hall of Fame.
Making the Crucifix:
For some, too Catholic. For others, too coordinated. It’s like playing connect the dots on your upper torso. How does it go again? Mouth, sternum, left nip, right nip? Bonus points if you finish it off by kissing a cross necklace.
Pointing to the Sky:
This is a great way to give praise to God for your achievement, but it can get confusing. Are you pointing to God or are you dedicating the touchdown to a recently deceased loved one? Or maybe you’re a fanatical bird watcher and a peregrine falcon just flew over the stadium with an albino field mouse in its talons. Now that would be something worth looking at.
Going to the Ground to Pray:
I appreciate the gesture, but what type of prayers are actually being offered up after a score? I have trouble concentrating during prayer if there are birds chirping too loud outside my window and you’re telling me someone surrounded by 50,000 cheering fans and a bunch of teammates slapping his helmet is going to get past “Dear God…”? Color me skeptical.
NOTE: Many athletes will combine all 3 of these by praying on one knee, then doing the crucifix and pointing to the sky. While it’s a nice combo move for sure, it still doesn’t get you out of the Rookie Tier.
Reenact a Famous Bible Story:
There are many Bible stories that can be effectively acted out in 15 seconds or less. Adam biting the apple, David dancing wildly before the Lord, or Saul being blinded on the road to Damascus would all make for great mini-theater in the end zone. Just stay away from anything in The Song of Solomon if you’d like to avoid a suspension.
Take Communion in the End Zone:
You’ll get penalized for using props in your celebration, but remembering the life and death of Jesus’ is worth a 15-yard penalty, right? Bonus points if you can drink the grape juice through your helmet without getting any on your uniform.
Slay Your Teammates in the Spirit:
You’ll need a few teammates to join in on the fun, but won’t it be worth it when the power of God drops them to the ground? Bonus points if you have cheerleaders stand behind the players to catch them and lay them gently on the ground. Extra bonus points if you get referees to lay modesty cloths over the slain players’ midsections.
Make a Dove Descend on You:
Having a dove descend onto your helmet after scoring a touchdown? Awesome. Dealing with angry reporters in your post-game press conference who think you’re trying to claim you are the son of God? Not so much. Proceed with caution on this one.
Force the TV Announcers to Speak in Tongues:
How great would it be if, following your touchdown on Monday Night Football, Tony Kornheiser tried to crack a joke and it came out sounding like gibberish to the millions of people watching? Answer: pretty great. Just don’t try this one when John Madden is in the booth. Most listeners won’t be able to tell the difference between his normal diction and an angelic tongue.
Perform Healing on Injured Teammate:
Why not take a page out of Benny Hinn’s playbook and pray for an injured teammate after finding the end zone? Bonus points if the teammate is in street clothes and immediately runs to the locker room to get his uniform on after God has healed him through your prayer. You’ve not only helped your team by scoring, but you’ve supplemented the depth chart as well. MVP, indeed.
Turn the Football into a Swine:
Turn the pigskin back into a pig and you’re not only showing off the power of God, you’re also making a confusing statement against macro-evolution. Bonus points if the pig reenacts Mark 5 by running out of the stadium and hurling itself into the nearest body of water.
HALL OF FAME TIER
Being taken away like Enoch:
In the ultimate form of an end zone celebration, let God whisk you away to heaven as he did with Enoch long ago. The downside: you’ll never score another touchdown. The upside: Hey, you went out on top! And you’re in heaven now, which means no more two-a-days at training camp.
Whether you’re a die hard sports fan or sports hater, I’m curious: what do you think about end zone celebrations? Do you like it when athletes act like they’ve been there before, or do you enjoy seeing the wacky stuff players can come up with to celebrate a score?
And if you’ve got a creative way for a Christian to celebrate scoring a touchdown that I missed, we’d love to hear it…