Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Stuff We Gloss Over in Sports

If you know me or have read my blog for a while you know that I'm a big sports fan with a passion for the Indianapolis Colts, IndyCar racing, the Indiana Pacers, Indiana University football and basketball and the Cincinnati Reds. I also follow just about everything.

Even though I cannot make contact with a golf ball (which makes playing the game difficult, if not impossible), I still follow the game--especially when it comes to the majors*. Just a few days ago, Greg Norman made an impressive run at the British Open. At 53 years old, "The Shark" nearly pulled off one for the ages (pun intended--thank you) but had to settle for third place. However, even a third place finish in a major is quite an accomplishment at his age--considering the fact that he's been off the golf radar for quite a few years.

By his side the entire time was his new wife Chris Evert. Chris is a former tennis star and current commentator for tennis tv broadcasts. She's won a few majors of her own in her respective sport. As you can imagine, the press was really eating this story up: an aged pro trying to do what no man has done before with his beautiful new wife and former tennis star at his side. The two were inseparable in their love for each other.

But, as with most second or third marriages, there's more to the story. You can read about it via this link or read it below:

Evert admits affair started Norman relationship

Story by Reid Cherner & Tom Weir of USA Today's "Game ON!"

Chris Evert finally has admitted what long has been rumored about her marriage to Greg Norman: That their relationship began with an affair while both still were wed to others.

In an interview with Vogue magazine, Evert says the attraction between the two "was like an irresistible force," and that attempts at counseling couldn't save their longtime marriages to former spouses Andy Mill and Laura Andrassy.

The tennis legend and Norman, who finished tied for third in the British Open yesterday, were married in the Bahamas in June. When they separated from their exes in 2006 both publicly maintained there were no third parties involved,

Evert also told Vogue they are considering living in Norman's native Australia, and that they've been inseparable.

"That's one thing I've learned, you've got to do things together," said Evert of beginning her third marriage. "We've both been very independent in our lives, even with our partners. He likes to be involved in every aspect of my life and I've never really had that before."

She also says Norman could have excelled in other sports: "I tell him he's too good an athlete to have been a golfer, because he can really move."
Do the private lives of these people matter? I think so. They are looked up to by golf and tennis enthusiasts and they are well known even out of these circles. I'm sure they are very happy together. That seems to be all that matters to people today. Is it good to be happy? Yes. But do we pursue our own selfish happiness at the expense of others? It seems like the world is telling us that the answer to that question today is, "YES!"

I have to admit, I was sucked into the Greg Norman story just like a lot of people and then I got to thinking about the people involved who have been hurt. I'm no better than Greg Norman or Chris Evert, but I think we need to call this what it is and not glorify it. Certainly these two have excelled in their athletic careers, but they have also let many people down in their selfishness. Statistics don't lie. The chances of this couple going the distance are slim. Since they've already broken up one ore more marriages, what's it going to hurt to let another one go when the time comes? Right?

I believe that we can find happiness where we are. More importantly, I think we can be content with what God has given us which will lead to something better than happiness:

10 I rejoice greatly in the Lord that at last you have renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you have been concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. 11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.
--Philippians 4:10-12

We all struggle with the pursuit of happiness because we're born with it and it's taught in our world. Paul tells us that the key to breaking free from it is LEARNING to be content. This implies that we will be faced with times when we are tempted:

12 So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall! 13 No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it. 14 Therefore, my dear friends, flee from idolatry.
--1 Corinthians 10:12-14

I feel like I just preached a sermon. If you read this far, thanks for sticking with it. If you're married, tell your spouse how much you love him/her and that you'll never leave their side.

*Ok non-sports fans. This is just for you. Finally, you'll know what others are talking about when they say, "You know, that so-and-so is a great golfer, but he's never won a major." In golf, there are four BIG tournaments that are considered major tournaments (i.e. big money, tradition, prestige, etc.): The Masters (always held in Augusta, Georgia), The U.S. Open (moves from year to year), the British Open (held in various locations in the UK and also referred to as "The Open" since it's the oldest tournament of the majors) and the PGA Championship (various locations in the USA). The ladies have the Kraft Nabisco Championship, LPGA Championship, US Women's Open and Women's British Open. Tennis has majors as well. The men and women participate in the same tournaments and they are the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and US Open. So, now you know!


Uvulapie said...

Thanks for the glossery (pun intended) at the end of your post but all I need to know about gold is that Alice Cooper is THE MAN and that gives the game instant cred.

Mr. E said...

I agree with you 100%. Everyone is celebrating the birth of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt's twins. They are not even married for cryin' out loud. How horrible! Now Alex Rodriguez is getting a divorce over possibly having an affair with Madonna. ????? Why????

I am so glad I got my job promoting healthy marriages in my part of Texas. America needs a few more examples of what Great Marriages really are!

Arby said...

The more I learn about what goes on behind the scenes in professional athletics the less I pay attention to professional athletics. The product being sold isn't just a performance on a court or on a field, but also the conduct of the players in every aspect of their lives. The quality of the product is poor. Most athletes do not deserve my time, my money, or the attention of my children. Unfortunately, for every Tony Dungy there are 100 Michael Irvines.

eally said...

I will never follow sports for the simple fact of all the money they are paid...it's ridiculous! When you have people playing games making more money than policemen, firemen, teachers, etc...no thank you - I will not add to their glory.

Great "sermon" by the way!!