The Joy of Sports

[Michael] Novak concedes that sports is “not the highest form of religion . . . and Jews, Christians, and others will want to put sports in second place” (emphasis added), but “when human beings actually accomplish [victory in sports], it is for me as if the intentions of the Creator were suddenly limpid before our eyes: as though into the fiery heart of the Creator we had momentary insight.” Or again: “He who has not drunk deep of the virtues of football has missed one of the closest brushes with transcendence that humans are allowed.” Playing sports thus gives a glimpse of eternity, “a foretaste of the eschaton,” an opportunity to break the ordinary bonds of mortality. Non-believers, and those who absent themselves entirely from sports, seem to Novak a “danger to civilization.” In fact, he says he has never met a person who disliked sports who did not seem to him “deficient in humanity.”