Of course last night's game disappointed me, though not as badly as it might have if the 49ers hadn't come back in the second half. After the game, we phoned the Associate Pastor of our church, who's a devoted Raven's fan, offering heartfelt congratulations. Because I love this pastor, I had resolved to be happy for him if his team won. To my surprise, that resolution came much more easily than I thought it would. And rejoicing with him dissipated my disappointment considerably.
Today, after looking at various comments about the game on Facebook, I'm disappointed in the lack of sportsmanship that some 49ers fans exhibit. Granted, certain calls the referees made seem questionable, but the Ravens did play well, and a failure to acknowledge their accomplishment shows a mean spirit.
Perhaps society has forgotten how to win and lose graciously. What a sad prospect! Yet, shouldn't sports teach both players and fans to congratulate winners and compliment losers on a game well played? I was brought up with that ethic, and try to keep such attitudes. I'm very competitive, mind you, and I don't like losing, but I understand that good character, not a high score, is the truly important thing. As a matter of fact, I was always taught that character development was the true purpose of sports competitions.
I wonder if the grumbling and anger among some of my fellow 49er Faithful grieves the Lord. Oh, those who don't claim to know Christ can sputter and fume to their hearts' content without bothering me (though many of them have impressed me today by choosing the high road). But a few Christians, rather than applauding the Ravens' accomplishments (such as Jacoby Jones' 108 yard touchdown), are gorging themselves on sour grapes. Does the Lord take pleasure in their rancor?
Football is only a game. But like most trivial pursuits, it can expose hearts, therefore turning something that really ought to remain in the realm of triviality into something of great consequence. For those unable to say "good game" to opponents with a sincere heart, I'd ask you to offer your heart to the Lord for His review. Ask Him to show you the cause of your anger. Then exchange that anger for a willingness to rejoice with those who rejoice. Trust me, you won't be disappointed.