The Church of Sport

greg pressler desert run

Someone I trust offered me some sage advice years ago.

“Never talk about politics, money, or religion with people who you haven’t seen naked.” Although I didn’t know it then, his words to the unwise have kept me out of trouble on more than one occasion.

Along the road of life, I’ve taken a more dim view on the taboos we’ve placed on the discussion of certain topics. As long as our thoughts are carefully constructed, our words well-formed, and our general intent is not to slander or hurl insults, I think that frank discussions of what makes the world go ‘round are healthy.

Allow me to stir the pot a bit, and share some thoughts about one of my favorite religions, The Church of Sport.

The separation of church and state is a hotly debated topic, but isn’t it curious that almost no one brings up the “separation of church and sport” at a dinner party?

We’re a non-denominational organization, open to people of all creeds, genders, colors, VO2 max measurements, and shoe sizes. Welcome to the service.

One thing you’ll probably notice here is that our doors are always open, and we don’t have a set time or day of the week when the festivities begin. You can decide when to come and when to go home, and you don’t need to be here for exactly one hour. You can stay for 20 minutes, a few hours, or a few days. Your choice.

To say that our dress code is liberal would be an understatement. No suit and ties or dresses here. Functional is the rule. Need to come in running shoes? No problem. Is it o.k. to bring your bike? Sure. Need to come in shorts? Come on in.

We accept donations, and you can choose the currency. A long distance run, a tough game of pick-up basketball, or scraped knees while rock climbing in pursuit of a new peak will all suffice for our offering plate.

If you’re looking for a spiritually uplifting moment, the Church of Sport is a great place to start your search. Ask any of our congregation who have seen the sun rise (or set) while hiking or running on a remote mountain trail. Talk to the runner who has just pushed through the final miles of a marathon and can now see the finish line and hear the roaring crowds. Ride along in a kayak as you glide over calm waters that are suddenly broken by a whale dancing to the surface.

A sense of community can also be had here at The Church of Sport. Most of our members will eagerly assist you with a new sporting pursuit, show you the ropes, and lend you some company while you’re at it. If it’s solitude you’re seeking, you can find that, too. Most of the sports we enjoy can just as easily be accomplished solo.

One area where The Church of Sport comes up a little lame is in the food department. We don’t have any little old ladies with aprons in our basement whipping up pies and other pastries. You’ll have to fend for yourself and make your own dietary choices, although we will help counsel you to steer toward lower-fat, more healthful alternatives to donuts and coffeecake.

The leaders of The Church of Sport don’t sit on any lofty thrones or in glass palaces. The leaders of this faith are the congregants themselves; they are those who enjoy their sports with a passion. We encourage the members of the church to take initiative and, to steal the words of a famous footwear manufacturer, just do it.

Still floating aimlessly about out there on the sea of faithless upheaval? Confused by all of the beliefs available to you and still haven’t found one that lights your path? Can’t decide which karma to drive to chase down your dogma?

Don’t worry. The Church of Sport is waiting for you with open arms.

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