Posted by: glorifyhim1 | February 28, 2011

Why I’m a Duke Fan – Win or Lose

I know that basketball season is in full swing and all sports-minded individuals are busily cheering for their favorite teams. Here in North Carolina, fans are quick to align with their favorite ACC college teams and either cheer or blast the winners. To be honest, although I love a good game of basketball, and I have cheered for Duke since around the 1980’s, I guess I fall far short of the real, diehard fan. You see, I’m one of those weird people who can pull for Duke one night, then pull for another ACC team on a night that Duke is not playing – even for the Tarheels! And what’s worse, I don’t always keep up with their schedule and sometimes I may even miss a game entirely. Now a really dedicated fan cannot understand someone like me.

So how did somebody like me get to be a Duke fan? It goes back to my Mama and my three kids. Mama loved ACC basketball and her favorite team was probably the Tarheels. She and Daddy watched most of the games and always pulled for the ACC teams. But as much as Mama liked to watch the Tarheels and pull for them to win, she got mad at them when she didn’t feel they were playing the way they should. At that point, she would pick up her book and begin to read. I can still hear her saying something like, “I’m not even going to watch them if they can’t do any better than that!”

My kids who often spent the night with Mama after Daddy died loved to watch these games with her. It was during this period that Duke logged several ACC tournament and season championships as well as NCAA final four appearances. During those years, we would all sit, cheer, and pull for Duke. Even today, it is still a sweet memory.

In all honesty, if Mama were alive today she would probably pull for the Tarheels, but she’d also pull for Duke if the Tarheels weren’t playing well. But I think those few years in the 1990’s forever sealed my destiny as a Duke fan. Although one daughter has since diverted to the Tarheels and another daughter could really care less (although she will wear a Duke shirt if I need her for support), my son and I still consider ourselves to be Duke fans whether they win or lose. And to the chagrin of many diehard basketball fans out there, for me it really has nothing to do with the game or the team but because of a sweet memory that I’ll cherish forever.

Isn’t it funny how we make decisions about which sports teams to follow? To me, its about a special memory. To others, it may be about supporting an alma mater. Still others may pull for a team because of their impressive records or because of someone they like or admire who pulls for the same team. Whether well-founded or not, the reasons for our decisions are probably as numerous as the fans themselves.

While such decisions may seem far removed from decisions we make about spiritual matters, unfortunately, they often look strangely similar. Just as I follow a team because of happy family memory, many of us belong to a particular denomination or belief system because of our families. Likewise, others may choose a church because of its impressive reputation or record. Still others may choose to follow a certain belief system because they admire people who subscribe to that particular belief.

In the Old Testament, Joshua appealed to the Israelites to decide who they were going to serve. “Now therefore, fear the Lord, serve Him in sincerity and in truth, and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the River and in Egypt. Serve the Lord! And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:14-15)  The challenge that Joshua put forth to the people demanded that they consciously make a choice between the one true God and the many false gods others served. When the people stopped to consider all that God had done for them, they immediately chose to serve the Lord (see Joshua 24:16-18).

Jesus issued a similar challenge to His disciples. “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me” (Matthew 16:24). When we really choose to follow Christ, no haphazard, lackadaisical response will do. It has to be a wholehearted, 100% committed response to follow the Lord and to do His will. Following Christ will not always be easy. It will require suffering and hardship, but we are also assured of eternal rewards (see 2 Timothy 2:11-13).

Choosing to follow Christ is the most important decision any of us can ever make. We have to make a conscious decision as to whether or not we are going to follow and obey Him. Just as I say I’m a Duke fan whether they win or lose, I must make a commitment to follow Jesus no matter what cross I may have to bear. But unlike my sometimes less than 100% dedication when I fail to follow my team’s schedule or miss one of their games, I must give myself completely, 100% to following my Lord. He doesn’t want a half-hearted, divided follower. He wants my all – no matter what kind of sports fan I may be!

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