A wide receiver points to the sky after catching a touchdown pass (or Tebows); a basketball player makes the sign of the cross before taking a free throw; a baseball player gives glory to God for helping his team win the World Series.
I always wonder if this places a burden on God. How does he establish a priority of answering prayers? Should he favor one player over another or one team over another?
Let’s say that a player who makes the sign of the cross before taking a free throw is not a particularly good person. Should God allow him to make that shot? What if a player on the other team is a much better person? Should God make the shooter miss?
And how do we explain a 90% free throw shooter that inexplicably misses two free throws at a crucial time in the game. Is God warning that player (the Ebenezer Scrooge effect) that there are more serious paybacks to come if he doesn’t change?
And do players from religious schools have more clout with God? When UConn plays Notre Dame, do they miss more free throws than when they play a public university?
These are theological questions; but they have sports implications for a sports-obsessed nation.
And when Tebow loses, does he feel abandoned by God? Or does he believe that if he perseveres God will answer him positively.
Of course we’ll never know, because only God has the big picture.