Guest / Limited Access /

It is no coincidence that two current bad boys of sports agree on what constitutes the essence of sports. Unfortunately it is a philosophy that is getting them, and sports in general, into all sorts of trouble.

Terrell Owens is not a genuine article "bad boy," just a boy with bad manners, someone who represents the garish side of modern sports. He loves to delight the crowds with his antics, on and off the field. In his recent ego-biography, Catch This!, he recognizes that many people think he is "shameless, selfish, egotistical," but he justifies his outrageous behavior with this: "They forget that football is entertainment." Unfortunately, many say his idea of entertainment is like the junior-high kid who thinks burping at the dinner table is funny.

Jose Canseco, on the other hand, is a genuine article bad boy. He's not only self-centered, he's a cheat—something Owens is not. In his just-published best selling tell-all, Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant 'Roids, Smash Hits, and How Baseball Got Big, he acknowledges that he took steroids all through his baseball career. And he did so primarily to give the fans a good show: "I always saw myself as more of an entertainer than a ballplayer," he writes.

On top of that, he argues, the more steroids the better. With a syllogism worthy of Aristotle, he writes, "People want to be entertained at the ballpark. They want baseball to be fun and exciting. Home runs are fun and exciting. … Steroid-enhanced athletes hit more home runs."

And like a logician, he takes his philosophy to its inevitable conclusion. Baseball is not a contest or competition between two teams—the traditional understanding. Instead, "[Baseball] needs to remember that this is a game about individual athletes ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Play Ball
From 2005 to 2007, "Play Ball" examined the relationship of sports and faith: sports is important precisely because it is a form of play, that is, a manifestation of the Sabbath. Contributors included Mark Galli, Collin Hansen, Mark Moring, and others.
Previous Play Ball Columns:
Support Christian thought journalism. Donate to our nonprofit ministry today.
Read These NextSee Our Latest
Current IssueA Tale of Two Calvary Chapels: Behind the Movement’s Split
A Tale of Two Calvary Chapels: Behind the Movement’s Split
Chuck Smith’s successor says he is expanding founder’s vision. Other leaders say he’s diluting it.
RecommendedThe Secret Religion of the Slaves
The Secret Religion of the Slaves
They often risked floggings to worship God.
TrendingAll 240 Family Christian Stores Are Closing
All 240 Family Christian Stores Are Closing
More than 3,000 employees in 36 states will be laid off in the liquidation of one of the world’s largest Christian retailers.
Editor's PickA Tale of Two Calvary Chapels: Behind the Movement’s Split
A Tale of Two Calvary Chapels: Behind the Movement’s Split
Chuck Smith’s successor says he is expanding founder’s vision. Other leaders say he’s diluting it.
Christianity Today
Baseball Isn't Entertainment
hide thisAccess The Archives

In the Archives

February 2005

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.