Guest / Limited Access /

Editor's note: Starting this week, Play Ball will become a weekly feature on Christianity Today Online, and will be written by an extended team of writers. This week we welcome Mark Moring, a former sportswriter who now edits Christianity Today Movies and Christian Music Today.

I like to win. I've always been competitive, though here in my mid-40s some of that edge has dulled. I'm finding joy more in the game itself than in the final result. (Still, I did hate losing a recent marathon game of Risk—Lord of the Rings version—to my 12-year-old, whose impromptu and snarky Mount Doom Victory Dance only rubbed it in.)

When the Olympics roll around, I tend to examine my own competitive spirit, and that's certainly been the case the last couple of weeks as we've watched the events—joyful, painful, and even controversial—unfold at the Winter Games in Italy.

I watch a fair bit of sports on TV, but nothing seems to trigger this self-examination like the Olympics. Why? I think it's partly a result of the way most of the media handles Olympic coverage. Open any sports section and right there, front and center, you'll see it: Medal Count. Or Medal Tracker.

Sure, I'm interested to see which countries are winning the most medals, but it's given far too much weight. I mean, when it's all said and done, do we really expect headlines that read, "Norway Wins Winter Olympics!"? I think not.

But more than the team medal count is the media's overemphasis on individual awards, as if the colors gold, silver, and bronze were all that mattered. I'm not aiming for a simplistic "it's not whether you win or lose, it's how you play the game" message here. I'm not launching into a "whatever happened to the real Olympic spirit" rant.

But I ...

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 Issue
Subscriber Access Only Reply All
Responses to our November issue via letters, tweets, and Facebook posts.
RecommendedQ+A: Inside Edition's Megan Alexander on 'Faith in the Spotlight'
Q+A: Inside Edition's Megan Alexander on 'Faith in the Spotlight'
The popular journalist shares about staying true to her faith in the TV news industry.
Trending‘Worst Year Yet’: The Top 50 Countries Where It’s Hardest to Be a Christian
‘Worst Year Yet’: The Top 50 Countries Where It’s Hardest to Be a Christian
Islamic extremism now has a rival, according to 2017 World Watch List.
Editor's PickThe Story Behind Trump’s Controversial Prayer Partner
The Story Behind Trump’s Controversial Prayer Partner
What Paula White’s Washington moment implies for the prosperity gospel’s future.
Christianity Today
Heavy Medal
hide thisAccess The Archives

In the Archives

February 2006

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