God and Football, A Chad Gibbs Guest Post

This is a guest post from my friend Chad Gibbs. 3 years ago Chad and I were two fledgling writers doing stuff for the Burnside Writers Collective, emailing each other about the books we would some day write. Today, I am still emailing people about the books I will someday write and Chad is an author. What a jerk, huh? Here’s Chad.

(oh, and Chad’s gonna give away a few of his books at the end of this post so stay tuned.)

Tomorrow you wouldn’t recognize me. Well, you might recognize me, but if we spoke you’d assume I was a loony, or heavily medicated, or that you’d actually bumped into my socially awkward twin, Thad.

You see tomorrow my Auburn Tigers play LSU in a matchup of the only two undefeated Southeastern Conference teams, and I’ve had trouble concentrating on anything else all week. In fact, as I type this I’m re-watching last week’s game against Arkansas for at least the fifth time. I can recite Vern Lundquist’s calls by heart.

So what?” you say. “You’re just another rabid football fan. There are millions of you.”

True. But the problem is, for the last two months I’ve been speaking on TV and radio, to churches and civic groups, promoting a healthy perspective towards football. These opportunities arose after the release of my first book, God and Football: Faith and Fanaticism in the SEC, which is being called an illuminating, laugh-out-loud look at the place where faith, football, and fanaticism meet. Never mind that I’m the one calling it that.

The book chronicles my trips to all twelve SEC schools last fall. At each stop I went to a football game and a church service, all the while spending time with rabid, Christian fans, just like me. It was an amazing journey, and by the end of the season I had learned so much about myself, particularly why the losses bothered me so much.

In fact, it was the losses, particularly Auburn’s 2008 season, which I refer to in the book as our Book of Job, that inspired me to write the book in the first place. I wanted to know why that sick feeling stayed with me through Saturday night, and actually hindered my worship the following morning.

So had Auburn stunk up the joint this season, I would have been totally prepared, but this early success has caught me off guard.

Maybe God is just setting you up to really test you later this season with a devastating loss.” A Florida Gator fan suggested this last weekend at a book signing. My response to her, “Get behind me Satan.”

Of course she is right. Not that God is letting Auburn win games so he can really test me later, but that Auburn will lose a game one day, maybe tomorrow, and after this success it will be a tough loss to stomach. But I’m ready for it, and until then, it looks like I will be dealing with something unexpected: The excitement of cheering for a top 5 team.

That’s the way life works though. We have a struggle, and we think once we overcome it life will be easy, but there is always another struggle waiting to take its place. And I don’t think life is suppose to be easy anyway, because what fun would that be.

Maybe it’s easy for sports fans to reflect on their skewed priorities when their team is losing. Sulking often leads to introspection. Maybe this is the hard part, keeping a proper perspective during what could be a special season. But I think I’ll be okay, as long as I can remember the lessons I learned last season, no matter what Cam Newton does on Saturday. War Eagle!

So would you like a free copy of God and Football? Chad is giving away five copies (5 copies!!!) to my readers today, and all you have to do to enter is post the name of your favorite football team in the comments. According to Chad, those who toss in a ‘War Eagle’ will be given extra consideration.

Chad Gibbs is the author of God & Football: Faith and Fanaticism in the SEC.

He blogs here, he tweets here, and he facebooks here.