To give the printers and the post office time to do their work, the articles in this issue were edited around the end of January—right about the time the “Fridge” took half the Patriots’ defensive line into the end zone in the 46–10 romp that was Super Bowl XX.

All of which was unfortunate timing for associate editor (and rabid Bears fan) Rodney Clapp. After all, he had vicariously led the Monsters of the Midway to a 15–1 season (not to mention two consecutive shutouts in the playoffs). Yet, in the midst of all this, he found himself in charge of two sports essays taking an often-critical look at our Sunday through Saturday obsession.

Whatever dissonance Rod may have felt in handling this assignment only mirrored what most of us feel about our competitive nature. (Including CT executive editor George Brushaber who, after recommending the work of sports theorist Shirl Hoffman featured in the article on page 17 [“The Sanctification of Sport”], admitted to liking “a few good hits” when watching a football game.)

“Dog-eat-dog,” “reckless abandon,” and the quintessential “killer instinct” may earn our disapproving scowls outside the arena, but inside that sanctuary of sports these same qualities form the essential building blocks for that consummate sports virtue—winning.

That is not exactly a metaphor of the gospel or the Christian walk. Or is it? An increasing number of Christians in professional sports say it can be—and on this point both Hoffman of the University of North Carolina and Robert Roberts of Wheaton College focus their respective pieces.

A postscript: For the diehard fan who feels no tension exists between compassion and competition, Hoffman offers the following conundrum: “Former Los Angeles Ram Rich Saul once warned his Christian opponents: ‘I’m going to hit you guys with all the love I have in me.’ ”

Now there’s a new twist on tough love.

HAROLD SMITH, Managing Editor

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