A lesson from the World Cup about passion

A lesson from the World Cup about passion

So the World Cup is full and overflowing. It’s that time of year where countries come together to do what they do best: bicker about referees! And all this soccer talk has left an impression on me. So, let me tell you about my dog.

Everyday when I come home from work, Fiona bounces out to meet me. She’s like a kangaroo stuffed into a dog suit. And she always has this squeaky toy in her mouth, and she wants me to throw it — get this — so she can go it and bring it back to me. So I can throw it again. She’s on instant replay. It’s like she’s thinking: “I’ll keep getting the ball until either I die or he does.” And the other day I was watching her and I thought, “Boy I wish I could be like that! Not be a dog, and look everyone in the ankles, but be so passionate about something so simple that I could repeat it over and over and over ad naseum!”

And that’s really what all this hubbub about soccer is about, isn’t it? There are 22 grown men running back and forth after a ball for 90 minutes. Not that big of a deal really. But it’s the passion that makes the difference, see. If you paid 22 grown men millions of dollars to run after 22 balls on a treadmill of sorts, no one would watch. But it’s the idea that these soccer teams are made up of the best players, guys who have dedicated their entire lives to this one sport. Soccer is their gift in life — it’s their whole life actually. And that’s passion, and that’s attractive. And it’s catching! I can take the money I earn from my dead end job and turn it into something passionate by buying the jerseys, and flags and investing in my team! So that, as fans, we become part of the passion that is radiating off of the team.

We love the idea of passion! We’d be addicted to it if we ever found enough of it. Our teenage years were spent dreaming of meeting someone so perfect that we have no alternative but to be dumbfounded with passion. Overcome with a profound sense of intense emotion. We want to be possessed by romantic loveliness and kiss people in the rain like that movie The Notebook and get married to the soundtrack of the Twighlight movies. In our careers, it sounds so amazing to work in a startup. We’re captivated with the idea that three guys can build an empire in their parent’s garage out of nothing but passion and granola bars!

There’s an article about this guy who spent the past 35 years building a kinetic sculpture of San Francisco out of 100,000 toothpicks. And everyone thinks “This is colossal!” primarily because it is. The first year he was building it they all thought, “How cute, he’s gluing toothpicks together. Didn’t he have a childhood?” And now — 35 years later — they’re buying tickets to see his sculpture at the art gallery. Dedication like that is inspiring and motivates us to find a passion of your own that fills a void of boredom in your life, and that’s awesome too.

That might be one of the biggest turnoffs of Christianity actually. You say you serve a sovereign God Who is greater than all other gods and can hold the entire milky way in the palm of His Hand. You say He’s not only forgiven you for being the scum you admit to being, but He’s gone out of His way to adopt you into His family and promise you eternity. That sounds colossal. But have you seen how you worship? It’s more ‘ho hum’ than ‘awesome’. Where’s the joy? Does He save you to be lethargic? Isn’t there something wrong when Amazing Grace loses it’s ‘amazing’.

No one wants to be a puppy running after a ball, on repeat. We want truth that leave us full and overflowing. And that’s where passion starts.


  1. Thanks for the article. As an ex-sportsoholic, I have often pondered how unenthusiastic we can be about God and overly enthusiastic we can be about something that when you break it down…can look pretty silly. Best Wishes.


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