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It's OK if Your Team Loses

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College football is the sport of choice in the south, and where I am from in East Tennessee, the University of Tennessee Volunteers have a huge fan base.

Tennessee has had some disappointing seasons the last few years, but this year has been entirely different. Being undefeated 7 weeks into the season is a dream for Vols fans everywhere.

We are all extremely excited about the success of our team. So excited that we took down the goalpost after beating Alabama for the first time since 2006 and threw it in the Tennessee River.

But Vols fans don’t just have large, over-the-top reactions when their team wins — they are also this rowdy when their team loses.

College football fans in general are always so proud and loyal to their team that they never seem to take a loss well. They trash-talk the other team and their fans online or even try to make excuses for why their team lost.

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Some fans go as far as drinking heavily, breaking items, and starting arguments that damage friendships with others.

I understand this disappointment. I am a Tennessee Vols and Cincinnati Reds fan after all. Neither of these teams has won a championship since I was born.

But are these the kind of reactions a follower of Christ should be having?

I’d like to think that Christians do not succumb to this type of behavior over something as temporary as a sports team, but I know that is simply not the case. Christians act similarly to unbelievers in this area.

The difference should be that Christians understand that sports are not eternal matters. They are not things we should be spending our time being angry about.

If followers of Jesus find it difficult to act in a Christ-like manner when their favorite sports team loses, then I fear that we cannot act like Christ when we face other disappointments in life.

In his video devotional, “As Bold As Lions“, Derek Johnson speaks about facing disappointment and trials in life as a believer. Using sports as an example, Derek talks about how we all need a perspective shift on life’s many disappointments.

In his video, he mentions this verse from the book of James: “For you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” (James 1:3-4, ESV).

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James is talking about facing trials in these verses. Trials test our faith, and tested faith produces good things in us, like steadfastness. When the trial has run its course in our lives, we will be better for it.

When we face disappointments, do we respond as if these verses are true? That if we let the Lord shape us through our disappointments we will be more like Christ because of it? Is this your perspective on trials?

I think we could all use a perspective shift when we face disappointments in our lives. These things are not enjoyable, they are hard and they hurt, but they are for our good. Suffering is unavoidable and uncontrollable, but we can control how we respond to it.

So next time your sports team loses, take it as an opportunity to practice a perspective shift. Responding well to small disappointments will affect how you respond to bigger ones in your life.

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Hannah Salyer is a follower of Jesus who loves writing about her faith and sharing the gospel through her work. She is a graduate of Cedarville University (2022) with a B.A. in Professional Writing and Information Design and minors in Bible and Women's Ministry. Hannah loves coffee, reading, and hammocking in the beautiful mountains of East Tennessee.
Hannah Salyer is a follower of Jesus who loves writing about her faith and sharing the gospel through her work. She is a graduate of Cedarville University (2022) with a B.A. in Professional Writing and Information Design and minors in Bible and Women's Ministry. Hannah loves coffee, reading, and hammocking in the beautiful mountains of East Tennessee.




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