Fan or Fanatic?

When it comes to sports there are fans, and there are fanatics. I know, I know, “fan” comes from fanatic, but not all fans are created equal.

A simple fan enjoys watching their team compete and roots for them to win. This fan may feel a bit of a letdown when the team loses, but they don’t lose their temper, or any happiness, as a result.

A fanatic is different. This is the person who speaks in the first person plural when referring to the team. We won! Those officials are calling against us! The fanatic is possessive when it comes to the team. Yeah, those are my Boys!

This kind of behavior is seen with the simple fan at times too, but there is a difference. The simple fan doesn’t allow their emotional state to be determined by a team they don’t play for, don’t own, and cannot do anything to improve. Well, I suppose you improve the owner’s bottom line by spending money on tickets and paraphernalia, but that won’t make them play any differently.

Why are fanatics so, well, fanatical? One word: identification. The fanatic identifies with the team on a personal level. They are projecting their ego onto the field, or court. It’s not just a team, it’s my team, and that means it’s me out there. When my team wins, I win. I am a winner! But when my team loses, I am the one who got beat. I am mad. I feel lousy. I am not a loser!

Sports fanaticism (or celebrity fanaticism, which is another form of this) is an unhealthy sign that you don’t have anything more valuable to live for. Your life and happiness is dependent on a team you don’t play for (or a sport you probably don’t even play, even if you once did). Sad. Living vicariously (that is, through someone else) is not real life. You have a life. You have a purpose.

Purpose. Everyone needs a reason. It’s not an accident that Rick Warren’s book, The Purpose Driven Life has sold over 30 million copies. Is it a good book? Sure it is. Straight forward and biblical. But that’s probably not what got most of those people to buy the book. It’s what the title of the book promises: there is a purpose for your life. You have a purpose in life, and only God can show you what that truly is.

So, what is your purpose? Do you know? Have you been searching? Have you been asking yourself, or, better yet, asking God? Jesus said, “Ask and you will receive. Seek and you will find. Knock and the door will be opened” God has a plan for you. Seek Him for it, and don’t give up. Then pursue God’s purpose for you fanatically!

There first purpose for all people made in the image of God is to re-establish a connection to their Creator. That happens through Jesus Christ. “To as many as received Him he gave the right to be called children of God, even to those who called on His name” (John 1:12). The “Him” in that Bible verse is Jesus Christ, the Son of God. He lived, died and rose from death so that you and I can be a part of His family and have a relationship with God as our Father. Once that relationship is established, I spend the rest of my life becoming more like the Jesus, which prepares me to live forever in the presence of my Father.

There are specifics to this for your particular life. You have a calling. You were created to do something on earth, something special. Ask, seek, knock, and start living life on purpose.

If you’re living vicariously through the Cowboys, Longhorns, Mavericks, or even the NBA champion Spurs, you’re going to get let down. Even if your team stays on top, that has nothing to do with you. You didn’t put them there. You’re not there with them. You didn’t play, recruit, coach or do anything, except pay them to entertain you. Stop living your life for people who don’t know you or care about you. Enjoy your sport; watch your favorite team play. Now go and live your life for something more meaningful.

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