With Tebowmania perhaps cresting–there is no knowing at this point what will happen in Foxboro on Saturday–I thought it appropriate to bring up something that I’ve been pondering for a while: what if religions sponsored sports? And by sponsorship, I mean the full Monty: TV ads, promotions, annoying pop-up ads on espn.com, the whole menu. We supposedly have this separation between church and state in this country, but it doesn’t say anything about separation of church and sport in the Constitution. On the one hand, you have these large enterprises looking for new customers, and on the other, you have potential customers with a demonstrated inclination for being passionate about something. It’s a potential marriage–dare I say it– made in heaven!
Some pairings just seem so natural:
Soccer and the Roman Catholic church: Both very big in the Latin world, and both run by corrupt bureaucracies.
Canadian football and the Eastern Orthodox church: Because they both play essentially the same game as the more popular version, just on a different schedule.
Lacrosse and the Church of Latter Day Saints (that’s the Mormon Church, dude): Both born in the good old USA and growing fast!
The X-Games and Satanism: “Hey, bro, it’s not like we’re really into this shit, we just want to piss off our parents some more.”
Hacky sack and Rastafarianism: What? I have to explain this one to you?
Jai alai and Bahai: Why not? And I don’t know anybody who understands either one of them.
But, hey, enough of this. Let’s get down to what matters to us: who sponsors golf? Now I know that question would seem absolutely ridiculous to Tom Lehman or Webb Simpson. To them it’s obvious: Christianity, of course. But, really, can Jesus cover all the sports? It’s kind of spreading Him a little thin. It makes Him sound like Bud Light.
Let’s also give golf a little credit. Like the Big Boy sports, baseball, football and basketball, there’s a huge audience out there and you can’t just assume that some random cult is going to wander in off the street, throw down a bag of dough and corner all the advertising on something so big. Everyone is going to want in on it–assuming of course that the demographics test out properly– and so there will be room for everybody. So let’s consider the pitches here:
Judaism: (First the disclaimer. Before anybody reads the following and gets all tweaked, you need to know the following: I’m married to a Jewish woman, father to three Jewish sons, AND a member of a golf club that was once predominantly Jewish. Basically that entitles me to say what follows without recrimination. It’s like the brothers and the n-word. If you’re part of the club, it’s cool.) Hey if you control the banks, the media and Hollywood, why not try to corner a big chunk of golf as well? And, besides it’s not like it’s a game that requires a lot of agility, foot speed and strength, just the money to afford it, the ability to negotiate, and an endless capacity for complaining. We’re in!
Buddhism: Number four religion in the world, people. They’re going to want some air time. Besides, all that talk about lack of attachment and living in the present moment sounds just like golf’s mental coaches. It’s a natural!
Islam: Hey, let’s keep an open mind here folks. Think about it for a moment. Sand plays a very big role in both. That’s one thing. Also, both have a tendency to impose rather severe penalties for infractions. Pilgrimages are also encouraged. Besides, you can’t have something like the Race to Dubai and then exclude them.
Christianity: The numero uno franchise operation in the business is going to take down a lot of ad time. The variety of denominations makes for some great sponsorship opportunities. The Quakers get first shot at promotions for the Putt of the Day because that’s a group that knows how to keep their mouths shut. The Baptists get all the water hazards and the Catholics get to trot out the patron saint of golf, St. Jude. Why him, you ask? Check it out: not only is he the patron saint of lost causes, his symbolic attribute is…a club. Kind of spooky actually.