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Faith Comment published in the Petersfield Post

18 July 2012: Jon Piper, Hope Church

Flawed Heroism

The nation has already taken sport to its collective heart this year. The European football and Wimbledon entranced many of us for weeks, while anticipation for the Olympics and Paralympics grows.

I'm personally planning a couple of months within constant, easy reach of some form of coverage of the games. No screen shall be untarnished by the blur of a sprinter, the splash of a swimmer or the dunk of a ball.

I am worried about the celebrity element though.

I'm writing on a day where there are two sports personalities dominating the national media. One is presented as a dour Scotsman who has won our hearts with emotion, while the other is portrayed as a violent, racist thug. Both or either of those portrayals might be true, but throughout their careers, both men have been viewed as heroes who have failed in their heroism.

I know how they feel.

My nine year old son, who used to be impressed by my every move, recently exclaimed boldly that he is better than me at football. This is almost certainly true, but it still hurt.

Then he beat me at chess. Is nothing sacred?

In the end, it's easy to raise these sporting heroes to great heights and watch in terror as they predictably fall from those pedestals. The alternative hope for Christians seems to be that we participate in the joy and exhilaration of the occasion while recognising that only one person will ever meet our great expectations.

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