My oldest daughter is a sophomore this year and is an amazing cheerleader on the high school varsity team already. In light of her awesomeness, after I returned home, I found myself being called to do a couple things that I never liked doing, even in my youth, just so that I could support her. The first thing I did was go to a high school football game to watch her cheer on the sidelines, and a few weeks later I went to her Homecoming Pep Rally. The combination of these events provoked this article on pothole in my lawn.

Guys who paint their faces, hair, and body the colors of their team and people who get excited at the sight of pompoms are true conundrums to me. In fact they annoy me. I just don’t get school pride or team spirit. Sure, I enjoy a good game just like the next guy; it may have me on the edge of my seat; I may feel a little enthusiasm when my team wins, but I don’t bleed my team’s colors, my heart doesn’t race when I see them run out onto the field, I don’t make loud noises with my mouth or armpits or gyrate my body in strange positions when they score. I don’t get that.

Sure, I enjoyed high school. I was on the track team, swim team, and played in the band for a couple years. I even went back for the ten year reunion, but I never ever called myself a ‘Panther’ or a ‘Raider’ (our mascot changed when the two city high schools merged). The only thing I have left from high school now are a few good friends, a year book, a varsity letter, some pictures, many notes from old girlfriends, and a couple hundred electronic friends on Facebook. High School never provided me with a sense of validation, establishment, or spontaneous excitement at having spied the school colors. And in college I never attended a football game. Didn’t understand the concept behind watching the guys who lived in the same dorm with me play football.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I have supported every major sports team in Cleveland, Ohio since I stopped wetting the bed (which my mother says occurred when I was around eleven years old) and I have had every item of team paraphernalia, trinket, and gizmo that you could think of, but I would never paint my body brown and orange, wine and blue, or red and blue. My body is perfectly fine the color it is, without any tattoos or artificial colors or flavors. I think I have a great physique – I put a lot of time and work into it and I am happy to show it off, but I will never feel the urge to go bare-chested in a football stadium with thousands of drunken men. That’s just not my thing. It may be your thing, but it’s not mine – thank you very much.

I don’t get what gives a ‘fan’ of a team the right to call any team ‘their team’ or use the words ‘us’ or ‘we’ in connection to talking ‘their team’. Sure, if they owned any percentage of stock in the team or were actually associated with the team as a player or employee I could certainly understand, but that is usually not the case. It is the case that grown men and women, some of whom have never and will never even play the sport, somehow arrive at a place of fanship where they actually believe that their favorite team belongs to them and thereafter deign to say such audacious things like ‘my team’, ‘we’re going to win’, ‘we are going to do well this year, ‘who did we draft’, and ‘you can’t beat us’. And then they wonder why they want to commit suicide when ‘their’ team loses the big game. It is true, every Sunday grown men cry because ‘their’ team lost, while, simultaneously, the multi-millionaires who were actually out their losing the game are now sipping on the best champagne in hot tubs. Who can make sense out of this phenomenon?

Another thing that I don’t get is ‘Dude worship’; that is, when guys wear other guy’s jerseys. Every team jersey I own, with the exception of one Lebron James’ old Cleveland Cavaliers jersey, has my name on the back. And the only reason I have one with James’ name on it is because a woman who I was involved with bought it for me on my birthday, and I briefly broke up with her because of it. I don’t do man crushes. I think it is very un-heterosexual for a guy to wear another guy’s name on his back. I may like the way a dude plays his game, I might root for him while he is out there on the field or court, chances are that I will critique his game while I am around other dudes, but I am not going to be a pothole and worship him. That is just going too far in my book. Worship Jesus? Yes. Wear the Crucifix? Definitely! I will do these things because Jesus is a dude above all dudes, but I am not going to worship a dude who can’t save me.

Sure, God Bless America – it’s a great country – best place to live in the world, but people who wear the American flag as a fashion accessory and go around looking for opportunities to call someone a ‘Good American’ perplexes the faculties of my brain. It is true, I would not live in many other places in the world, but I am not going to kill Mexicans for working below minimum wage or refusing to learn English, and I am not going to persecute Muslim women for not parading around naked like American women.

We love this country so much that we want to keep everyone out, even fifty million babies who have been murdered in the womb. But if you truly love something you want to share it with everyone, because you believe that it be as good for them as it was for you and you want to share that joy. This is why Christians share Christ Jesus and why I had to tell everyone about that ‘Thingamjig’ candy bar I had for the first time a few weeks ago. The oldest spiritual truth in the world is that the only way you can keep something is by giving it away. Therefore, if we want to keep our traditional American values then we have to give them away. The liberals get that principle very well; they are exporting the culture of death to every corner of the world, while conservatives are jarring up their values in mason jars and burying them for a raining day.

Let’s just put Jesus Christ first and stop troubling ourselves with things that we cannot take with us to Heaven or Hell. Stop falling into the matrix that these teams and organizations are selling. They want you to believe that you have some ownership in the team and players so that you will keep spending money with them. And for the sake of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, if the Native Americans thought so much of this country to welcome the Europeans in, how about we do the same with everyone who is trying to live here legally as good citizens.