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Religion and Sports Essay


In the world of sport, man has internalized the concept of supernatural intervention as the basis of success. This success is greatly attributed to intervention by a supernatural being that is believed to be the force behind every victory. In the world of sport; from football, athletics, to indoor events, many participants have displayed deep religious inclination and belief for their outstanding performance.

Thus, this reflective treatise attempts to explicitly contextualize ideas and beliefs surrounding religion and its influence on success as claimed by athletes around the globe. Besides, these comments are categorized into themes attributing success to supernatural influence.

Reflection on religion as influential in performance and achievement through intervention of a super natural power has existed since the beginning of the ancient world. Reflectively, the Greeks had special prayers to their gods during sporting events such as Olympic which was named after their outstanding athletes.

Man has always believed in existence of supernatural powers and has established religion to practice the art of worship of the supernatural being (Higgs, 1995). As a matter of fact, irrespective of religion, man has always believed in strong supernatural power to decide the fate during sporting event.

Those who win are considered blessed by the supernatural being on their side. Across the globe, the main religions include Christianity, Islamic religion, Buddhism, and Judaism (Forney, 2011). Though these religious inclinations have variances in doctrinal beliefs and approaches to the supernatural force, they all acknowledge powers of the being as beyond human knowledge.

In the famous interview of Jonathan Edward, a British jumper and Olympic champion, declined to participate in the World Championship in 1991 because the sport was held on his worship day on Sunday. Later, he confesses of strong belief in God who is the source of his success. Since this event was held on the special day of worship, he believed that participating in the same would jeopardize his faith.

Thus, he decided to forfeit a gold medal he could easily win. Besides, the NFL quarterback’s Kurt Warner, advised a fellow team member to seek religious intervention by asserting that the Lord was with the team. Specifically, he points his finger to the sky after every score to appreciate the supreme power.

Kurt argues that faith and religion is part of his career and that his team depends on God’s endorsement to flaunt. Interestingly, Warner’s belief worked noting that they won all the matches played during the next four seasons of his athletics career.

Nathan Scheelhaase, Illinois quarterbacks, shares same sentiments with Kurt that religion is an identity concept as Tim Tebow. Besides, the former NBA Mutombo Dikembe and MBL Jeff Kent displayed religious acts when justifying success.

In fact, the former NBA Mutombo had to kneel down in the court before every match and his team to the powers of the supernatural being. In these circumstances, religion has been part and parcel of man’s success in sporting activities.

As discovered in the above scenarios, it is apparent that religion is critical in man’s perception of success in sporting events. It helps man to strengthen bonds that exist between him and the supernatural being.

In the current global arena, the same practice has been internalized by schools, collages, and other institutions across the larger America in support of the ‘religious doctrine’ and success of man theory. This theory opines that mankind has learnt to appreciate the intervention of the supernatural in their lives.

Considering sociological perspective, this view supports the social role played by religion in promoting success and discipline in mankind. For instance, when a belief is aligned to norms, the state of anomy is likely to minimize as man appreciates the need to conform to religious clandestine of chosen faith.

Moreover, when religion merges with human activities, the aspect of personalized and institutionalization of expected and actual behavior will ensure that contentious and self conflicting beliefs are dealt with as a social and not a personal problem.

Since sports attracts a mammoth of fans, it has positively contributed to ‘religious doctrine’ and belief in intervention by a supernatural being. In the coming Olympic Games, it is interesting to appreciate the arrangements that have been made by organizers to ensure the venue is safe and respectful to participants of different religious inclinations. Besides, major religious groupings have been invited to be part of the organizing team.

Conclusively, religion has played a critical role in presenting sports as a social event that nurtures discipline and submission to the powers of the supernatural being.

Interestingly, these athletes have internalized the influence of religion and vital part played by supernatural power in their success (Arnold, 2011). As a matter of fact, Edward boycotted a major event since it clashes with day of worship. Besides, Kurt always kneels down in the field before each game and attributes his success to God.


Arnold, P. (2011). Religion and Sports., New York: University Readers.

Forney, C. (2011). The Holy Trinity of American Sports: Civil Religion in Football, Baseball, and Basketball. Georgia: Mercer University Press.

Higgs, R. (1995). God in the stadium: sports and religion in America. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky.

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