SIDELINE SLANTS-Thoughts about religion, football and dying for championships

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN JOE KLEINSASSER
It’s time to do some year-end column cleaning. Did you know there are many similarities between religion and sports?

The following list demonstrates how football terms apply to church. I don’t know who to credit or blame for developing the list, but I thought it’s worth sharing.

Quarterback sneak: Church members quietly leaving during the invitation.

Draw play: What many children do with the bulletin during worship.

Halftime: The period between Sunday school and worship when many choose to leave.

Bench warmer: Those who do not sing, pray, work or apparently do anything but sit.

Backfield in motion: Making a trip to the back (restroom or water fountain) during the service.

Staying in the pocket: What happens to a lot of money that should be given to the Lord’s work.

Two-minute warning: The point at which you realize the sermon is almost over and begin to gather up your children and belongings.

Instant replay: The preacher loses his notes and falls back on last week’s illustrations.

Sudden death: What happens to the attention span of the congregation if the preacher goes into overtime.

Trap: You’re called on to pray and are asleep.

End run: Getting out of church quick, without speaking to any guest or fellow member.

Flex defense: The ability to allow absolutely nothing said during the sermon to affect your life.

Halfback option: The decision of 50 percent of the congregation not to return for the evening service.

Blitz: The rush for the restaurants following the prayer.

* * *

Scheduling home games has become a nightmare for Wichita State basketball coach Mark Turgeon because big-time schools are not willing to come to Wichita to lose. After WSU beat George Mason, LSU and Syracuse on the road, Roy Williams called Turgeon and said, “Now you’re going to have a tough time scheduling road games, too.”

* * *

Many crazed baseball fans have said they would die for a championship. Now they can take their devotion to the grave.

A new venture will put Major League Baseball team logos on urns and caskets. MLB has entered into a licensing agreement with Eternal Image, which hopes to eventually make urns and caskets for all 30 teams. The company also hopes to have agreements with NASCAR, the NHL and the NFL.

* * *

If you’re an official, you have to appreciate the French parliament.

Earlier this year they passed a law to give greater protection to referees in all sports from acts of violence. Under the new law, causing injuries to a referee resulting in a work stoppage of more than eight days will be punishable by up to five years in jail and a fine of 75,000 euros.

Apparently, violence against refs has increased in France. A referee needed 10 stitches in his head and suffered a partial loss of his eyesight after being hit by stones during an amateur soccer game in southern France.

* * *

Gene Wojciechowski wrote on ESPN.com, “Hey, it wasn’t ESPN’s fault the Raiders, offensive linemen were never introduced to a blocking sled.

“Quarterback Andrew Walter got sacked so many times (nine) that he wanted to call fair catches on shotgun snaps. He spent more time on the turf than the yard markers did.”

* * *

Overheard at a high school football game in Wichita: A fan complained loudly about the football being spotted just shy of the goal line. Another fan, who also happens to officiate football, said, “We’re 75 yards away at a 60-degree angle rooting for our team, and that guy is 3 feet away with no agenda whatsoever. Do you think he might have gotten this one right?”

The complaining fan did not respond, although his spouse found it humorous.

* * *

Was it worth it? Considering that Hillsboro High School football coaches had to work a couple of extra weeks, I’d say the district got a bargain this year. The pay is the same whether or not the team continues playing in the post-season.

By making it to the semifinals of the playoffs, the Trojan coaching staff made less per hour this year.

In this case, I guess winning is its own reward.

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