6) The Team
All of the items on this list are going to step on some toes, but perhaps none more than this. Sports in America, and around the world, are a religious activity for many. Think about it. Sporting events have ceremonial garb, rituals, communion … there are even congregational hymns (“Take Me Out to the Ball Game,” “We Will Rock You,” “We Are The Champions,” etc.). One author puts it like this:
The notion that sports remain our civic religion is truer than we often let on: In fandom, as in religious worship, our social connections are brought to life, in the stands as in the pews.
For whatever reason, people adopt sports teams like families (many times arbitrarily) and then encourage and support those teams (and the fans of those teams) with large amounts of emotional, chronological, and financial treasure. Churches, out of necessity, often schedule activities around sporting events in order to ensure attendance. Make no mistake, otherwise committed Christians will often choose to participate in their favorite sporting ritual over church; and opt for their kids to do the same.