Wednesday, January 31, 2007

And now for something completely different ...

Anyone who knows me will tell you that I am a complete sports know-nothing. Oh, I like to watch football and dear friend Bjoern continues to try to encourage a love of European handball and I've been known to take part in a game of beach volleyball, but beyond that, I'm pathetic. But I have a great love of watching horse racing. Again, no knowledge, just "know what I like."

So I was very saddened by the news that Barbaro had been put down. He's the 1-year-old who won the Kentucky Derby and then broke his leg right afterward. He's been battling for 8 months to return to integrity, but the struggle was finally too much for him and for his owners. And the world lost a creature of God who (I suppose I should say that or which) demonstrated class, beauty, fortitude, and (by all accounts) courage and good spirits all through his short life.

I remember a seminar during seminary years, led by Robert Jenson (who might like to disown the who project, for all I know) in which we spent a lot of time arguing about whether animals would be in heaven. It was one party's view that there is nothing in Scripture to suggest that there will anything other than human animals. But the other party argued from the structure of creation and millenia of experience that if heaven was to be in any sense continuous with life on earth (thus fulfilling the creation, not cancelling it out), then animals -- pets, penguins, and (I'd now add) race horses -- must be a part of the scheme.

Well, regardless of the outcome of that argument, I think it appropriate to thank God for "fashioning" (in the word from Genesis) such a magnificent creature and for the brief chance that most of us had to see him in play.

This all arises because of a comment to one of my posts from David over at American Legends, a blog he maintains with other presumably sports nuts. He blogged an obituary there, which I appreciated finding among all the commentaries on the Super Bowl and the like by people who take their sports seriously. (Me, I'm just rooting for Chicago because it's Da Bears and I lived and continue to love the City of Chicago -- even though Tony Dungy used to coach here in Minnesota!)

Well, David suggested a cross-listing of our blogs and I'm pleased to be asked. So, you;ll find a new reference in my list of blogs. Especially if you're a sports fan or an afficionado of sports sociology and culture, I invite you to check it out:

David, if you're reading, I hope I get to know you and your cohorts better.


Anonymous said...

I think Barbaro was 4, not 1, 'cuz I believe the triple crown events are run by 3 year olds.

Dwight P. said...

That'll teach me to publish directly from the composition screen, instead of previewing and re-reading. He was, indeed, a three-year-old when he ran the Derby. Thanks for keeping me honest.