Father Dwight Longenecker
Lesson Eight: Good Sports Are the Worst Sorts
Consequently, dear slugs, we must be on our guard at all times. Happily, through popular culture we have been able to twist their childish affection for games rather nicely. The trick is to make sure they watch sports rather than taking part in them. By shifting them from the field to the bleachers we can turn sports into entertainment. The move from the bleachers to the sofa is only a small step, and with only a little encouragement your man will soon be an overweight sports slob, spending hours watching games on television while he ignores his wife and consumes vast amounts of beer, pretzels, and ice cream. Turning a once physically fit athlete into a sofa sloth is very pleasing indeed.
In addition to this little transmogrification there is the opportunity to throw in a nice little spice of lust. 'Cheerleaders' are squads of scantily dressed women who prance around waggling their pom-poms. You must present them as wholesome 'girls next door.' Don't let your patient see that they are not much different than the go-go dancers at the local strip club. Cultivate the lust a little by squirmy students and you'll be able to lead him to some other pleasing activities after the game is done.
But all this is grist to the mill dear slugs. The real battles are always with the hearts and minds, not just with the bodies. Our true triumph is not only to turn spectator sports into part of the entertainment industry; our real accomplishment is to create a new religion. Make your patient into a devotee, a worshipper of his team. You will find it very pleasing indeed when he starts wearing the team colors, making every home game an absolute priority on his schedule, and becoming a fanatic for his team. Seeing him scream and swear at the ref for a bad call, jump up and down and be passionate about a ball game is most satisfying—especially when he has skipped going to church and paid a huge price for a ticket in order to go to the game. It will be possible to get some of them to pass every waking hour thinking about their team. Indeed, their devotion to the team could be an example to some of the enemy's potential 'saints.'
Make sure your man teaches his children the new religion of sport as well. I'm afraid they will have to play the game, but make sure they don't play it for fun. Get the parents to involve them early and inculcate in the child the need to win at all costs. It is very satisfying indeed to see a father yell and swear at his 7-year-old for striking out or missing an easy shot at soccer. If possible, the parents should invest thousands in getting their children involved in sport. Make it a matter of pride. Their little brat needs to be better than the neighbor's brat. If they have a church affiliation, a sports tournament on the weekend should take priority. The children will soon learn that sport comes first, and church doesn't matter. With a bit of skill on your part, you'll soon see the child develop into an ambitious and aggressive meathead who not only wants to win, but wants to beat the other guy at all costs. He will have absorbed without question an aggressive and violent attitude, all the while praising himself for being "an All American boy."
Unfortunately, dear slugs, the sports themselves can be counterproductive. Just when you thought you were winning you'll find your patient has fallen in with some nauseating group like the "Fellowship of Christian Athletes" and instead of the sport turning him into a selfish, aggressive, and shallow gladiator, you will see him turning into a self-sacrificing, noble, and hard-working team player saying sickening things like, "It doesn't matter if you win or lose, but how you play the game."
The way it goes is up to you dear worms. And don't forget—there is everything to play for. Remember our Father's favorite maxim: Eat or be eaten. Play for keeps worms, and may be best maggot win.
Fr. Dwight Longenecker is the Parish Priest of Our Lady of the Rosary Church in Greenville, South Carolina. His latest book is Catholicism Pure and Simple. Visit his blog and sign up for Faith Works! his free, weekly newsletter on the practical practice of the Catholic faith here.