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Soccer, religion and reminiscences of Maradona’s ‘hand of God’ — GetReligion

Lengthy, way back, I informed the managing editor of The Rocky Mountain Information (#RIP) that I ought to be a part of the newsroom group despatched to cowl the Tremendous Bowl.

My logic was easy: If the Denver Broncos weren’t a spiritual group for a majority of individuals within the Rocky Mountain Time Zone, there was no such factor as a cultural definition of faith.

With that in thoughts, it makes all types of sense that our personal Clemente Lisi is about to get on an airplane and head to Qatar to cowl the final rounds of World Cup 2022. Along with being our Catholic-news specialist right here at GetReligion, he’s additionally the creator of the brand new ebook “The FIFA World Cup: A History of the Planet’s Biggest Sporting Event.

You already know that there will probably be faith angles everywhere, partially due to the placement. And, as soon as once more, if soccer isn’t — for many of the world — a near-religion, then I don’t know what’s. In any case, one in all my all-time favourite ebook titles is that this: “How Soccer Explains the World.”

Sure, the favored samba-style evangelicals of Brazil misplaced in a heartbreaker yesterday — to a Croatia group with a coach with a rosary in his arms, on the sideline. I’ll maintain my eyes open for GetReligion-friendly copy from Lisi, as soon as he arrives in Qatar.

In the meantime, we ran a bit by Lisi that ran with this headline: “Sports, passion, faith — The ties that bind are always there, even if journalists miss them.” Right here is the extremely related overture:

Sports activities, in so some ways, are nearly like a faith for many individuals. Like faith, sports activities can convey essential classes about tradition and values. From the instances of the Historical Greeks, athletes had been typically accorded the standing of gods.

Not a lot has modified since historic instances. Fashionable society has given god-like standing to many athletes. Lebron James, Tiger Woods and Lionel Messi are simply three athletes who garner such adulation on a worldwide scale.

The query right here at GetReligion is how this relationship reveals up in information tales about sports activities, particularly tales through which spiritual religion is — in line with the athletes themselves — a key aspect of their lives and their success.

A brand new ebook by Randall Balmer, a historian who holds the John Phillips Chair in Faith at Dartmouth College, known as “Passion Plays: How Religion Shaped Sports in North America” (College of North Carolina Press) explores the connection between sports activities and faith. Will probably be out there beginning Sept. 20. For journalists and information readers, this ebook is usually a door into some essential matters within the information.

Balmer is an educational, not a journalist. But, he’s on to one thing right here — one thing most sports activities writers miss altogether after they cowl video games or write participant options. It is a ebook about topics that religion-beat execs want to think about, since so few sports activities execs seem keen to take action.

GetReligion hasn’t shied away from sports activities prior to now and the way it usually intersects with religion and faith, as seen on this Google search for “GetReligion,” “sports” and “ghosts.”

Devoted readers of this weblog can even take pleasure in Lisi’s remarks on the launch occasion for his ebook, held at The King’s Faculty in New York Metropolis (the place we had been journalism college colleagues for a number of years). That’s the video on the high of this publish.

Additionally, you’ll be able to click here to read an excerpt from the ebook, featured at Faith Unplugged. The important thing a part of that headline: “ ‘Hand Of God’ Made Maradona An Idol.”

“Hand of God”? If you already know soccer historical past, you get the reference. We aren’t speaking a couple of miracle. It was simply a kind of near-miracle soccer issues, for these with eyes to see.

Read it all.

FIRST IMAGE: Picture featured with the “Diego Maradona and the Reality Behind the Hand of God” essay on the web site

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