And God said “Let there be sport” and there was sport… Yeehah!
I love sport. It is really good when the Black Caps play to their potential – what a great result in the test series against the West Indies. I think I might write a series of blogs about sport – I’m convinced sport is an authentic, God given human activity.
It’s fun at this time of year when we look at all of the sporting highlights of 2013, and make some predictions for 2014. I hope this will be a year when the Wellington Phoenix score more goals, the Highlanders score more tries, and the big one – Brazil host an awesome football world cup in June and July – 64 games… excellent. I hope Brazil win, the South American teams will be hard to beat over there. One thing for sure, it will be a party. We can learn a lot about enjoying life from our South American friends – there will be many “yeehah” moments.
That would be a good theme for the year. “Yeehah!” Let’s declare it today, 1 January 2014, that this will be “The year of the yeehah!” There is something extremely attractive about the spontaneous cheer. If I am shouting “yeehah” without inhibition or care of others perceptions, then I am having a good time. Scoring a goal, skiing down a mountain, catching the wind with a full sail, celebrating an achievement of someone I love. I’ve been asking people to tell me about times when they have yelled “Yeehah!” spontaneously, and without inhibition. Most of the answers included being in the outdoors, and playing or watching sport (actually a couple of guys said when they saw a pretty girl, but I’ll explore that one another day). Sadly, many of us don’t get to have that experience a real exuberant yeehah moment often enough. We have glimpses of joy, and I think everyone would like to experience them more often.
In Christchurch at the moment the District Health Board have a campaign “All Right?” raising our awareness of what it takes to be well following the trauma of the earthquakes. One of the keys is to “get your sweat on” and be active. We know activity improves our mental health – I would expand that to say, “try and have a yeehah moment.”
Have you ever thought more about that? What does it take to be able to experience that moment? It is like a different world is entered where time slows down, nothing else is important, we are fully absorbed in the game and lost in that moment in time (much to the anguish of many wives around the country!) Sociologist Peter Berger describes it well: “No longer is it 11.00am as it is in the “serious” world, but it is the third round, the fourth act, or the second kiss.” Some describe that moment as “a spark of eternity” or a ‘signal of transcendence’ – phenomena that are natural human expressions, but seems to point beyond the reality that we can see.
Writer C.S. Lewis thinks joy gives us the opportunity to encounter the divine. It takes us into the imagination, the world of fantasy, and the transcendent. In that moment, we are fully alive, fully human, and fully free. When we give ourselves to the game, we are free without giving away who we are.
We enter a better world when we play. We take risks, enjoy creation, and celebrate achievements. In that split second, the feeling of “yeehah!” the place of utter joy – I think that might be a taste of heaven.
2014 is the year of the yeehah! How about we seek to create as many yeehah moments that we can this year – of course that means playing and watching more sport, more sailing, more playing games together, listening to more music, watching more sunrises, or whatever helps you have that moment – and taste heaven as often as possible. As one of my hero’s Jean Luke says, make it so.