A unique, religious fervour will flame in a fanfare this Saturday when two, famous football clubs compete in the Grand Final.
A popular faith in 44 fit and fiery young men has a power beyond the pulpit, with prayers for sunshine, sagacity and strength this week chanting quietly behind closed doors in suburbia. The grand final celebrates six, tough months of enervating effort, but only half the players will garner golden haloes as anointed apostles at the final siren of this clerical contest.
Over fifty years ago, I attended my first Aussie Rules match, its magic, might and majesty inspiring an incorrigible conversion to the faith. As a young Jewish girl, my Sabbath was diverted by different disciples, holy and handsome hunks that I supported and screamed loudly for in some kind of ordained rapture.
Paying serious attention to the sermons scribed about them, I learned talent was fairly superficial with success subsuming its own scripture; a gospel of hard work, self-belief, resilience and confidence, among other things, a sporting piety that percolated potently through my psyche.
Discovering a devout faith from an array of deities preaching a sacred wisdom dashing across the grounds, their competitive crusade imbued me with a new style of passionate worship.
An appreciation of these young men as athletic, creative artists, the thrill of their taut, trim and terrific bodies and determined, disciplined dedication evoked an endearing and enriching evangelism for my own mental and physical well-being.
They seem blessed at an altar of aesthetic communion, their spiritual path enhanced by prophetic psalms about the bounce of a ball.
As revered immortals however, they can occasionally err in their endeavours, but nonetheless appear challenged by a celebration of church itself.
With thousands of their fans wearing scarves as symbols of the faith, the game reflects a true religious freedom beyond the boundary.
A theology about sport is taught in the Bible as in Timothy 2:5, play is “…by the rules”, Hebrews 12:1 advises to “…let us throw off everything that hinders…and… run with perseverance”, while Deuteronomy 31:6 implores athletes to “be strong and courageous”.
On Saturday, testimony to these tenets will be displayed, followed by the faithful observing, and needing, a day of rest, the winners undoubtedly entertaining a heavenly, high exaltation.
Irrespective of one’s favoured team with mine missing out for too many years, the Grand Final’s godly spirit will glow gloriously for those of faith and maybe next year, my football heroes will be resurrected to pursue the Holy Grail.