FR. JERRY HERDA
Fr. Jerry, I know how much you love sports; has it been difficult not having any live sports to watch? Are you glad to have sports back?
We are a sports crazy society, and you are right: I love sports as much as the next person. I am a loyal fan of the hometown teams, the Brewers, the Bucks, the Packers. There is nothing like gathering with family and friends to cheer on your team to a victory; so not having any live sports to watch for a period of over three months was difficult from the perspective that it meant not being able to have a party to watch a game or not be able to attend Opening Day for the Brewers. I missed the excitement of a come-from-behind win or watching Lorenzo Cain steal a home run from the opposing hitter. I was worried that we might not be able to experience the thrill of the Bucks trying to win the NBA Championship.
Now that sports have returned, the excitement is in the air. The anticipation of the start of the game, the routine of getting a good seat to watch the game, having a few snacks and a beer, and then both relaxing as you watch and getting nervous when things get tight.
The absence of sports for me was also a very good thing in my life. I equate it to the powerful practice of fasting. We think of fasting as something we do during the season of Lent. We give up desserts or alcohol, or Mountain Dew in the case of Bishop Haines. Fasting is something we should consider doing year-round. Examining our lives and finding those things which would be good to give up for a while is an important part of our spiritual journey. What areas of sin do we need to work on? Greed, lust, anger, laziness? It was easy for me to get lazy, turn on the TV and watch sports for the night. In the meantime, I was neglecting my evening prayers, not exercising, eating too much.
Not having live sports to watch, I decided to use my evenings to exercise. I would listen to music or podcasts while I walked. I would pray evening prayer as I watched the sunset. It became a daily routine and as a result, I lost 10 pounds and I feel much better. I have been able to enjoy the beauty of nature and grow in my relationship with the Lord.
It may seem odd, but sometimes we have to give up something in order to gain something good. Sacrifice and self-discipline can go a long way in helping us on our journey of faith. Yes, I missed live sports, but to use a baseball analogy, sometimes a sacrifice bunt rather than trying to hit a home run is the right thing to do.