God and Football: The End of the Season

by sjohnson on November 29, 2011

Welcome to the Auburn Alumni Book Club, where we’ve been reading alumnus Chad Gibbs’ book God and Football: Faith and Fanaticism in the Southeastern Conference. The book was published in 2010 by Zondervan.

God and Football

“Welcome to the American South, where God and football scrimmage daily for the people’s hearts and minds,” Gibbs begins. His premise? To see if Alabama is an anomaly in the SEC—whether folks who are fans of Ole Miss or (grr) LSU live, breathe, and obsess over football as much—or, okay, more than—they obsess over their faith. Have other schools managed to find a better balance between faith and football than the fans of the Tide or the Tigers? Is God playing second-string to the Gridiron in other places?

There was only one way to find out, so Gibbs sacrificed the bulk of the 2009 Auburn Tigers football season to visit all the schools at the SEC on game day, looking to see if, indeed, others had managed to find a balance.

Over the course of the 2009 season, Gibbs suffered Gator envy, fear at the hands of the Bengal Tigers in Death Valley, and studiously avoided the Iron Bowl as Bama marched toward an eventual national championship while Auburn struggled through a rough season under then-first-year coach Gene Chizik. (But we all know what happened the next season.)

Gibbs had spent much of the book trying to find other SEC fans who seemed to put God on their hearts’ back burners during football season—as he often did. He wanted to see if other fans looked to the success of a bunch of college athletes to measure their own self-worth—as he often did. He wanted to know if a bad three hours on the gridiron on Saturday sent other fans into weeklong depressions—as it did him.

Finally, he realized that everyone’s walk is different. That, sure, all football fans struggle to keep perspective in their lives during the season. And that, as evangelist David Nasser (an Alabama fan) told him, “Football is a great hobby, but a horrible god.”

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God & Football: Tennessee and LSU

by sjohnson on November 14, 2011

Welcome to the Auburn Alumni Book Club, where we’re reading alumnus Chad Gibbs’ book God and Football: Faith and Fanaticism in the Southeastern Conference. The book was published in 2010 by Zondervan.

Today, Gibbs continues his tour of SEC home games with visits to Tennessee and LSU.

God and Football

“Welcome to the American South, where God and football scrimmage daily for the people’s hearts and minds,” Gibbs begins. His premise? To see if Alabama is an anomaly in the SEC—whether folks who are fans of Ole Miss or (grr) LSU live, breathe, and obsess over football as much—or, okay, more than—they obsess over their faith. Have other schools managed to find a better balance between faith and football than the fans of the Tide or the Tigers? Is God playing second-string to the Gridiron in other places?

There was only one way to find out, so Gibbs sacrificed the bulk of the 2009 Auburn Tigers football season to visit all the schools at the SEC on game day, looking to see if, indeed, others had managed to find a balance.

In Knoxville, Gibbs watched a Tennessee team that the previous year had seen the departure of longtime football coach Phillip Fulmer and were rebuilding, with a 2-2 record. Their opponent for the day: Auburn, who won the game.

The next week, Gibbs reluctantly headed for Baton Rouge, where on his last visit he’d feared for his life and swore never to return. This time, as extra insurance, he wore an LSU T-shirt and posed as a Tigers fan since LSU was playing No. 1-ranked Florida in the height of its Tim Tebow glory. He discovered that, beneath the name-calling, abusive fans there were real people–who were pleased to have stayed close in the game despite losing.

But Gibbs returned to Birmingham still unsure of what he was learning from this trip to find how other SEC fans reconciled their football fanaticism with their faith. He’s concluded that each person’s journey was a personal one, and one person’s sense of balance might differ from the next. Who was he to judge?

In light of the commotion surrounding Penn State this past week, do you think college football has become too big, too “important” not only to its fans but to its institutions?

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God and Football: Thursday Football isn’t Natural

by sjohnson November 7, 2011

Welcome to the Auburn Alumni Book Club, where we’re reading alumnus Chad Gibbs’ book God and Football: Faith and Fanaticism in the Southeastern Conference. The book was published in 2010 by Zondervan. Each week, we’ll post a synopsis of a chapter. Join in a discussion—or begin your own—by leaving a comment. Today, we continue Gibbs’ season [...]

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God and Football: Awash in Auburn

by sjohnson November 2, 2011

Welcome to the Auburn Alumni Book Club, where we’re just beginning our read of alumnus Chad Gibbs’ book God and Football: Faith and Fanaticism in the Southeastern Conference. The book was published in 2010 by Zondervan. Each week, we’ll post a synopsis of a chapter. Join in a discussion—or begin your own—by leaving a comment. Today, [...]

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God and Football: Visiting Vanderbilt

by sjohnson October 24, 2011

Welcome to the Auburn Alumni Book Club, where we’re just beginning our read of alumnus Chad Gibbs’ book God and Football: Faith and Fanaticism in the Southeastern Conference. The book was published in 2010 by Zondervan. Each week, we’ll post a synopsis of a chapter. Join in a discussion—or begin your own—by leaving a comment. [...]

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Our Next Read: God and Football in the SEC

by sjohnson October 17, 2011

Welcome to the Auburn Book Club. Are you ready for some football? So far this year, we’ve battled corruption with Ace Atkin’s Wicked City and talked about 1960s racial relations in our read of the best-selling The Help. Next week, we’ll start a read of a subject near to all our pigskinned hearts, with alumnus [...]

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Aftermath: The Help, Chapters 31-34

by sjohnson October 3, 2011

Aftermath: The Help, Chapters 31-34 Check back next week for information on our next Alumni Book Club read, God and Football: Faith and Fanaticism in the SEC, by Auburn alumnus Chad Gibbs! Grab a glass of sweet tea and delve into our Fall 2011 read, The Help, one of the hottest books on the New York [...]

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The Truth about Constantine: The Help, Chapters 26-30

by sjohnson September 26, 2011

Grab a glass of sweet tea and delve into our Fall 2011 read, The Help, one of the hottest books on the New York Times best-seller list since its release. The debut novel of Atlanta author Kathryn Stockett explores the relationships between a group of white women and their African-American maids in Jackson, Miss., during the civil [...]

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On Shaky Ground: The Help, Chapters 21-25

by sjohnson September 19, 2011

Grab a glass of sweet tea and delve into our Fall 2011 read, The Help, one of the hottest books on the New York Times best-seller list since its release two years ago. The debut novel of Atlanta author Kathryn Stockett explores the relationships between a group of white women and their African-American maids in Jackson, Miss., [...]

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Crises for Celia and Yule May: The Help, Chapters 16-20

by sjohnson September 12, 2011

Grab a glass of sweet tea and delve into our Fall 2011 read, The Help, one of the hottest books on the New York Times best-seller list since its release two years ago. The debut novel of Atlanta author Kathryn Stockett explores the relationships between a group of white women and their African-American maids in Jackson, Miss., [...]

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Read the full article →