I am a WVU fan. I went to WVU and graduated 100 years later from the Parkersburg branch of WVU. I have friends, some of them very good friends, who went to Marshall, currently go to Marshall, and/or are huge Marshall fans. I get the whole WVU-Marshall thing, even if I don’t see it the same way as my Marshall friends or fellow WVU friends see it.
This morning I saw talk that Marshall QB Rakeem Cato will be on ESPN Gameday which will be live at WVU Saturday. People think he will be at the table with the Gameday crew in front of thousands of WVU fans, primarily students. And the WVU fans are not receptive. And that’s an understatement. There are lots of tweets and posts from WVU fans that are mean spirited and some that are really nasty. The WV Gazette says that Cato will be interviewed on another set somewhere in Morgantown. It would be a set-up and irresponsible for ESPN to bring him up in front of the WVU students.
Now some Marshall fans are bad-mouthing and making sarcastic remarks about how WVU fans are reacting to the “Cato in Morgantown” news. And don’t get lost in this story. I’m going deeper than the surface pettiness.
I was going to title today’s blog “Self-righteousness is so easy and so tempting”, but thought the point would get to more people if I went with the selected title. I expect today’s blog post to blow up with the WVU/Marshall title. Today is one of those blog posts where I speak about everyday things I see or experience and then look at them through a Christian lens – a modern day parable.
The definition of self-righteousness is “a feeling or display of moral superiority”. When the Marshall fans are making snide, sarcastic comments about “expecting that kind of behavior from WVU”, they are being self-righteous. And I’m trying not to be self-righteous about them. I know full well that if the roles were reversed and ESPN was at Marshall Saturday, and Kevin White and Clint Trickett were going there to be interviewed, the Marshall fans would most certainly be blowing up and the WVU fans would most certainly be the self-righteous fans talking about how Marshall fans were treating the WVU stars.
And to see this in sports is not surprising. Every high school, college, and professional team’s fans (most, if not all) are self-righteous. Every team’s fans act like they take the ‘high road’. And when we see it with Christians, it’s not surprising either. When I see it in sports teams, I just chalk it up to irrational fervor. When I see it in the church, it’s sin. And I’m trying not to be self-righteous in saying that, because I admit that I do it, too. I act as if I take the moral high road, yet one way I am self-righteous is when I find myself looking down on the people who look down on certain people in the church!!!!!! (I’m self-righteous when I look at myself as better than the self-righteous!!!!!!) And entire denominations and non-denominational churches do it, too! It is so tempting and so easy. And we need to be careful of it, but especially we who represent Jesus – and if you call yourself a Christian then you represent Jesus.
I’m glad Cato is coming to WVU. I’m also glad that they are doing his interview at a side location. It would make WVU look bad on National television if they brought him in front of the WVU students. And all the self-righteous Penn State, Pitt, Maryland, and Ohio State fans would be looking down on us. ;)