WT: "A sport is objectionable if too many people like it"

by cedars 13 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • cedars

    If I may, I would like to offer another glimpse into the strange minds of the writers of the more recent Watchtower study editions, this time on the topic of sport.

    No doubt like many of you, I enjoy playing sport because (apart from anything else) regular exercise stops me from becoming fat and unhealthy. During my time as an active witness, I often had the opportunity to play sports with other brothers, although I became increasingly frustrated that this was not (in my case) organised on a more regular basis by those in my congregation; rather, games of my particular sport were organised less and less frequently until they became virtually non-existant.

    Things have improved considerably since I became inactive and was improperly shunned by those 'brothers' I used to play sport with, because I have begun playing my particular sport with so-called "worldly" people in my local community. Apart from allowing me to get back into some semblance of shape (thereby keeping Mrs Cedars happy) I am also able to keep in touch with my neighbours and be more sociable with those who live near me. Everybody, it would seem, is a winner. Imagine my bemusement when I found an article in a recent Watchtower, the October 15th issue (page 3 onwards), condemning this very practice by virtue of an experience from some girl called Arielle:

    "Arielle enjoyed watching women's handball on television. When her school organized a team, the prospect of playing dulled her alertness to potential dangers to her spirituality. She signed up to be a goalkeeper. What followed?"

    I don't know, did she get pregnant by a handball? Did she inadvertently join an organized crime syndicate masquerading as a handball team? Was she forced to kill people using a handball? Did she get a nasty handball injury requiring surgery which raised problems with the blood issue? Go on, I am dying to know what mortal peril this poor girl got involved in by joining the school handball team...

    "She explains: "Some of my teammates had boyfriends who used drugs and smoked. They made fun of me for being different, but I thought I could handle that."

    Aw, you poor poor girl! Quick!... Get out of that team while you still have your life! There was I naively thinking your inevitable problems would involve death, unwanted pregnancy or organized crime, but you say some of your friends smoked cigarettes?! Oh, the horror. Get this girl to a shrink for counselling incase she ends up suffering from post-traumatic stress disorders...

    "Unexpectedly, the game itself began to corrode my spirituality. Handball filled my mind and heart.

    I think we've all had that problem at some point in our lives...

    "During Christian meetings, my thoughts often wandered from the Kingdom Hall to the handball court."

    I know, intense boredom can be a killer...

    "My Christian personality also suffered. Love of playing shifted to a passion for winning. I practiced hard to satisfy my new competitive spirit. Stress built up. I even sacrificed friendships for handball."

    I saw the exact same thing happen in Castaway with a volleyball....

    "The climax came when our opponents were awarded a penalty shot in one game. I was poised to defend the goal. Before I realised it, I had prayed to Jehovah to help me block the shot! This incident made me realize how much my spirituality had suffered."

    You NAUGHTY NAUGHTY girl, imagine praying for inappropriate things! That would be like, I dunno, the faithful and discreet slave asking us to pray for them to be faithful and discreet! Needless to say, the poor girl ended up watching a Society DVD entitled something like "Young People Ask: How can I become more unpopular and make my life needlessly complicated?" and this sealed her decision to quit the demonic handball team.

    I wish this was the only evidence of blatant absurdity in the way the Society asks us to view sports and recreation in this particular Watchtower, but it isn't. Fast forward to the article "Is Your Recreation Beneficial?" in the same magazine on pages 8 to 12. The article in itself is a dummies guide to what is and isn't beneficial recreation, even featuring large tick boxes (as though people's ideas about recreation merit a tick or a cross, like some kind of theocratic shopping list). Needless to say, having been written by the Society, it has some pretty absurd ideas.

    Obviously I wasn't going to go through everything in my analysis. I was more interested in what it had to say about sports (my hobby of choice). Here is what it said:

    "What, though, if you are attracted to certain sports because of their aggressive competitiveness, excessive risk taking, high rates of injury, riotous celebrations, nationalistic fervor, or similar "ingredients"? After examining what is involved, you would likely decide that it would be hard to harmonize your thinking with Jehovah's way of thinking and with the message of peace and love that we preach to others."

    So let me get this straight. I'm not allowed to enjoy a sport if:

    • It's competitive
    • Has an element of risk
    • Has the possibility of injury
    • Can be celebrated
    • Other people like it, to the extent that it is played at international level, provoking "nationalistic fervor" by fans

    I'm sorry, but doesn't the above criteria encompass ALL SPORTS IMAGINEABLE?! And I should add that my sport in particular IS enjoyed by people in more than one country (unlike baseball!), so therefore it is competed at international level, thereby prompting fans from different countries to cheer their respective teams; thereby 'encouraging' people to indulge in idolatrous "nationalistic fervor". It's a good thing that nationalistic fervour wasn't under ban in 1929, or the Cedar Point Ohio convention would never have gotten past the planning stage!

    So, now that I am seemingly deprived of my satanically-influenced sport, what does the Society advise me to adopt as my new form of recreation? I need look no further than page 10 which clearly demonstrates how Jesus and his disciples liked nothing more than to gather around the fire, clap their hands, and sing along to someone playing the flute.

    Obviously I now need a new form of beneficial recreation, and I promise you I am worthy of your association because I have NOT joined any handball teams (nor do I intend to).

    Does anybody on here know how to play the flute?

  • agonus

    Ah yes, the Young People Ask DVD. Possibly the most manipulative and reprehensible piece of propaganda the WT has ever produced, it dishonors the memory of JW Holocaust survivors by using this historical tragedy to guilt impressionable young people into pioneering.

    In case you're not familiar with the video, the gist of it is this: Jehovah apparently helped the cartoonish German brother to survive the concentration camp by providing him with a bowl and spoon, and this touching story convinces our athletically gifted high school student to give up running to pioneer. Do you follow this unique logic?

    Well, that settles it for me. Sacred Silverware = Sports Are Evil.

  • Intel

    cedars: I've had such a good laugh with your writing style. Superb!!!!! "Did she get pregnant by a handball?" ahahahahahahaha.....very, very good stuff there.

    There is a solution to your problem: This Sport is less known, I can guarantee that there is no TV transmission of this AND you can enjoy this ALONE, no pesky worldly Teammates. Plus you have good shirts for Service Meeting on Sunday (if you practice on Saturdays!!)

    May I present you: Extreme Ironing! (it exists!)

  • jamiebowers

    This stuff shoud be forwarded to every children services board and guidance counselor offices on the planet!

  • man in black
    man in black

    you have a great writing style, I really enjoyed your take on the nasty world of sports .

    Looking forward to your future comments !

  • cedars

    Thanks everyone!

    Intel - I've carefully and prayerfully weighed up your suggestion that I take up Extreme Underwater Ironing. I even checked ESPN and other channels to make sure that there are definitely NO international tournaments scheduled for this year or the year after (which is almost a shame, because I feel sure I would have been selected to represent my country, such is my finesse at removing stubborn creases at 15 metres down).

    However, I got to thinking "what if a shark strayed into the vicinity of my ironing board? Would a scolding hot iron be sufficiently intimidating to scare it away?" I'm not so sure. Also, if any of my competitors were overcome with jealousy at my starching skills, I could end up with a severed air intake, and I would be done for. I think I will have to pass on the idea, but I appreciate the suggestion.

  • WTWizard

    The witlesses believe anything is objectionable if it is fun or too many people like it. I heard the story about someone that got a Menudo album on vacation--it was nothing more than that. The objection the hounders raised was that too many people worship Menudo--it was nothing more than a reminder of that trip. Yet, that person had to throw the Menudo album in the garbage because "millions of people are worshiping Menudo".

    I have been noticing this with styles of music. It wasn't until after disco became mainstream and very popular that the Filthful and Disgraceful Slavebugger put its foot down on it like they do now with rap and heavy metal (seems that now that disco is all but dead, they don't say jack squat about it). They said the same thing about funk music--once it started becoming very popular. Rock music, the same. And it was 1993 when they started viewing all rap and heavy metal as objectionable--years after they became mainstream (heavy metal was mainstream starting in 1968 and very popular in the late 1980s; rap became mainstream in the mid 1980s and was becoming very popular in the early 1990s).

    Clothing styles, gadgets, and virtually anything else will become "objectionable" if it becomes in style. I can remember seeing washtowels about that on video games in the early 1980s--nothing in 1978 or 1979. I saw the flat-top haircut being criticized in the late 1980s, once it became "in". Boom boxes were bashed in the early 1980s. In fact, I bet they will start bashing ownership of silver from the headquarters if too many witlesses start buying it.

  • cedars

    You make a good point WTW, popular things seem to get denounced by default, even if (in the case of sport) they are beneficial and healthy. It just disturbs me that the reasoning provided is SO backwards and jaw-droppingly anal. I'm a firm believer that you can make ANYTHING sound or look bad if you write about it a certain way. I know this magazine article, like the one on apostates, will get lapped up by the publishers at the WT study two weeks from now, and a new generation of young witnesses will be pressurised into avoiding all sports and becoming couch potatos.

  • Room 215
    Room 215

    "Does anybody on here know how to play the flute?" I guess it's okay to play the flute, but certainly NOT in a school band!

  • hamsterbait

    Bless her little heart. Thinking of handball constantly.

    Cedars - wherefor did you think that handballing can get you pregnant?


Share this