Friday, March 27, 2009

Church or Bike Racing?


Well, in this day and age where only 10% of Americans read the bible every day; of course based on a pole where a majority of those 10% admitted to indulging in the Lord’s diary out of guilt; or even worse just because they wanted to “look good” for Jesus. Fer the love, in my three decades on this earth I have met two or three what would call “good Christians.” So in all brutal and non-PC honesty I think the question is well deserved. Even if not out of mere daydreaming, absent thought, or spiritual pursuit; but based on the simple fact a Godasaurus Rex attempted to devour my soul for racing a bicycle in lieu of churchgoing. I have always joked that someone would find fault in my replacing the visitation of the good Friar Tuck’s house with banging elbows against a bunch of other idiots at a bike race; on God’s day of rest and recovery. Well, someone finally did it.

But therein lies my point. There ARE no Friar Tucks. If there are, they are too hard to find. One cannot simply Google “real ministers” in order to find a suitable preacher of the word. I suppose part of my cynicism stems from my lack of Sunday masses as a child. My religious experience as a child consisted of watching Indiana Jones kill Nazis and find the Lost Ark. Or maybe it was the cultish way some of the families around me attempted to push religion on me. The tact almost always seemed to be one of guilt. “Jesus won’t love you if you don’t love him,” “You’re going to hell if you don’t go to church,” “Real men love Jesus,” etc. Look, The Sprinter is OK with religion part. I just don’t want to go to church. Ferchrist, I’m 30 this year; and I don’t know any of the songs ok? It’s uncomfortable for me. Since when do I have to go to church to love Jesus anyway? One could argue that if your race started later then you could ideally do both. But eventually, you will do one where it is impossible to do both.

A man I knew once said it best; essentially separating the religion from the institution. His name was Doug Goldstein, the former manager of Guns N’ Roses; back in the hot years, (Where do we go, where do we go now, where do we go, sweet child o’ mine.) Doug made the clear statement of “Hey, church is cool and all, but every time I go, God’s broke again. What’s he spend so much money on?”
Doug shared the same gimlet eyed approach after watching the Reverend Robert Schuler Jr. grow in wealth and prosperity in the south Orange County. We both knew him personally, and decided independently that he didn’t need anymore million dollar homes or Mercedes S500’s.

This is more often than not a verboten topic, and I don’t normally engage in public conversation on the topic. But am I the only bike racer who has thought of it? I don’t think so. I’ll put my next paycheck on the fact that many wives/girlfriends have derided their idiot bike racer for not going to church and hanging out/socializing with the “good” people.
Many of the bike racers I know border on the obsessive when it comes to their Sunday races, and I imagine most of them are NOT thinking about church while rolling on their trainer waiting for their race to start.

So will Jesus hate me for racing my bike on Sundays? Will I be denied entry into heaven for sprinting down industrial park roads and chasing the dream? Will Peter stop me and say, “well Dave, you did CBR on this day, and SDSR on this day, and state championships on this day.” I think not.
So with that; I am racing my bike this Sunday. God will not hate me; nor will baby Jesus. See you guys on the road.


Anonymous said...

I was on a ski trip in Austria a million years ago, and we drove out Friday night, with plans on skiing the entire week, weekend to weekend. Skied hard on Saturday, drank hard Saturday night, and on Sunday morning we were all at the breakfast table in our bibs, wolfing down our muesli and fueling up, when the last two of the gang showed up, dressed in real clothes.

"I should have asked last night... is anyone going to church this morning?'

"Church?" one of buddies said. "On a day like this? God's going to be on the mountain with me, tearing it up and appreciating His handiwork."

He wasn't being facetious at all. Totally meant it.

Dave Jacobson said...

Great story. That is a perfect example; enjoying the beauty around us, and being outdoors with the beautiful earth we live on.


joep(GM) said...

I don't know how, but I landed on your blog and found this story...when I was a junior cyclist, sweet and innocent still, Shimano used to run an ad in VeloNews (full page back cover I think) that featured the likes of the Motorola boys (Phil Anderson in particular). Anyway, I remember the tag line:

"When Racing is Your Religion."