oxymoron67: (dino head)
[personal profile] oxymoron67

When I was a teen, in the 80s, the Steelers were not a very good team. Still, I was (and still am) a Steelers fan, so I watched every game religiously. In fact, I had a regular habit: I’d go to 11:00 am mass at St. Cecilia’s (the family parish) with my grandmother, and then I’d just go back to her house to watch the game.

She would watch with me while also preparing Sunday dinner for the family.

Looking back on it, the rituals of attending the mass and of watching the Steelers game were similar.

1) Before things started

St. Cecilia’s: We drove to church, and walked in. My grandmother would discuss gossip fellow churchgoers.

Steelers: We tuned in to the pregame show. The sportscasters would discuss how the Steelers stacked up against their opponents.

2) Introduction

St. Cecilia’s: Opening hymn, frequently sung poorly by the choir, or, worse, a folk trio.

Steelers: National Anthem, frequently sung poorly by a choir, or, worse, a local celebrity.

3) Opening rituals

St. Cecilia’s: The opening prayers, the Gloria. We settled in for the service. Grandmother handed me a missalette, so I could follow along.

Steelers: The coin toss and the kick-off. We settled in for the game. Grandmother cracked open a beer. I occasionally get to drink some.

4) Actual service: interactivity!

St. Cecilia’s: The first and second readings. We sang the responsorial psalms.

Steelers: The first plays from scrimmage. We started yelling at the TV set.

5) Spokespeople!

St. Cecilia’s: The priest got up to do the Gospel reading. We tried to be holy and pay attention, but I became bored easily. My grandmother would scowl at me when I started to fidget.

Steelers: Steelers started an offensive drive. We tried to be good, calm fans, but a series of frustrating plays would lead my grandmother to start shouting obscenities at the TV.*

*Seriously, this is how I learned to swear.

6) Filibuster!

St. Cecilia’s: The sermon. The priest babbled for anywhere from fifteen minutes to for-freaking-ever. No one really paid attention. Threats of damnation abounded.

Steelers: During an extended TV time out, the sportscasters babbled about… well, no one really paid attention. Sports metaphors abounded.

7) Intercessions

St. Cecilia’s: We prayed for world peace, for the health of the pope, and for the speedy recovery of ill parishioners.

Steelers: We prayed that the Steelers wide receiver core would CATCH A GODDAMNED FOOTBALL.

8) Audience interaction

St. Cecilia’s: The Sign of Peace. Parishioners shook each others’ hands while saying “Peace be with you.” There was a surprising amount of kissing.

Steelers: They finally completed a pass. There was a surprising amount of celebration.

9) Food break!

St. Cecilia’s: Communion. We (and our fellow parishioners) rushed up to the altar for the Body and Blood of Christ.

Steelers: Halftime! We rushed to the kitchen for snacks.

10) Regrouping

St. Cecilia’s: Final prayers. They never seemed to end. Latin frequently involved.

Steelers: The third quarter. It never seemed to end. Turnovers frequently involved.

11) Dismissal

St. Cecilia’s: We sang the final song, and dispersed. My grandmother gossiped with fellow parishioners.

Steelers: The game ended and we started getting ready for dinner. Grandmother would break down game with yours truly.

So, yes, it was like being a part of two different, but not mutually exclusive, faiths.

Date: 2013-08-06 12:29 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] michikatinski.livejournal.com
I shall be sharing this with my husband, the Steelers fan.

And I shall not hold your love of the Steelers against you, despite my better Cleveland judgment. :P

Also: "We started yelling at the TV set." LOL!

This is a great side-by-side comparison of Sunday rituals of old. Love it.

Date: 2013-08-08 01:56 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] oxymoron67.livejournal.com
Well, I figured that many people, especially in football country, have compared football to religion, so, I decided to do the side by side comparison.

Date: 2013-08-06 02:25 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] a-kosmos.livejournal.com
My Catholic grandmother loved football and swore at the television. She was a Cowboys fan, though.

(Neither the Catholicism or football stuck for me.)

Date: 2013-08-08 01:57 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] oxymoron67.livejournal.com
Football? Yes. Of course, spending several years in grad school at a Big Ten university helped.

Catholicism? Yeah... not so much.

Date: 2013-08-06 08:46 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] alycewilson.livejournal.com
This was a cool idea, especially the idea that they're both religions, in a way.

Date: 2013-08-07 03:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lrig-rorrim.livejournal.com
I love this comparison between the Sunday rituals. Awesome. :)

Date: 2013-08-07 04:35 pm (UTC)
ext_224364: (Default)
From: [identity profile] x-disturbed-x.livejournal.com
This is such an interesting comparison and I'm a sucker for grandmother stories.

Date: 2013-08-08 04:03 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] porn-this-way.livejournal.com
Proving once and for all that football really IS a national religion.

Many lulz were had at this post :D

Date: 2013-08-08 06:50 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] halfshellvenus.livejournal.com
I really liked how many parallels you drew between those two completely different rituals. The call-and-answer becoming yelling obscenities at the TV was probably my favorite. Yes, watching sports IS interactive. If you're not yelling, you're just not invested in the game. ;)

Date: 2013-08-12 10:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cheshire23.livejournal.com
This is absolutely brilliant.

Date: 2013-08-12 11:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] agirlnamedluna.livejournal.com
That is a very good side-by-side comparison, we don't have football but soccer is really big and it's true it's similar!


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