My husband is quickly losing his faith in G‑d because his favorite sports team is not winning. Every time his team loses, he loses more of his faith. How can I help him to look at it differently, and how can I convince him not to watch so much sports?


HowMy husband is quickly losing his faith in G‑d about telling him this: It is not a rational reaction to lose faith because your team is losing. Rather than switch beliefs, it would make more sense to switch teams.

After all, surely fans on both sides of any game are praying for their team to win. Only one of those prayers can be answered affirmatively. If your team is losing, it doesn't mean G‑d isn't there, just maybe He is on the other side. So if G‑d is with them, shouldn't you be too?

Of course this argument will have absolutely no effect on him. I can't imagine a real sports fan exchanging loyalties just because his team keeps losing. Well, that's what having faith means. No matter what happens, we only have one G‑d, and we stick with Him. In fact, the very word for faith in Hebrew is emunah, which actually means “loyalty.” Just like a fan never switches sides no matter what, a believer is loyal to G‑d, come what may.

In aHe needs to maintain perspective way, it is wonderful that the biggest tragedy in his life is that his team is losing. May it always be that way. But he needs to maintain perspective and disentangle his faith from his fanhood. Sports is recreation, diversion, relaxation, entertainment. If it is bringing such angst and frustration into his life, it is not serving its purpose. Sport is about playing, not praying.

I don't know if you will succeed in convincing him to watch less sports. But maybe he can become less invested in them. His emotional and spiritual energies should be saved for his real team, the team that truly needs him—his family, his community, his people and his G‑d.