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By Elder Lynn Stapleton

Huntingdon, TN

The roar of the fans. The rumbling in the arena. The rustling of the pennants. The rush of adrenaline. Nearly everyone enjoys the excitement of a Ball game or the thrill of an auto race. The Americas Cup, the Stanley Cup and the Worlds Cup are sought after trophies from some of today's most prestigious athletic events. The Masters, the Super Bowl and the World Series usher in thoughts of great athletic moments in human history.

In fact, the evidence of man's affection for game-playing has been discovered as far back as 2500 years before Christ. Ancient Egyptian art discovered in many burial sites depicts the use of board games. The first Olympic game was a foot-race held in 776 B.C. in honor to Zeus, king of the Greek gods. Archeological evidence shows that ball games were popular among nearly every native American Indian tribe. In light of these facts, the love for the "game" is ingrained in the very fabric of human nature.

Indeed, as a small boy growing up in rural Ohio, I recall every kid in the neighborhood participated in sand-lot ball games from the time they could walk. Each of us looked forward to playing in the big leagues (little league was the big league to a five year old). We chose up side and we chose major league names for ourselves like Al Kaline or Micky Mantle, and Johnny Unitas or Joe Namath depending on the game we were playing at the time. It was a wonderful pastime and I am sure it kept many of us from getting into things we shouldn't.

The National Basketball Association's oft-repeated commercial advertisement stated in a very loud voice, "I LOVE THIS GAME!" Clearly, the sentiment of

most of the world is expressed in that statement about basketball, football, baseball or anyball for that matter. And, I readily admit there is nothing

inherently wrong or evil in most athletic events when in their proper place. But therein lies the problem with today's game-loving world.

The recent explosion in sportsmania has pushed athletic events far beyond their proper place. Baseball, referred to as "America's favorite pastime" has grown into an obsession along with nearly every other major sporting event.

Every major league sport is looking toward expansion. That means more teams in more cities playing more games than ever before. The end result of all this is that more people will have more games to attend or watch on television than ever before. Add to that all the community sporting events in which our children are playing and one wonders when people find time to go to work.

It is clear. "I LOVE THIS GAME." I do not believe we cant expect to hear him say it too loudly, but I believe if we would be still for just a moment and listen carefully, we might just hear Satan whisper "I Love This Game.