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Super Bowl parties come to Putnam County again

Feb. 01, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

Brothers John and Jim Harbaugh will be the opposing coaches on Sunday, at 6 p.m., when the Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco Forty-Niners meet in New Orleans to determine who will be the reigning NFL Champions.

There will be numerous parties going on that night in homes, churches and wherever football fans meet. My favorite place for a Super Bowl Party was at the home of Bob and Doris Cottrell in Scott Depot.

I began writing about the Super Bowl in the mid-1980s, when Bob Fallstrom, sports writer in Decatur, Ill., asked me if churches ever did anything different on Super Bowl Sunday.

What I have written about church and football, under the heading of "Football Theology," has been used nationwide in newspapers, magazines, books and on radio and television programs. That is a misnomer, taking theology completely out of its proper context.

Those "football definitions" and their relationship to the church have appeared in thousands of sermons and stories. They were featured in USA TODAY prior to Super Bowl XXVI, with the Buffalo Bills and Washington Redskins.

At one Super Bowl Party in Washington, D.C., I met with Jim Buick, president of Zondervan Publishing Company, and talked with him and his staff about ideas for a Sports Bible and how it could be developed. The Sports Bible became very popular, with many of them on the market today.

One trip to the nation's capitol, I met Bart Starr, winning quarterback in the first two Super Bowl games, both won by Vince Lombardi's Green Bay Packers. The Packers also had one of our Virginia friends, Carroll Dale, who caught many passes from Starr.

Rick Perry, East Bank High School graduate and both a baseball and football player at Anderson University, Anderson, Ind., was a highly successful football coach in Niantic, Ill., and at Stranahan High School in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Rick's parents, Alex and Josephine Perry, lived for many years in Scott Depot. His late brother, Alex E. Perry, was one of the top football officials in West Virginia.

Rick recently sent football terms not on my original list. Here are a four of them.

SWEEP: what church custodians do each week.

COME BACK: what some church members do after a long absence.

SEVEN STEP DROP: getting as far from the preacher as possible.

FAKE: another name for hypocrites.

Some churches and Super Bowl Parties ask that canned food be brought for the price of admission to the game. The more cans you bring, the better your seat. This extra food is given to food pantries to help needy people. Bring many cans of soup to make it a real "Souper Bowl Party."

St. Paul used many sports terms in his New Testament writing. When writing to the church of God in Corinth, he said, "Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it" (I Corinthians 9:24).

I hope Randy Moss scores six touchdowns and San Francisco wins. Enjoy the game of life. Play on the winning team.

Bill Ellis is a syndicated columnist who can be reached at P.O. Box 345, Scott Depot, WV 25560; phone 304-757-6089.

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