Conversation with God in a Sports Bar, Part 2
John Spalding runs into his old friend God watching football on Super Bowl Sunday
This essay originally ran on Beliefnet in 2004. We liked it so much we couldn't resist running it again.
Date: Thursday, January 29, 2004
Place: Pat O'Brien's, New Orleans, La.
In 1999, I was granted an exclusive Beliefnetinterview with God
. The terms were His: We'd discuss only professional football-His newfound passion. We met at a New York sports bar on a Sunday, pigskin's holy day, and He limited our interview to the halftime during a Giants' game. God told me He didn't know anything about football until the massive recent increase in athlete's prayers-for everything from pleas to heal injuries and increase salaries to thanks for playoff berths and Super Bowl victories. He had to see what all the hoopla was about, and from His first game on, the Lord was hooked.
Four years later, I managed to track God down again for an update. He told me I could find Him in New Orleans. We met last night in the glow of the giant-screen TV in the main bar at Pat O'Brien's, the legendary French Quarter bar on St. Peter Street where the motto since 1933 has been "Have Fun!" The same rules applied; all talk had to relate to football.
So God, it doesn't seem like your love for football has abated since we last met.
No way. I've also gotten kind of crazy about hoops, baseball, wrestling, and NASCAR. The NFL is a "gateway" drug.
Does that mean you've intervened in any big games?
Oh, I helped the Pats with that playoff game against the Raiders back in 2002. You don't think Adam Vinatieri can hit a 45-yard field goal in the middle of a blizzard with just his foot, do you?
I suspected you on that one.
But that was it. After that game, I stopped helping teams win. I no longer answer athletes' prayers.
Oh come on. What about when the Eagles kicker was getting set to kick the winning field goal against Green Bay a couple weeks ago, and the camera caught Philly's quarterback Donovan McNabb praying? They won. That had to be you!
Nope. When McNabb got down on his knee and bowed his head, I covered my ears and went "blah-blah-blah-blah."