The Stanley Cup brings out all the clichés

On this, probably the biggest day in Vancouver sports history - Canucks in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals - the river of sports clichés is flowing in abundance. You know:

“They have to remember what got them here.”
“They have to treat this just like any other game.”
“It's do or die.”
“The best players have to be the best players.”
“Just give it 110%.”
(feel free to share your favorite sports cliche)

Clichés aren’t limited to sports either. In particular, Christianity is full of clichés that describe our beliefs and the life of faithfulness. For example:

“God has a special plan for you”
“Just trust the Lord”
“I will pray for you”
“Hate the sin, love the sinner”
“Jesus saves”

In many ways, clichés are accurate statements of truth. If you lose Game 7, well, your season is dead. And if you get caught up in the hype and don’t play a good game of hockey, the result won’t be good. Or when life is tough, trust in God and the prayers of others are good things.

But the very definition of cliché describes the problem I see with the whole phenomenon: overuse results in a loss of the original meaning behind the statement. The statements themselves take on a character of their own, as if they carry some sort of magical power able to carry the recipient through whatever trial is being faced.

Whether its sports or faith, we need to remember the substance behind the cliché. Athletes give it their all to win championships (“110%”) because they have experienced the gruelling journey that got them there. Christians claim “Jesus saves” because of our belief in the historical reality that the God of universe displayed his love most clearly in the act of becoming human and experiencing all (good and bad) that life has to offer, overcoming death in the process. Too easily we forget that all clichés have a story - an important story that relates the truth of the statement to the reality of human experience. Without these stories, clichés will continue to cheapen the deep values of life, be those athletic achievements, or more importantly in my opinion, the life of faith.

And so personally, it’s from a whole lifetime of Canuck futility, close calls, and missed expectations that l say it’s time for the Canucks to leave everything on the ice, put the past behind them, lay everything on the line, live the dream and claim the prize that is the Stanley Cup. Go Canucks Go! We are all Canucks! This is what we live for!

3 comments:

Julie W. said...

My least favorite Christian cliche is "God won't give you more than you can handle."

David Warkentin said...

Good one!

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