"Thou shalt have no other Gods before Me!"
Idolatry? That is only in pagan nations. That was only in the Old Testament. That does not happen today!
Yet, every season is now consumed by some athletic competition of one type or another. Church and worship services are displaced or turned into events celebrating the seasonal event. School budgets are consumed by the demands of supporting the space, uniforms, coaches, and travel for sports teams even when the academic programs of those schools go begging. Many sports programs have lowered entrance requirements just so students can "play." Young people are taught to live, eat, breath athletics. Older people eternally chase past or imagined glory by following a game. Professional players earn more than most doctors, educator, or pastors. What was at one time a way to enjoy fresh air and activity has become a cult where periodically the devout feast, share fellowship, and stare at players and a ball for hours on end. They adorn themselves with colors, styles and words reflecting their chosen deity. They make great sacrifices, enduring every discomfort, and supporting their teams even through the tough times.
Once, idealist aspirations abounded and banners of "sportsmanship!" waved high and proud. Now, drugs, ethics, sexual misconduct, greed, and dishonesty are the shadows of professional, and even amateur, athletics.
Now, to demonstrate how far this cult has moved, when a Christian ad has run in one of their worship festivals there are cries of it being inappropriate. Gods are jealous. They want their faithful ones to themselves. The cult is calling!
All worship the ball!