Throughout my time in seminary, I have often been baffled by the sports enthusiasm of some of my professors. How can they know as much as they do about theology, Greek or Hebrew and still know the baseball statistics or football trivia they do? I've been down right stymied when they have expressed amazement at a particularly dazzling performance in a basketball game, or demonstrate anticipation for "March Madness." Valuing "heavenly" or ministry knowledge over "earthy" knowledge at times, I was in the midst of developing my appreciation for a more balanced life. One of the characteristics I so admired about several of my professors was their well-roundedness.
It's taken nearly 5 years of seminary education to realize this point, but it's a lesson born of principles I learned prior to seminary: balance is not achieved by taking weights off of both ends of the scale; it's better pursued by placing weights on either end of the scale. By "weights" I mean interests. If academic interests are weighty, then balanced would be achieved by having corresponding interests in an opposite category. Thus the scale is balanced better.
For example, if historic theology or ancient Near East backgrounds to Old Testament studies weighs down one end of my "scale," then a competing interest in areas of "release" will balance it out. In this way, I find that I have become more of a hockey fan as seminary as gone by. Last night, though I was reading on the dominance of evangelicalism in the late 19th century, I was elated (yelling loudly) when the Dallas Stars beat the Detroit Red Wings 4 to 2. Interestingly, I was never really a sports fan prior to coming to Dallas Theological Seminary. It took the academic rigors of seminary to drive me to the emotional elation and release of sports.
I lamented terribly that my wife was absent for the Stars' win (on a trip and unable to enjoy the victory with me). Nevertheless, I find at work in me an intuitive desire to balance out "weighty" interests on one end with "relieving" interests on the other. Pastors must have hobbies. Scholars must have interests of excitement and release. This is starting to explain to me why theologians make good sports fans.