on Sports
J has Game  by Stan Silliman


Silliman on Sports
By Stan Silliman
Big J Got Game

      One of the hottest sellers at Catholic websites is the Jesus sports statues. If you’re Catholic and you’ve got $ 20, it’s likely you’ve got one. They’re big on Catholic Shopper and Catholic Supply and originate from Devon Supply in North Caldwell, N.J., who has them made in China.

    Each statue has two young players with Jesus showing them how to execute a particular sports play. Baseball? Jesus is helping one kid hold the bat while a second kid is behind the plate catching … without a catcher’s mask! And the catcher is smiling and you don’t see any chipped teeth … but he’s standing dangerously close to the batter! We’re worried about letting the Chinese make these statues, afraid they might not understand American sports. 

    In all the statues Jesus is in his white robe wearing Birkenstock sandals. The kids in the depicted scenes are always Caucasians and the sports – baseball, football, soccer, hockey, basketball, martial arts, skiing, biking, gymnastics and tennis – are sports suburban Catholic white kids enjoy. However, and again, I blame the Chinese on this because they don’t understand our sports. In the football scene one player is handing the ball off to Jesus while another kid has shot the gap and tackling Jesus in the backfield… but stepping on his sandals. Luckily for Jesus the players are not wearing cleats. Also, we’re a little worried there might be a penalty if you tackle Jesus.

    There’s somewhat of an uproar because kids of color are left out and nowhere does this culture error stand out more the in the basketball scene. Jesus is dunking on the little white kids and he stands a good two feet above them. He’s the coach but he’s got no vertical. They have to be playing on a seven foot goal. Put black kids in the scene, and I blame the Chinese for not doing this, and someone would be stuffing his shot. 

    The statues stand 5” to 6 ½” high and they’re all beautifully painted - $20 to 22. All of them are enjoyable inspirational scenes. There’s a nice slap shot in the hockey statue, a good block of a punch in the martial arts scene and if you look close at his robe, Jesus is a black belt. The Chinese know martial arts and Jesus is teaching these kids good fighting techniques. There’s no cheek turning in this statue. Rollerblades are attached to the sandals for the rollerblading scenes. However, in the skiing scenes Jesus’ sandaled feet are not blue. Again, what do the Chinese know about skiing? But, they do know gymnastics and Jesus is showing them how to stick a landing. In the golf statue Jesus is showing his students the importance of carrying good clubs. There are Pings and a Big Bertha but we’re not sure whether the shafts are stiff or whippy.
Big J Got Game
    Volleyball is a new statue to come out this year. We’re not sure whether it will be indoor or beach.  There’s no word on when a swimming statue will be out or where Jesus will be standing when he’s giving the kids lessons. Hopefully, ethnic kids will be depicted in the newer statues. Let’s hope the Chinese don’t mess that up and have somebody other than Asians playing ping-pong. In the boxing statue we expect the kids to be lacing up 16 ounce gloves so they don’t hurt their fists. We expect Jesus to emphasize this. I hope the Chinese know and don’t depict small gloves or bare knuckles. Surely, they won’t.

    We’re looking and trying to find any other religious figures depicted playing sports. If we find them, we’ll let you know. We expect Moses to be shown as a really good bowler and Buddha should make one heck of a catcher.


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