I may get in trouble for this one.
Growing up in New York State, I quickly learned that sports were important in our society. I played Little League baseball along with a few other sports. When I reached high school, my focus fell on soccer and basketball because those were the only two sports my school offered.
During that time, I don't think I ever actually worshiped any of these sports. My parents may have a different opinion, but I'm pretty sure I never glorified soccer or basketball.
Since we moved to the South about twelve years ago, I have run into folks who seem to go over that line. Their behavior suggests that they do, in fact, worship sports. They especially worship "ball."
Soon after we moved to south Georgia, we realized that for most people "ball" refers to baseball for boys and softball for girls. When our first spring in Georgia rolled around, I think about 98% (a bit of an overstatement, but not by much) of the kids here played "ball." Playing baseball or softball almost seemed required. Everyone did it.
The ones who worshiped at the "ball" shrine the most seemed to be the parents. Although I heard them complain about the hectic schedule, tired kids, and no evenings at home, they still pressed on with "ball." In general, most of the parents sure appeared to be much more committed to "ball" than they did to their church activities.
"Ball" trumped all.
I find it sort of ironic that the word "ball" is so similar to "Baal." The similarities don't stop there. The pagans in the O.T. worshiped "Baal" by sacrificing to it, spending great time with it, and devoting themselves to it. Many parents here in south Georgia do the same with "ball."
It is obvious to anyone watching all this that there are many parents and kids involved in "ball" who by no means worship the sport. They simply do it because it is fun. However, it is disturbing that not a small number worship at the modern altar of "ball."