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Current research such as that of Sagar and Stoeber (2009) confirms how common amongst perfectionist sportspersons is the fear of failure with its attendant sense of worthlessness and shame (Sagar, Boardely & Kavussanu, 2011). In the face of this bleak reality, many see holy play as the only credible Christian alternative. In this paper, however, I disagree. After taking a fresh look at the roots of holy play as well as the contemporary magisterial work of Shirl Hoffman, I will argue for a more nuanced theological appreciation of sports competition.

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