A couple of days later, two Texas writers, one from the Dallas Morning News and the other from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, left the main area of the hospitality suite to turn on a television and watch the Dallas Stars in another hockey playoff game.

Later that night, a far more important event was taking place - the Jazz against the Spurs at the Delta Center in the second round of the NBA playoffs. The East Coast starting time was 10:30 p.m. Because of overtime, the game didn't end until 1:22 a.m. Of course it was worth staying up for, particularly since the Jazz won.

Such is the power of sports.

What else could entice someone to eat a worm sandwich to get a couple of tickets? That's what the winner of a KFNZ sports radio contest did in order to see last Wednesday's game between the Jazz and the Bulls.

This just in: Sir, it was on TV. You didn't have to eat Dennis Rodman's kin to view it. Obviously, it was a big enough deal to be there in person that the fan went to the extreme and then some to inhabit the Delta Center.

Can anyone imagine doing something like that, say, to get a front row seat at the Southern Baptist Convention?

No. In fact, strange things seen in church often revolve around sports. Like the woman in a Bountiful LDS ward with Cougar paws painted on her face.

The night before (Sept. 8, 1990), she had been in Cougar Stadium witnessing Ty Detmer take apart the No. 1-ranked Miami Hurricanes. To her it was a religious experience. So, she happily kept the Cougar symbols on her countenance for all to see the next day, which they did. Think she would have painted a picture of a cake on her face and then gone to church if she'd just won a baking contest?

The following exchange is another indication of sports' cultural impact. It occurred in a religion class at BYU in the fall of 1969. The instructor opened the class up for questions - anything anybody wanted to ask about any religious subject was OK.

So, a girl (a guy wouldn't ask this one) comes up with this: "Is it all right to watch football on television on Sunday?"

The answer to that sweet spirit's query was classic if not inspired: "Ask me that question after the Super Bowl."

Sports, of course, can be overemphasized, both in terms of being a participant and a fan.

A colleague from the editorial writers seminar and I were discussing that following one of our late afternoon-early evening sessions. The light was fading, it was lightly raining and we'd just paid $50 for a round of golf, even though we'd be lucky to get in nine holes.

"I can't believe how seriously some people take golf," my associate said as he tried to grip his wet club. "I have a couple of friends who were on the golf course when their wives delivered (hint: They weren't delivering pizza)."

Then there's the guy quoted by Deseret News staff writer Zack Van Eyck in his story a week ago on what winning the NBA Championship would mean to Utahns. "It would almost be the defining moment of my life," said a season ticket-holder from Sandy. "It's like, give me victory or give me death (based on Sunday's game, which death option do you prefer, sir, hanging, lethal injection, firing squad?)."

Enough of this philosophical discussion. Let's just all relax and watch the Jazz engage the Bulls in the quest for the title. We can all calmly scream at the television set.