Category Archives: Sports

The Hits Just Keep On Coming!

I want to take this opportunity to thank all of those who have been praying for me. The Lord has been working through my circumstances in so many ways, time will not permit me to describe them at this juncture.

Additionally, I was attempting to have a date night with my wife last Friday night when I tripped over a curb in an unlit portion of a mall parking lot. I fell, managing to dislocate my left shoulder and damage the rotator cuff in the process. My orthopedist outlined a plan of action today that we both hope will allow me to avoid surgery. Pleas pray that this plan will be successful.

In the meantime, life goes on. I am becoming a little more proficient at typing with one hand, God has been blessing our church in a wonderful way and I am closer to my wife than I have ever been.

Also, my latest article is up at Baptist Press Sports. I invite you to check it out and let me know what you think.

Things That I Don’t Like About Sports

   As anyone who has read this blog for any length of time knows, I am a big sports fan. There aren’t many sports that don’t pique my interest when I have the opportunity to watch them. Hockey would be a notable exception as would soccer unless, of course, one of my sons is playing.

   There are some things that are emerging in the wide, wide world of sports, however, that I find disturbing and down-right irritating. If you will allow me to vent, I will afford you the same courtesy in the comments.

   1.  I can’t stand the term “swagger“. Teams and athletes feel like they must have “swagger” (whatever that is) to be effective in their contests. Usually this amounts to nothing more than an overabundance of charisma, taunting and intimidation of the opponent. Just play the game. If I want to watch grown men act like children, I’ll watch the presidential debates.

   2.  Contract renegotiation. Player A signs a contract for six years for an ungodly amount of money, becoming the highest-paid player in the league at his position. In the following off-season, players B and C sign contracts for larger amounts of money. Player A now sulks, complains and lollygags until his team renegotiates his contract to once again make him the highest-paid under-achiever in the league. I would say to these people, “Get a life. You make more in one game than Joe the Plumber makes in a year. Play the game and hope McCain gets elected so you can keep the fruits of your whining.”

   3.  Contract year. We now have the scenario repeated over and over through all professional leagues where a player suddenly steps his level of play way up because his current contract is about to expire and he is preparing to enter the lucrative waters of free-agency. Whatever happened to giving it your best shot every play of every game? Pete Rose may not be a paragon of virtue, but it is a travesty to deny “Charlie Hustle” access to the Hall of Fame while these slackers march toward the realm of legends. We’ve come a long way from the Babe’s incredulous statement, “You mean you’re going to pay me to play baseball?”

   4. This one always cracks me up. A running back breaks free for a twenty yard run or a wide receiver catches a pass for a big gain. A safety will bring them down hard and then jump up and start beating his chest. Are you kidding me? The guy just schooled you and your team for big yards! Tackle him for a loss and then you have reason to celebrate. Better yet, just tackle him and then walk back to your huddle and act like you’ve done the job that is expected of you.

5.  Then you have goings-on like the Baltimore Ravens putting bounties on opposing team’s players. I realize this has been going on for some time, but what Mr. Suggs and company need to realize is that the NFL is not the mafia, it is a GAME! Players who engage in such practices should be banned from the sport for life. These activities should be ranked right up (down) there with drug and steroid abuse.

Thanks for letting me get these things off my chest. I feel much better now. Please feel free to share your thoughts.

Let’s Talk Baseball

Normally, any sports-related post that I might write this time of the year deals either with hunting or football, but I am deviating from that practice to discuss the baseball playoffs.

First, I want to extend my heart-felt sympathies (snicker) to any Cubs fans who might frequent this site. I wish I knew what to say to ease your pain, but since I am a Braves fan, I have no idea of what you are going through. 😉

Second, I’ve got to send some props out to the Rays. I don’t think anyone outside of Tampa Bay at the beginning of the season was predicting them to even make the wild-card, let alone win the division. Every prognosticator I saw was picking either the Yankees (snicker) or the Red Sox with all of them mentioning Toronto as a dark horse just to cover their bets.

I’ve got to send a tip of the hat to Joe Torre. After being dissed and dumped by the Yankees (snicker, snicker) he has to be feeling just a bit vindicated right now.

Who am I leaving out, now…? That’s right, the Phillies. They put together a good year and I’ll be rooting for them to win the NL.

So here are my predictions.

Phillies over the Dodgers in 7. (Good pitching beats good hitting in the playoffs)

Red Sox over the Rays in 6. (The Sox are hot right now, and they have been here before)

World Series:  Red Sox over the Phillies in 7.

My blogging friend, Tony Foeller, has a contest with prizes going on at his place, go over there and tell him I sent you.

The Glory That Is Due

My latest column at Baptist Press Sports is up. Give it a read and let me know what you think.

Editorial note: I just noticed how it might look to some when they read the title of this post and then the post itself. “The Glory That Is Due” is the title of the column on the Baptist Press website. I am not asking you to give me glory, obviously, it all belongs to Jesus. I just wanted to clarify. 😉

Carried By Adversity

   Every so often in the world of sports, there comes an act of sportsmanship that causes even the most cynical and jaded fans to sit up and take note. Such was the case in the recent college women’s softball game between Western Oregon University and Central Washington University.

   Western Oregon senior, Sara Tucholsky, was at the plate with two runners on and her team trailing 2-1 when she hit the first home run of her life. Missing first base, she collapsed as she attempted to return and touch it. She apparently suffered a torn ligament in her right knee.

   With Tucholsky unable to continue around the bases, Western Oregon coach, Pam Knox was faced with her only option of substituting for the injured player and causing the home run to be reduced to a single. Although rules would not allow Tucholsky to be assisted by her teammates, it had no such prohibition against her opponents offering her aid.

   Central Washington first baseman and Great Northwestern Athletic Conference career homerun champion, Mallory Holtman and shortstop Liz Wallace carried Tucholsky between them, allowing her to touch each base as they made their way around the infield.

   This selfless act of sportsmanship essentially handed the Western Oregon the game and caused Central Washington’s elimination from the league playoff.

   Before the game, these two teams would have undoubtedly viewed each other as rivals, and yet, in a moment of crisis, a demonstration of character caused victory to emerge from adversity. It could be argued that this act went beyond what would be considered sportsmanship and entered into the realm of grace. Holtman and Wallace were certainly not obligated to help Tucholsky in such a generous manner, but they did so anyway without regard to what it would ultimately cost them.

   Often, we find ourselves in the batter’s box of life with the game on the line. Circumstances that would seem to be against us stand between us and victory. We can give it our best shot and still not have the strength to make it all the way home.

   It is in these times that we may be surprised to find that things that would at first blush appear to be against us, actually are working for us. God’s grace takes elements of adversity and actually uses them to move us to where we need to be.

   We would do well to remember the words of Joseph when confronting his treacherous brethren, “You thought evil against me, but God meant it for good.”

   There are no circumstances that are greater than the grace of God. Don’t be daunted by the enormity of the task to which God has called you. Don’t be intimidated by the strength of the opponent. By faith, swing for the fence, and when you have done all you can in the strength of the Lord, you may be surprised to find yourself being carried to victory by adversity.

Fearless Predictions

I realize that college football season started last week, so maybe this is fudging just a little. However, my Seminoles don’t play their first game until tomorrow evening so, technically, the season hasn’t started for me.

Here are a few random predictions for the world of college football.

Oklahoma and West Virginia will play for the national championship with the Mountaineers taking home the hardware. As much as I would like to see Georgia do it this year, the SEC schedule is simply murder. Oklahoma on the other hand has a much softer schedule (I can hear Missouri fans screaming at me now) and the tools to get it done. If first-year coach, Bill Stewart, can keep the ‘Eers focused through the Big East schedule, they will win this rematch of last year’s Fiesta Bowl.

Florida State will win 10 games in the regular season (I told you these were fearless predictions). I hate to admit it, but Florida will probably prevail again this year and possibly Wake Forest. After last week, though, I have to believe our guys can play with Clemson, Virginia Tech and the rest of the ACC. New quarterback Christian Ponder will bring a better arm and more mobility to Jimbo Fisher’s offense and if the defensive line can stay healthy, the Seminole nation just may be back on the warpath.

Michigan will have a losing record.

Alabama will win the Western Division of the SEC.

Contrary to Lou Holtz’ predictions, Notre Dame will NOT go undefeated this year, but they probably will beat Michigan.

UCLA will upset USC and knock them out of the BCS Championship game.

USC will beat Ohio State, but the Buckeyes will beat Michigan.

Penn State will beat Michigan, but Bobby Bowden will finish the season ahead of Joe Pa in total victories.

Utah will be the surprise team in the BCS picture this year. After all, they have already beat Michigan in the Big House.

Michigan fans will attempt to hang this blog in effigy.

You heard it here, first, except for the part about Ohio State beating Michigan. The news is all over Ohio right now.

What sayeth thee, noble and informed reader?

A New Opportunity

The Lord has opened a new door for ministry for me. As my regular readers know, I am a real sports fan as well as being a pastor. I now have the chance to combine the two as a sports columnist for Baptist Press Sports. From time to time I will be writing articles about sports from a faith-based perspective. I am really excited about this new opportunity and looking forward to working with blogging buddy, Tim Ellsworth, who will serve as my editor.

You can read my first column by clicking here.

Top Ten Signs You’ve Been Watching Too Much Olympics Coverage

I thought it might be time to have a little fun, so with apologies to David Letterman here goes.

10.  You can immediately distinguish the difference in each flag that represents a former Soviet republic.

9.  You start planning your child’s future in four-year segments.

8.  Bronze has become your third-favorite metallic substance.

7.  “Prime time” now means “before lunch”.

6.  You are applying start values based on difficulty to all of your home projects.

5.  You can look at a total stranger and tell what country they are from simply by the color of clothes they are wearing.

4.  Eastern European names roll off of your tongue as easily as do “Smith” and “Jones”.

3.  You attempt to calculate your own weight in kilograms.

2.  You use the word “riposte” in a conversation and actually know what you are talking about.

1.  You are starting to consider badminton as a sport.

Feel free to add your own to the list.

Let The Games Begin

After months of preparation, posturing and politicking on the part of the Chinese, the Olympic games are ready to get underway tonight in Beijing. I must admit to feeling somewhat conflicted about these games. I am still scratching my head as to how China wound up as the host to begin with, given their track record on human rights and other issues.

However, I also see this as an opportunity for the gospel to be carried into a place where it is not always welcome. In addition, there will be many visitors from other nations that are closed to the gospel. Let us pray that the Christians who are able to attend the games will take advantage of every opportunity to share the good news while they are there.

As a form of a Weekend Survey, tell us what you are most looking forward to in these games? Experts predict a strong showing from our ladies’ gymnastics team, our swim team looks to be formidable as well. I think, though, that I am most interested in seeing if our men’s basketball team can reclaim their spot atop the heap. I am a big fan of Mike Krzyzewski and it seems that he and Jerry Colangelo have assembled the most talented team we have fielded in several years, perhaps since the original Dream Team. In the few glimpses I have had of them in their exhibition games, there seems to be a good chemistry between the players that was missing in Athens. 

What are you looking forward to seeing?

Don’t Do It Brett

As football season is approaching, NFL teams are preparing for the opening of training camp and the commencement of preseason schedules. Soon it will be time for players to fight for a spot on the roster, teams to decide who those players are and for prognosticators to sit on their lofty perch and tell us whether or not the Patriots are going to be able to go undefeated without their top videographer.

Emerging from this hum and chatter is the rumor of Brett Favre’s return from a short-lived retirement. So far, neither Brett nor the Green Bay Packers are saying a whole lot of anything of substance, but this thought has been lurking just beneath the surface of the fond farewell that Brett has been receiving over the past few months.

I am a bit conflicted about this. I am a big fan of Brett Favre and have been for several years. When I watched him play I was reminded of what the NFL was like when I was a kid. I loved his gunslinger’s mindset and his winning attitude. He played the game as it was supposed to be played, for the fun of it. There is a big part of me that would love to see my favorite player return and lead his team to one more year of glory.

That is the idealist in me.

The realist in me says that this is a game for young guys. Aaron Rodgers has been the patient understudy for three years now. Everyone close to the situation says the kid is more than ready to step onto Lambeau Field and begin another brilliant chapter in the Packer’s illustrious history.

Favre has absolutely nothing left to prove. The only reason for coming back is the aforementioned love of the game. The old warhorse still has the heart for one more charge. Yes, he would still be better than probably two-thirds of the quarterbacks currently starting in the league, but not that much better. The years are starting to catch up.

He has a stellar legacy that is sure to land him in the Hall of Fame on the first ballot. He has the Superbowl rings, the awards, the accolades and the cherished memories of millions of fans, some as far removed from the frozen tundra as myself. We remember him as being great when he left. If he returns now he risks being remembered as being great “in his day”, joining the countless number of veterans whose desire for one more season caused them to discount the diminishment of their skills. He risks being scrutinized and second-guessed every time he tries to force a pass into double coverage. He risks the humiliation of a cold shoulder from the Packer’s brain trust at best, or a mid-season benching at worst.

Don’t do it, Brett.