Archives For Sports

sportsWe started a new series at church this past Sunday on Margin. Too many of us go through life at 1,000 miles per hour rushing from one event to the next. We are stressed, overworked, tired, sleep-deprived, and just plain worn out. During the message I pushed pretty hard on the issue of youth sports. While there are many great benefits that flow from children’s sports activities, I feel I need to share a little more about my concerns and share some of the dangers I have observed.

I started working with youth over fifteen years ago, so I’ve seen long-term that change that has taken place in youth sports. Personally, I lettered in four sports in high school and I made many great memories and friendships. However, with the onslaught of travel teams, AAU teams, and all-star teams, sports have moved from being a recreational activity to an obsession for far too many parents. Sports teach great life lessons like teamwork, physical fitness, problem solving, and the importance of hard work. They also give children a purpose and create a  stronger self-identity. So why do I see such a problem with how sports operate today. Let me share some of my concerns.

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Super Bowl Thoughts

February 7, 2011 — Leave a comment

I enjoyed watching the Super Bowl at church yesterday with great people and great food. It helped that the game was close and competitive until the end. You could tell how the game was going by all the cheering and yelling during every big play. I didn’t really have a preference as to who won the game, so I was glad it was close. Here’s a couple of thoughts I had about watching the game.

  • I’ve seen a lot of comments on facebook and twitter today about Christina Aguilera messing up the words to the National Anthem. I was more surprised that she could actually sing. While it is disappointing that she forgot the words, I wouldn’t criticize her unless you have been in the position of singing to over 100 million people. She was gracious in saying she messed up, so let’s extend grace, not condemnation.
  • Jon Acuff had a great post about what to do during racy commercials during the Super Bowl. While it is frustrating that all commercials are not created to be family friendly, that is unfortunately the world we live in. People are going to watch this game whether at church or at home, so I want to provide an environment where we can talk about what we see while in Biblical community. I had a great time talking about life and football with many people that I didn’t really know that well. I firmly believe that the church is called to change culture, not condemn it. I’ve said it many times before, but we should be known for what we are for instead of what we are against.
  • I actually enjoyed the halftime show, but from comments on facebook and twitter, the feedback was really divided. It seems like the cutoff age was somewhere around 35 to 40 years old.  Those older thought it was the worst halftime show ever, while those younger thought it was great. Personally, I was just glad they had someone do the show that teenagers and college students actually knew. Usher and Slash were a fun surprise as well, and at least this time there were no wardrobe malfunctions.  For the last several years artists like  Tom Petty, the Who, Bruce Springsteen, The Rolling Stones, and Paul McCartney all did the halftime show and I watched teenagers completely tune out. The artists were old enough to be my grandparents. As much as I liked their music in the 80’s, I don’t want an image of a 70 year old ex-rocker in leather pants burned into my memory.  As churches, this should really make you think. Are you holding on to the music of your childhood, or are you open to the music of the younger generation? If we are honest with ourselves, most contemporary praise and worship music is late 80’s/early 90’s slow rock. Most of my youth have never even heard of U2, so why is all of our youth praise music created to sound like them. If it makes you feel old, it should. Let’s build some generational bridges using music.

What are your thoughts about the game? Any favorite commercials? Leave a comment and let me know.

The Hokies

September 7, 2010 — 2 Comments

I’m still frustrated at the game last night. I know this has nothing to do with theology or technology, but it’s my blog, so I can write about whatever I want to. I love college football and I love Virginia Tech. I didn’t just jump on the Hokie bandwagon recently, I graduated from Tech in 1995 so I’ve sat through many games, both good and bad. I’ve been to bowl games and I’ve watched the team transform from a nobody in college football into a top program. Unfortunately, the game last night was the ideal example of recent Hokie football. Here are some of my thoughts about the game.

  • Boise State is a good team. They played well and deserved to win. I think they would be a 8 to 10 win team in most major conferences. I’m still not convinced that they need to be in the hunt for the national title given their weak schedule.
  • I applaud Tech for scheduling tough opponents outside of the ACC conference. However, they have proven that they can’t prepare for big games early in the season. If you’re not prepared, it’s a coaching issue.
  • If you give up 17 points in the first quarter, it’s tough to come back and win the game. It’s not rocket science. Tech lost the game in the first few minutes with huge mistakes. The fumble and the blocked punt were both miscommunications. Nobody picked up and blocked the best punt blocker for Boise. Again, the Tech line was unprepared and that is a coaching problem.
  • Tyrod Taylor did great. I think he made good decisions and he showed that he is going to have an awesome year. Switching Evans and Williams out at tailback didn’t work so well. I’m not sure if it was a line problem or a running back problem, but Tech should have been a lot more productive on the ground
  • After Tech got the lead, I finally relaxed and thought the game was won. But the Hokies play not to lose, and their conservative play calling with the lead really did them in. I think the offense does great when we are behind and have our backs against the wall, but when we have the lead it is extremely predictable.
  • I hate to see questionable officiating affect the game. The block in the back on the kickoff was blatant and the late hit out of bounds was questionable as well. The block in the back was a swing of 40 yards in field position, and the extra 15 yards on the late hit put them in perfect position to score. Tech had many opportunities to win the game, so you can’t blame it on the officiating, but that was frustrating to watch.
  • For all the UVA fans who were gloating on facebook last night about the loss, just remember that your team still has a long ways to go to even make a bowl game.
  • The new Nike Combat uniforms grew on me. I didn’t like them at first, because I’ve never seen the Hokies in black, but it was a cool look for them.
  • And finally, I think Tech will win 10 games this year, go to a major non-BCS bowl, and have a good season. Unfortunately, with the talent we have, this could have been the year.  Another year, another disappointment for the Hokie faithful. I think the coaches need to really review this game and learn from it. Tech simply was not as prepared as Boise State.

The title of this post sounds more like the punchline to a joke instead of a reference to two of the greatest athletes of our generation. They each seemed to have it all, fame, fortune, family, and everything money could buy. But something more important was missing.

They didn’t end up where they are overnight. They each made a series of decisions that exposed a flaw in their character.  Both athletes will pay a high price. Millions of kids no longer look to them as role models, millions of dollars will be lost in endorsements, and most importantly their families will never be the same because of their mistakes. We can look back and ask the question what if?  What if they would have had a close friend that was willing to confront them about their choices.  What if they were involved with a local church that could have discipled them and taught them how to live for God. What if they realized the temptation that was forming and their heart and corrected it before it destroyed their life.  Things could have turned out much differently.

I have enjoyed seeing Michael Vick playing football again this year.  He has lost several years of his life, and now he is back on the road to reclaim what was lost. I am glad that Tony Dungy has been able to speak truth and compassion into his life, and I hope and pray that he is indeed a changed man. Personally, I am glad he is playing. He has paid the price for his mistakes and he deserves a second chance. But he will never attain the fame and fortune that he once had. A moral failure does has life-long consequences.

It has been sad to see the headlines each day as more of Tiger’s story has come to light, and no one knows how the story will end.  My prayer is that Tiger will have someone close to him that can share the love, forgiveness, and redemption that can only be found through a relationship with Jesus Christ. I also pray that his family can stay together through this time and that he will emerge from this as a changed man. As Christians, we should pray for him and not look down on him. The greatest need in his life right now is to restore his family. Tiger has said that he wants to emerge from this as a better husband, father, and person. That all starts with the forgiveness that is found through Christ.

Nineteen years ago I was running in the state cross-country finals.  We had a great team and I was a scrawny 135 lb senior running 18 minute times in 5K’s. Since that time, I really haven’t continued running and the years and pounds have added on.  Over the last couple of years I have tried to start running, but I have lacked consistency.  This summer I have managed to rack up about 25 miles, but I am still far from being in shape.  But I am playing basketball regularly, biking, and jogging.  I am definitely making an effort to be more disciplined in all areas of my life.

This morning I ran the Susan G. Komen Lowcountry Race For the Cure near Charleston, South Carolina with over 5000 other people.  It was a fun race, but the real reason I ran was to honor my mother-in-law (you can see the details of her previous battle with cancer here) .  My wife Jennifer had planned to run, but her knee has been locking up and will probably require surgery in the next few weeks, so she was unable to run.  But I ran with my sister-in-law and mother-in-law for Team Bambu.  Our kids all ran the 1 mile fun run as well.

I wasn’t real pleased with my time of 32 minutes, but with my lack of training and current weight, it is all that I really could expect.  I started developing shin splints several weeks back and they really bothered me during the race.  I wasn’t used to running on pavement and the impact took it’s toll on me. I still need to drop about 25 pounds to get to a decent running weight.  It was still a fun race and I’m glad that I ran it.  Check out some pictures below.

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If you want to learn from my mistakes, here is what I recommend:

  • Don’t compare yourself to others.  Even if you get passed by 70 year olds, women pushing strollers, your sister-in-law :-), and a man in a fat suit (which all happened to me today) don’t give up.  It takes discipline and hard work to get in shape.  And some people are just natural runners.
  • Forget your past.  It doesn’t really matter what you used to do.  All that matters is where you are now and where you need to go.
  • Music is a great motivator.  Be sure to pick music that keeps you running at a good tempo. Nike has some great running mixes and the free podrunner podcast is a great place to pick up some good techno running music.
  • Have a plan! Start gradually and work your into shape – the couch to 5k plan is a great way to get in shape for a 5k in two months. They also have a podcast and a couch to 5k application for the iphone and ipod touch.
  • Mix things up, don’t feel bad changing your workout routine. Weight training is important as well
  • And finally, train on the same surfaces that you will be racing on. I’ve been running on the trail at home and the road really bothered my knees and shins during the race.

Pick Me

February 9, 2009 — Leave a comment

Just wanted to share a cool football video for everyone. Crazy Stuff

In the spirit of the olympics, here are some thoughts about different types of track athletes and church members.  Back in the old days, I used to run hurdles and the 400 meter, so I really love track.  I have noticed some common traits and characteristics from the different track events.

In Track:  These are the prima donna’s of the sport.   Have you seen how cocky and arrogant they have been in these Olympics?  Although they talk big, they constantly struggle with injuries and with living up to the expectations.   They are able to go incredibly fast for very short periods of time, and then they love to talk about what they did to anybody and everybody.  Forgot about them working as part of a team.  Just look to the relays as an example this year.  They’re in it for themselves.

In Church:  These are the members who constantly remind you how valuable they are to your church.  They talk big, but when it comes down to actually helping, they often have an excuse for why they can’t be there.  When they do help, they show that they have the ablity to really make a difference, but then they spend the next month reminding everyone of what they just did.  These people typically won’t help unless they are the one in charge.  Forget working as a team, other people just slow them down.

In Track:  Hurdlers are analytical.  They constantly watch their technique looking for little things to improve.  They’re fast, but they are also precise.  They are also not afraid to practice and do things over and over again.  They are typically quiet as well.  They let their actions speak louder than words.

In Church:  These are the people who are constantly looking for ways to improve.  They notice when the floors need sweeping.  They notice when the words aren’t syncronized between the screen and what you are singing.  They even notice when you start a minute late.  But they want to do things with excellence and they aren’t afraid to improve.  When mistakes happen, they believe that practice and meetings should be scheduled to keep the mistakes from happening in the future.  They don’t boast about what they do, but they love to plan and lead.

In Track:  These middle distance runners have a great balance of speed and endurance.  They have to run a smart race and not get caught up in the pack, and they have to finish with a strong kick.  They work together to get in the right position and they are great teammates.   Because of their intense training, they have the ability to run almost any race from sprints to marathons.

In Church:  These are your dependable, fill in the gap volunteers.  They love serving and aren’t afraid to jump in wherever they are needed.  They are the backbone of the local church.  Whenever a church has a large number of people who work well together and aren’t afraid to dedicate time to training and preparation, you will see a church that does amazing things for God. 

In Track:  The long distance runners are methodical.  They are able to run and run and run and never get tired.  They run every day until running becomes second nature.  They keep an incredible pace for an incredible distance.   They also compete because of their love for the sport, nothing else could motivate them for the pain that they endure.

In Church:  These are the people that you have to constantly ask to slow down. They keep an amazing pace, but they do it because of their love for God.  You do have to make sure that their family is not neglected because of the time spent serving, but they would do anything you ask. 

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