Sports and Sportsmanship Go Hand in Hand

Good Sportsmanship Shaking Hands

Lance Stephenson of the Indiana Pacers should have been thrown out of Game Six of the Eastern Conference Finals. Nough said. He lacks good sportsmanship, and good sportsmanship is the hallmark and keystone of sports. His dirty, devilish, dastardly deeds and his acrid, acrimonious, acidic antics were part and parcel of the Pacers 117-92 blowout loss to the Miami Heat.  “Poor sports,” dirty players and unsportsmanlike conduct have no place in the wide world of sports. None.  It’s just like Moma said: “God don’t like ugly.” Again, enough said.


Here are some prized sportsmanship quotes that merit mention and that are worth our while:

Rules cannot substitute for character. — Alan Greenspan, chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve Board

Success without honor is an unseasoned dish; it will satisfy your hunger, but it won’t taste good. — Joe Paterno, college football coach

The moment of victory is much too short to live for that and nothing else. — Martina Navratilova, tennis player

 If it is a cliché to say athletics build character as well as muscle, then I subscribe to the cliché. — Gerald Ford, 38th President

Sports gives your life structure, discipline, and a pure fulfillment that few other areas of endeavor provide. — Bob Cousy, basketball player

One man practicing good sportsmanship is far better than 50 others preaching it.— Knute Rockne, football coach

I never thought about losing, but now that it’s happened, the only thing is to do it right. — Muhammad Ali, boxer

Football is like life. It teaches work, sacrifice, perseverance, competitive drive, selflessness, and respect for authority.— Vince Lombardi, Hall of Fame football coach

Dictators lead through fear; good coaches do not. — John Wooden, Hall of Fame basketball coach

A good coach will make his players see what they can be rather than what they are. — Ara Parseghian, football coach

I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career, lost almost 300 games, missed the game-winning shot 26 times. I’ve failed over and over again in my life. That is why I succeed. — Michael Jordan, basketball player

Champions keep playing until they get it right. — Billie Jean King, tennis player

The only way to prove you’re a good sport is to lose.— Ernie Banks, baseball player

It is your response to winning and losing that makes you a winner or a loser.— Harry Sheehy, athletic director

The difference between a successful person and others is not lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but a lack of will. — Vince Lombardi, football coach

It does not matter how many times you get knocked down, but how many times you get up. — Vince Lombardi, football coach

The will must be stronger than the skill.— Muhammed Ali, boxer

Always imitate the behavior of the winner when you lose. — Anonymous

It’s not up to anyone else to make me give my best. — Hakeem Olajuwon, basketball player

In golf and in life, it’s the follow-through that makes the difference.— Anonymous

If all I’m remembered for is being a good basketball player, then I’ve done a bad job with the rest of my life. — Isiah Thomas, basketball player

Once you learn to quit, it becomes a habit.— Vince Lombardi, football coach

When the Great Scorer comes to mark against your name, He writes not that you won or lost, but how you played the Game. — Grantland Rice, sportswriter

He who conquers others is strong; he who conquers himself is mighty.— Lao-tzu, Chinese founder of Taoism (fl. 6th century B.C., possibly apocryphal)

Win or lose, do it fairly.— Knute Rockne, American football player and coach (1888-1931) –


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Revised King James Version: Achieving Greatest

King James Verson, Revised

And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: Genesis 12:2, KJV

It is fairly debatable who the greatest basketball player of all time is. Michael? Kobe? Wilt? Magic? Bird? Take your pick. For the time being, the reigning “best of the best” award must go to Lebron. Like him or not, he has the chance to win his third NBA Championship in a row, and the evidence for the greatness of his highness is compelling. They don’t call Leborn King James for nothing.

It is fairly debatable which team was the best team in NBA history. Michael’s 72-10 Bulls certainly tops the list, but the 2014 Spurs are making a run for it. If they blunder against the Thunder, then the conversation is over. But if they do in fact win the Western Conference Championship and then go on to beat the Heat in the finals, well . . .

Right now, it’s fairly debatable who will win the NBA Championship. Lebron will have to revise his play from his career lot 7 points in Game 5. But whoever wins will be able to lay claim to basketball immortality. What is fairly debatable is how you rate yourself. Are you loud and proud or gentle and genteel? Are you gracious or gratuitous? Haughty or humble? Pompous or pleasant? There is a difference.

Achieving greatness is not accomplishing a single solitary feat, but enduring a multifaceted process. It’s not a step; it’s a journey, one step at a time. How about you? Are you on the road to greatness? Can you lay claim to greatness in you part of the world? Is your life an example of greatness?  

“Achieving” is a modifying verb, meaning it is always used with an object. Here, the object is greatness. Achieve means to bring to a successful end; carry through; accomplish; it also means to get or attain by effort; gain; obtain. We don’t achieve greatness; if anything, we are in the process of achieving greatness.

There is no debate on how to achieve spiritual greatness. In fact, we don’t achieve it or obtain it in and of ourselves; much rather, we are granted greatness. God told Abraham that He would MAKE him great or famous. Abraham was given the promise of being a great nation and having a great name. Abraham, for his part, had to do nothing. Nothing? Yes, nothing. All he had to do was to be.

There’s no debate that Abraham’s job was to be meek and modest, unassuming and unendearing, unpresumptuous and unpretentious. Abraham’s job was to walk humbly and live nobly, and to be poor in spirit and rich in faith. Yet doing and being are as opposite as night and day.

Our Lord said it best: “whosoever will be the greater among you, let him be your minister.” The New Living Translation says “Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave.” (Matt 20:26-28).

So in the final analysis, there is no debate. To achieve greatness before God is to demonstrate humility before man. The way to prominence is immanence. The way up is down, the way over is to go under. The Apostle Peter said “humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that in due time he may exalt you.” In return, we can “cast all your anxieties on Him, for He cares about us.” (1 Peter 5:6-8, RSV)

If Lebron wants to be considered the best there ever was, he will have to give everything for his team and not hold back anything for himself. And same goes for us too.

Willis Reed: How To Turn The Tide


Willis Reed turned the tide. Few men loomed larger than Willis Reed. At 6’9”, Reed, the beloved yet recently beleaguered Captain of the New York Knicks, was among the tallest players in the NBA for his time. In some ways, he was larger than life.[1] Reed’s most famous performance took place on May 8, 1970, during Game 7 of the 1970 NBA Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers in Madison Square Garden. Due to a severe thigh injury, a torn muscle that had previously kept him out of Game 6, he was considered unlikely to play in Game 7. Yet Reed surprised the fans by walking onto the court during warm-ups, prompting widespread applause.


Starting the game, he scored the Knicks’ first two field goals on his first two shot attempts, his only points of the game. Walt “Clyde” Frazier went on to score 36 points with 18 assists as the Knicks won 113–99, giving New York City its first NBA title. The moment Reed walked onto the court was voted the greatest moment in the history of Madison Square Garden.[2]

The Thunder have turned the tide. Just when it looked like OKC, the Oklahoma City Thunder, were about to get swept right out of the 2014 NBA Playoffs by the San Antonio Spurs, here they come. The Thunder have tied the series at 2-2, and they’re headed back to Texas where they have to win Game 5 now or Game 7 if necessary to advance to the finals.

The tide has been turned because they’ve figured out how to beat the Spurs. First, they’ve got help. The return of their big man Serge Ibaka didn’t hurt. Yes he was hurt, and yes he played hurt, but his influence has helped to hurt the Spurs in the worst way. In fact, he’s the “X” Factor. He’s the one constant in the two loses and the two wins. With Ibaka the Thunder win; without Ibaka they lose.

So what is it for you? How do turn the tide when you’re back’s up against the wall? How do you turn the tide when you’re out of breath and out of money and out of time and just plain out of “luck”? What is your “X” Factor? We all know what we need to do when we don’t know what else to do. Turn to God. Turn to the presence and the power and the providence of God, and stop fighting and flaying and floundering without Him.

Ibaka has turned the tide. Ibaka wasn’t supposed to play. He had an injury that they said put him out for the rest of the season. But lookie here! He’s the difference. He’s making a difference. And now his return will be looked back on as quite a difference in the play of the Thunder. While Russell Westbrook’s 40 points and Kevin Durant’s 31 in Game 4 certainly didn’t hurt, it’s been the presence and prowlness and play of Serge Ibaka, the four-year pro who rebounds and blocks shots and runs the floor and takes up space in the middle that has turned the tide.

So turn the tide. How? By showing up. Your presence will make all the difference in the game and maybe in the world. Willis Reed didn’t do much in that magical game 7 at the Garden so many moons ago, but he did make a difference. Ibaka wasn’t expected to do much in this series, but he has. So make a difference. Do what you do. Don’t let the prognosis of some and the diagnosis of others weigh you down. Your presence, when positive and progressive, when cheery and chirpy, when upbeat and uplifting, could turn the tide for someone and everyone. Just give it a try.



[2] Wikipedia

Rescue Dawn: Curing “The Disease of Me”

Rescue Dawn

Rescue Dawn is code. Overcoming adversity after being captured is something almost none of us will ever have to experience. But it is the dawn of rescue that all of us need to see as we seek to crack the code and overcome “The disease of me.”

In one of the better Viet Nam War movies I’ve seen, the 2006 film Rescue Dawn staring Christian Bale, in its own way, speaks of this disease of me. It’s very good. IMDB says the film depicts “a US Fighter pilot’s epic struggle of survival after being shot down on a mission over Laos during the Vietnam War.” Shot down on his first mission, Dieter Dengler, played by Bale, was shot down and captured by villagers sympathetic to the Pathet Lao during an American military campaign in the Vietnam War.

Dieter survives torture and torment at the hands of his captures and overcomes, to mix sports and war, “the disease of me.” Sports are often portrayed as “battles” and “wars.” We commend and commemorate sports veterans this Memorial Day, not to belittle or belie our veterans whom we honor today. War veterans won and overcome adversity because they did not succumb to the disease of me.

Pat Riley coined the term “The disease of me” in order to encourage his player to be sacrificial and discourage them from being selfish. In order to win, teams must work as a unified unit, as a well oiled, well maintained machine, not as a collection of individuals. Why? Because the whole is greater than the sum of the individual parts. Pat Riley, the famed coach of the “Showtime Lakers” and now the General Manager of the Miami Heat, hopes to accomplish a “Three Peat;” a term he coined and copy writ but a feat he has yet achieve.

In order to win, teammates must lose themselves in the team. When you lose your individual identity, your team gains a corporate identity. You find yourself in among the individuals that you play with when you are not afraid to deny and disavow yourself. In order for our Maker to allow and avail and authorize our individual talent, it must be consumed and subsumed within the team. In other words, if you lose your life you will find it, and if you find your life you will lose it. Pat Riley called it “The Disease of Me;” and the disease of me equals the defeat of us.

In order to triumph, the church just be healed of the disease of me. Selfishness, self-interest and self-centeredness are friends of egoism and egotism, and are the enemies of victory and triumph.

The Church will NEVER truly triumph until we are each cured of the disease of me. So think of someone else; focus on a coworker; be happy for someone else’s success; save your brother. And remember the six danger signals of the disease of me, and take the pill self-sacrifice:

The Disease of Me

What Do You Know About Women’s Lacrosse?

 MD Womens Lacrosse

What do I know about women’s lacrosse? Next to nothing or not much — take your pick. But as a good friend once said, “I don’t know much, but I know bad when I see it.” Well, I may not know much about lacrosse, and I know much less about women’s lacrosse for that matter, but I know a proven winner when I see one. I don’t watch lacrosse, and if I hadn’t “just happened” to watch the news last night, I wouldn’t know that my Alma Matter had a great women’s lacrosse team.

You don’t have to know much to know that the University of Maryland Women’s Lacrosse Team is a proven winner. Last night the Lady Terps won their 12th National Championship in Women’s Lacrosse, defeating Syracuse 15-12 after going 23-1 on the season. Twelve championships is not just winning, it’s dominance.

You don’t have to know much to know a winner when you see one. But it’s more that seeing, it’s sensing; it’s more than noticing, it’s knowing; it’s more than picturing, it’s, perceiving. Witnessing sports greatness and athletic genius doesn’t happen every day.

The woman at the well didn’t know much, but she knew a winner when she saw one. She knew that Jesus was no ordinary guy. She knew that Jesus was no everyday dude. Jesus wasn’t just someone who went to church on Sundays or sang on the choir or didn’t smoke or drink or was “nice”; no, she knew that Jesus was something else, someone utterly otherly, someone not just above, but beyond all the rest.

You don’t have to know much to know that after just a few minutes and just a few morsels of meaningful conversation, the unnamed woman at the well knew that Jesus was a prophet; if she met Jesus today she would have called him more than a preacher; she perceived that He was a mystic or a psychic; a medium or a mind reader; a soothsayer or a seer, but certainly more than just a mere man.

You don’t have to know much to know that the woman at the well was weary and wounded, hurt and unhappy, lonely and leery of life. She was tired of living and exhausted of giving her all to men who were worthless and guys who gutless and everyone else who treated her like a second class citizen or a worthless piece of trash.

You don’t have to know much to know that those who believe that there’s more to this life than meets the eye have a knack for seeing what others don’t. Greatness resides in those who never settle for less and abides in those who always strive for more. There’s this life and then there’s the life to come.

 MD Womens Lacrosse 2014

So look for greatness everywhere, even in sports you don’t know or don’t care that much about. What do you know about women’s lacrosse? It might not be much, but it might be just enough to recognize greatness. So congrats to coach Cathy Reese and the Lady’s of Lacrosse, the 2014 University of Maryland Women’s Lacrosse Team. They’ve shown us what dominance looks like: it’s determination plus dedication, its stamina and stick-to-itiveness, it’s guts and a game face, and it’s being nasty with a smile, all rolled up into one.


Is LeBron The Best?


Well here we go. It looks like we’ll see a Heat/Spurs final, just like we thought at the onset of these 2014 NBA playoffs. It’s a no brainer. The Thunder can barely muster a whimper against Timmy Duncan and the San Antonio Spurs, and the Heat – well, they should win games Three and Four AT HOME against the Pacers.   Lebron James has a chance to prove that he is the best player playing and match Kobe and Mike in winning the NBA Championship three years in a row. Mike of course, did this twice.

In life there are the best, and then there’s the rest.   Lebron is head and shoulders above any and all other NBA players right now. And he has the chance to cement that title.  He is indeed the chosen one.  And so are we as the people of God.  Historically, God’s people are and have been given the best. Joseph and his family were given the best land in Egypt. When the prodigal son came back home his father gave him the best robe. The children of Israel were to give their best offering.  And outside of Jesus, David was the best thing that ever happened to Israel.

In sports, to be the best you must beat the best.  Lebron will probably beat the Pacers, and we’re all eager to see him try to “best” the best in the west by defeating Tim Duncan and the San Antonio Spurs.  Naturally and spiritually, the key is to be YOUR best; to give your best; to do your best. Don’t worry about the rest; the rest can’t stand the test. The rest don’t even try or don’t even put forth the effort or don’t even put up a fight. You do your best, and let God worry about the rest. When you give your best to the Master, He rewards with dividends beyond our wildest dreams.

So give and do and be your best. The best always rises to the top. The best is the cream of the crop, a figurative idiom for the best of all, probably borrowed from the French ‘la crème de la crème,’ the cream of the cream, the best of the best. As believers, we’re the pick of the litter. We are the apple of God’s eye.

We should give our best because God gave us His best. For those who are seeking and searching, seek and search no more. Satisfy your soul and marinate your mind with God’s best. Now that you’ve tried the rest, now try the best. Jesus is the best God has to offer. He’s bested the best the enemy could throw at Him, and because He gave His best, we should give our best too.

So be the best of the bunch. Be the toast of the town. Be the doll of the dance. The best will always rise to the top, and giving your best will always raise you to the top. Always. Not only do the best win, they have to win. So stop being halfway and half-hearted and half-behind. Give it your best shot. Give life and the Lord all you’ve got. For when we diligently seek Him, the best is always sure to come. So always remember,

Good, better best, never let it rest, Till your good is better, and your better best.


And Tina Turner said your “Simply the Best:”


You’re simply the best, better than all the rest

Better than anyone, anyone I’ve ever met

I’m stuck on your heart, I hang on every word you say

Tear us apart no, no, baby, I would rather be dead

Put Up or Shut Up

Paul George LeBron Jamesl

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.  Hebrews 11:1

If the Miami Heat are in trouble, then every person of faith needs to give up believing in Heaven right here and right now. If people of faith were to prance and panic, fear and fret, freak out and pack it in every time we tumbled into a tussle or fell into a free fall, we would never triumph in the face of tragedy.

If we were given every game and every victory and every win and every success without struggle, sacrifice and self-surrender, we would not appreciate the value of the victory or the worth of the win. Every Biblical character from Abraham to Asa, from Joseph to John the Baptist, from Esther to Elizabeth and everyone else in between had to press and persist, prevail and persevere, push and pursue their way to their destiny through hard trials, temptations and tribulation.

And if Miami doesn’t rebound from yesterday’s not so surprising loss to the Pacers, I will personally hand out coupons for free lattes on Main Street. That’s the proverbial Main Street, mind you. I mean, it’s not like “King” James hasn’t done anything or won anything yet; the Heat are just working on their Three-peat,- their third consecutive NBA Championship, like Mike and Kobe.

If we base our faith on what we see, how we feel and the outward appearance of things, we have no faith. Period. Faith is the substance of things hoped for, and the evidence of things NOT SEEN, remember? I mean, one convincing win by the Pacers should not shock the sports world into believing the possible and doubting the probable. It’s simple math; faith believes what is not seen. At this point, the Pacer pundits can strut all they want; winning the series is the ONLY way I or any and every other serious sports fan will take Paul George and the Pacers seriously.

If you are a Pacer’s fan, tell your team to put up or shut up. Either beat the Heat now that you’re the No. 1 Seed, have home court advantage, and have won Game One AT HOME, or shut “the-you-know-what” up. Seriously – they’ve won ONE game: whoop tee doo.   They’re SUPPOSED to win at home. Or maybe I’m being too harsh. NOT!

If Christians want to be taken seriously, we need to stop whining and whimpering and put up or shut up. Either we serve the true and living God or we don’t. Either our God is the King over all gods or He isn’t. Either we have victory in Him in every situation or we don’t. Either Jesus is the righteous Son of God or He’s not.

If we believe, we should not be deceived by the looks and the likes of fool’s gold. We do believe, and therefore we speak. We know that we are going to win. We know that God is sovereign. “We know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.” So all this controversy, consternation, hubbub and hullabaloo over the existence of God or the power of God or the immutability of God or the infallibility of God is a bunch of gobbledygook.

If we would practice what we preach, more people might believe our message, which is the message of our Lord, the Gospel of Jesus Christ. So let’s put up our faith against everyone else’s: Why not? What do we have to lose?