A Bloggers Blog: #Learn From The Past-Live For The Present-Long For The Future

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If you need a motto or a resolution or a hashtag, here’s the one: #Learn From The Past-Live For The Present-Long For The Future.

God’s tomorrow will be better than today. In sports and in life, this hope and this hunch, this prospect and this promise, this potential and this possibility keeps us going and keeps us yearning and keeps us longing for what lies ahead. And that’s why we say “there’s always next year.” And that’s God’s Playbook.

But we still need to live today and we need to live for today. And we need to learn for tomorrow what we left out yesterday in order to ensure that we’ll forever live like Apollo. Yes, Apollo. And why Apollo? There’s good reason we were taught Greek mythology in the 7th grade. The only problem is we didn’t (or I didn’t) remember to learn or learn to remember what we were taught.

Apollo was the Greek god of truth and light and prophesy and poetry and music and healing. Wow. Living a life of truth and light and poetry and music and healing and fulfilled prophesy is a life worth living. But as we all know, all of these things are not in or from the Greek small “g” god Apollo; they’re all in the Almighty and only wise God of the Bible.

And that’s what sports teaches us. There’s always hope. We just have to have faith. Sports looks and sounds and feels so spiritual because it is. Sports is and sports are absolutely spiritual. And I look forward to making my mark and preaching this power point in God’s tomorrow and in life’s today.

Sports teaches us that we need to take it one day at a time, one game at a time and one play at a time. Many things happen in a day and in a game and in our lives that we don’t like or don’t enjoy. But as they say, “that’s life.” So learn from yesterday, live for today, and long for tomorrow; a tomorrow without regret but filled with function and fulfillment and accomplishment and achievement.

As we look back over 2015 and look forward into 2016, let’s not cry over spilled milk. What’s done is done. This season is almost over and we have a new one to look forward to. So let’s all remember the words of the great hymns, including this one by Alison Kraus:

I don’t know about tomorrow

I just live from day to day

I don’t borrow from the sunshine

For it’s skies may turn to gray

I don’t worry o’er the future

For I know what Jesus said

And today He’ll walk beside me

For He knows what lies ahead

And this hymn about not knowing about tomorrow ties in very neatly with Alfred Henry Ackley’s hymn about God’s tomorrow, which is one of my favorites:

 

God’s tomorrow, God’s tomorrow

Ev’ry cloud will pass away

At the dawning of that day

God’s tomorrow, no more sorrow

For I know that God’s tomorrow

Will be better than today!

Start The New Year Right: Can Your Contemptible Coach

Kelly Fired

It’s official.  (and I’m NOT going to say I told you so!)

Kelly is kaput. He’s wrecked and ruined, finished and finaled out in Philly. And if you are a Godandsports.net fan, you’re a fan of mine. Thanks for reading. Whether you’ve read a little or a lot about Kelly, you know where I stand. You know that I’m not a Kelly supporter or defender, not by any stretch of the imagination. In a fitting and an apropos way, before the last game of the season, Kelly got what he deserved: the boot in the butt.

But lest we rush to judgement, we must acknowledge Jeff Lurie’s role in all of this. It’s his team, and Kelly was his hire. But it didn’t work. Thankfully, before things got any worse, Lurie stood up and manned up and planned to ban and can his man who fanned on getting Philly a respectable and perennial power of a football team.

 It’s near the end of the year and it’s the end of our fear that we would be stuck with Kelly for another season. It’s the end of a once hopeful and likeable and readable chapter in Philly sports history. It was a firing no one predicted but everyone wanted and expected. Thankfully, the Eagles can move on and go on and hire a coach who connects with the players and the team and the City that’s ready for a championship, yesterday.

So let’s move on. Some things (and people) need to be left behind.  You know it and I know it. So let’s leave what needs to be left behind in 2015. Let’s move Kelly out and move a new coach in. And let’s start 2016 right.

“N.F.L.” Doesn’t Mean What You Think It Does

I told you! (Chip is gone, but I wrote this before he was canned, so let me feel vindicated, then I’ll write about the chump called Chip who has lost his ship)

I told you that the Eagles game wasn’t worth watching! In a must win, loser go home, late December game, the Eagles got beat up and beat down and beat left and beat right out of the playoffs. (Playoffs, are you kiddin’ me?) Anyway, the NFL no longer means National Football League in Philly. In the City of Brotherly Love, N.F.L. now means that Chip Kelly has “No Friends Left.”

Today, Kelly may be the head coach and General Manager of the Philadelphia Eagles, but “Not For Long!” Kelly’s coaching and handling of the loss to the Redskins IN PHILLY on national television was unforgivable. YES the team played poorly and NO the dropped passes and missed opportunities were not all Chip’s fault, and YES the Redskins are red hot and NO the Eagles did not play well, but as all coaches know, if you can coach, you can coach. And Chip has proven that he can’t coach and he can’t GM. At least not consistently in the NFL, which is not for losers.

It is Not Frickin’ Likely that Eagles owner Jeff Lurie will fire Kelly at the end of the season. Rats. That’s a bummer. Because the Philly faithful have a N.F.L. – negative feedback loop (whatever that really is) when it comes to Kelly and his recent rough road as the head of our beloved Birds.

N.F.L. also stands for “new found love,” and Eagles fans everywhere are looking for a new coach we can fall for so that we can then mail their pic to Lurie in hopes that he’ll fall for them too. The honeymoon is long over, and now it’s time Chip comes to grip and stops giving fans lip because in his trip to Philly has caused him to slip and now his ship needs to set sail on a trip anywhere outside of South Philly. In other words, Chip needs to come to grip with the fact that there are no free lunches in the NFL.

So what can we learn from the multiple “NFL’s” of life? NFL also can mean “negatives foster life.” That’s right. All of the bad and the sad and the maddening things that happen to us actually work together for our good, if we love God, to build character and integrity and veracity and sincerity.

The old saying “wait until next year” has a whole new meaning – again. A new lease on life is an opportunity to be successful or happy after having experienced a series of difficulties. So, as we leave 2015 behind and get ready and get set and get started on 2016, remember that everybody, and that means everybody (including Chip Kelly) gets at least one more chance. And If Chip Kelly can have another chance and a new lease on life in the toughest sports town there is, then you can too.

 

Why I Don’t Even Want To Watch (the Eagles – Redskins Game)

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“You Like That? You Like That?” Said Curt Cousins, the Redskins quarterback. Whoa. Where did that come from? Cousins went on to say “I mean, I just get really fired up after we win, that’s all it is; I’m just fired up . . . I mean, I can get more fired up, but I try to stay composed.”

So said an excited, exuberant and exhilarated Cousins after a recent pivotal win; but his hype is way overblown as the Redskins really aren’t a good team; they’re just winning at the right time.

Winning at the right time is a spiritual concept. Because you can lose at the wrong time. So isn’t winning at the right time what we want our teams to do? And isn’t that what we’re supposed to do? Isn’t coming back and turning it around the foundation and hallmark of God’s Playbook?

So why am I not excited about this game?

1. The winner of Saturday’s game might as well take home the “worst team to make the playoffs” trophy; hardly anything to get excited about. However, there’s more . . .

2. The Eagles have had a torrid season. At 6-8, they’re a bad team trying to be an average team. And that’s nothing to get excited about. Or is it? When anyone does better and gets better and is better than they were, isn’t that something to get excited about?

3. The Redskins are over hyped about winning the NFC East, and maybe they should be, because nobody, and I mean NOBODY picked these same Redskins to win much of anything this year, much less the Division Title. So if they DO pull off and pull out and pull in a victory in Philly, it will be worth getting excited about (if you’re a Redskins fan).

So, do I want to watch? NO. But will I watch? Yes. Because somebody’s gotta win, and it just might be my Eagles. And beating an arch rival is always a good thing and it’s worth getting excited about.

Odell Beckham Jr: OBJr = OMG!

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Odell Beckham Jr., the New York Giants’ sassy and sensational young receiver, is a knucklehead. Or maybe he’s a knucklehead in the making. Or maybe he’s already a full-fledged, full-blown, full throttle blockhead who doesn’t know his butt from his belly bottom. I’m talking dumb and dumber, personified.

Beckham in two seasons has become one of pro football’s most popular and celebrated players and the focal point of the Giants’ offense. His spectacular one-handed catches and entertaining end zone dances after touchdowns have made him a marquee name in sports and a frequent pitchman for commercial products across multiple media platforms. Beckham also graced the cover of Madden N.F.L. 2016, the best-selling sports video game.

But he’s also a knucklehead. A knucklehead is a person of questionable intelligence. The point is, figuratively speaking, that the size of their brain is being compared to the size of a human knuckle. The term is similar to pinhead, or someone of limited intelligence and with a mean nature or someone who prefers using their knuckles or fists, to using their head.

Odell Beckham Jr., or OBJR., was penalized three times for unsportsmanlike conduct during a game-long battle with Panthers cornerback Josh Norman AND THEN after the game he was suspended by the NFL for one game because he repeatedly tangled with Carolina Panthers cornerback Josh Norman.

The suspension was for multiple acts as Beckham was whistled for three personal fouls (and it could have been more) for unnecessary roughness. But the most glaring incident came in the third quarter, when Beckham, running at full speed, slammed his helmet into the side of Norman’s. In college they call that “targeting” and it warrants an immediate ejection from the game, whether it was unintentional or not.

In announcing the suspension, the league referred to the vicious collision as a flagrant hit against a defenseless player, “in which Beckham left his feet prior to contact to spring forward and upward into his opponent.” Unbelievable.

In an era where safety comes first and flagrant fouls and unsportsmanlike conduct and unnecessary roughness are examined under a microscope, players do well to play within the rules and within themselves and not let their emotions get the best of them, especially when it comes to inflicting injury on another player. But OBJR doesn’t see it that way.  

After the game, Beckham defended himself.

“We are out there playing football,” he said. “We are competing. You are a competitor. I’m a competitor. We are always going to go at it.”

Wow. “Go at it” he says. Slamming your head into another player is called targeting or spearing, and once they called it head hunting. Can somebody say “Knucklehead!?”

Not surprisingly, this is not the first time OBJR has been fined for this type of behavior. In fact, this is the FOURTH, count it, fourth time Beckham has been suspended or fined in his short career for violent acts or temper tantrums. In 2014, he was fined $10,000 for kicking Rams linebacker Alec Ogletree in a brawl-filled game in St. Louis. The same month, he was fined $11,025 for taking off his helmet and throwing it to the turf during a prolonged protest of a late tackle out of bounds. Early this season, Beckham was fined $8,681 for throwing a punch at Buffalo Bills safety Duke Williams.

So what can we learn? Or, more pointedly, what should Mr. Beckham learn?  He is 23 years old; old enough to know better and yet young enough not to know what he doesn’t know.  And he doesn’t know how to behave like a professional. He’s substituted macho chauvinism for proper professionalism and is behaving badly like so many of his other young and unbridled stud athletes these days. Jahlil Okafor, take note (https://godandsports.net/2015/12/02/jahlil-okafors-rookie-mistakes/). 

So let’s just hope and pray that his pride is humbled before his haughty, high mindedness costs him more than fines and one game suspensions.

Remember the Sears Christmas Wish Book Catalog?

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Who remembers the Sears Christmas Wish Book Catalog? The Sears Christmas Wish Book was and is a holiday tradition. The very first Sears Wish Book came out in 1933. Featured items in this first catalog included the “Miss Pigtails” doll, an electric (battery powered) toy automobile, a Mickey Mouse watch, fruitcakes, Lionel electric trains, a five pound box of chocolates, and live singing canaries.

I loved the Sears Wish Book! Growing up, my sisters and I would literally fight each other over who got to see the catalog first, because we got to pick which toys we wanted from this annual registry of toys and trinkets and trifles. This was all to the chagrin of my parents, who outwardly groaned and moaned; but inwardly, I’m sure that way, deep, down, they loved to buy toys for their children, because they loved to see us glow and giggle after they gave us what we wanted. But that was then. This is now.

Now, we’ve matured and realize that we don’t always get what we want. But what I want is what most – if not all – of what Philly wants, and that’s Chip Kelly out of town. He needs to be flayed and then fired, sacked and then canned, discharged and unilaterally dismissed. He’s caput in Philly; the only problem is, he doesn’t know it, at least not yet.

So it’s official: Chip Kelly has GOT to go. Go where, you say? Anywhere but in South Philly. His team is disappointing and disconcerting, depressing and distressing, and if there is one coach in the NFL who needs to take a hike, it’s Chip Kelly.

And for Christmas this year, I wish that all Philly fans everywhere will sign my petition to have Kelly kicked to the curb and ditched to the dump. So why am I so steamed and so reamed and so stumped and so stymied? Well, I’m glad you asked.

Kelly’s system IS NOT working. Case in point, in last night’s awful, dreadful and dismal display of a game against the Arizona Cardinals, the Eagles were down just 17-10 but yet they were driving down the field, within reach of a tying touchdown. Then the inexplicable happened.

DeMarco Murray is an All Pro running back and was last year’s League leading rusher. Kelly traded Shady McCoy and then brought in Murray from Dallas to run up the gut and gain critical first downs on short yardage plays in critical 3rd down, or dare I say 4th and inches situations. Murray was on the BENCH, err – sidelines in football, when we had a 4th and inches situation in the Red Zone! Seriously!? And the end result? You guessed it – we didn’t get the first down. We turned the ball over on downs and went on to lose 40-17.

So the silver lining may be this: As much as I want Kelly gone, Kelly can redeem himself. He can win the NFC East and give Philly a playoff game and- dare I say, a playoff win? Because Christmas is more about giving than getting. Christmas is all about redemption. Mankind was lost and God sent his Son to buy back and get back the lost souls that he made. Thank God for Christmas.

Sears Wish Book

I’m sure many tiny tots everywhere still look forward to fawning over the Sears Wish Book. It was fun then and I’m sure it’s still fun now. Because Christmas is all about the joy of giving what is really needed, and getting what is really wanted.

Sports and ISIS

MD Terps BBall

I know what everybody wants for Christmas: “peace on earth and goodwill toward men.” And permanent peace will only come when the Prince of Peace comes back to earth. He came the first time as a bouncing, baby boy wrapped in swaddling clothes. He will come the second time King of Kings and Lord of Lords. But for now, peace requires that we prevail against a new world evil and the pandemonium that is ISIS. This new threat must be put out to pasture. While it’s easier said than done, it can be done, because it’s been done before.

Old enemies such as Adolf Hitler and Idi Amin Dada and recent enemies such as Osama Ben Laden and Sadam Hussein have all been vanquished. Now, this new enemy must be met and matched. But the question is, “how?”  I submit that sports supplies the solution.

My University of Maryland Terrapins Men’s Basketball team is ranked in the top ten and they may be one of the best teams in the country. They seem destined to go the Final Four, and, dare I say, bring another National Championship back to College Park. But for that to happen, more of what I saw in last night’s win against Princeton has to happen.

Maryland has weapons. Lots of ‘em.  We’ve got Rasheed Souliman, the transfer from Duke that we’ll take any day (Thank you Coach K) and Robert Carter Jr., another transfer from GA Tech, and freshman sensation Diamond Stone (more on him in coming blogs.) And of course we’ve got Melo Trimble, a prodigy who has come of age and can score at will and dish out assists with reckless abandon. But last night, it wasn’t anyone of these stars that won the day.

Jaylen Brantley
Maryland Guard Jaylen Brantley 

Enter No. 1, Jaylaen Brantley.  Before last night, I barely knew this kid existed, and most of the Maryland faithful didn’t either. But last night, Jaylen came off the bench and lead the Terps to victory. Brantley scored 14 points on six of seven shooting, dished out two assists and grabbed two rebounds in a super, surprising and superlative show of timely talent. And he did it all in 14 minutes! And another Terp who doesn’t usually shine that brightly, senior Jake Layman, lead the team with 19 points and 8 rebounds. 

Layan averages 11.3 points per game. And Brantley averages 2.3 points per game. And yet they managed to combine for 33 points when nobody, and I do mean NOBODY expected that kind of production from either of them.

So, what’s the lesson, you say? The lesson is that the weapons that we need to defeat our foes are hidden in plain sight. The weapons that we need to survive the fierce fight and subdue the dark knight have yet to be used and utilized to their potential.

Prayer is a weapon. And it’s a weapon that shouldn’t sit on the bench but should be a starter in the game of life. And the sooner that people of faith come together and unanimously use this lethal and legitimate spiritual weapon, the better. Unity is a weapon. We are better together. Humility is a weapon. Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall. All of our weapons are at our disposal; we just have to use them and not forsake or lose them at the far end of the bench.