Coach Jimmy V

jimmyValvano1993ESPY-640x300

Coach Jimmy Valvano gave one of the most sensational, inspirational and motivational speaches EVER at the 1993 ESPY’s. He coached the NC State Wolfpack to a miraculous win in the 1984 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament Final with a ragtag, no name bunch of bandits.

Coach Valvano will forever be loved and beloved and remembered for this remarkable, unprecediented, upset, comeback, Cinderalla victory. It’s the win that gave new meaning to the term “March Madness.”

But Jimmy V will mosly be remembered for this speach. It’s worth watching again and again. its powerful inspirational about sports, God and life.

Check it out.

Powerful Inspirational about Sports, God and Life

You Play To Win The Game

edwards1.1

I love Herman Edwards. I love him not only because he played for Philly, but because he’s a no nonsense, straight up football guy. Herm’s classic rant “You Play To Win the Game” is worth repeating anyday, anytime. So here goes, from one of my earliest blogs way, way back when I first started blogging and launched Godandsports.net. 

Each and every journey begins with the first step.  And the first step toward championship living is the will to win.  Not ability, or skill or knowledge.  Just will.  A young man named Rudy dreamed of attending the University of Notre Dame and playing football for legendary coach Parseegian.  He wasn’t the biggest, he wasn’t the strongest or the fastest football player ever to suit up, but he had the one essential ingredient that lead to the fulfillment of his dream:  an iron will.  He went through disappointments, setbacks and slammed doors, but he willed his way to Notre Dame and onto the football field.  In fact, Rudy’s family came to see the last game of the only season he played, and witnessed him being carried off of the field in triumph. Rudy was the last Notre Dame Player to be carried off of the field.

James “Jimmy the Bulldog of Bergen” Braddock was called “Cinderella Man.”  He won the heavyweight boxing championship of the world by sheer will.  Braddock was a professional boxer who broke his hand in the ring and had to resort to working on the loading docks to earn a living.  When the stock market crashed he lost his life savings, so during The Great Depression, he fought outside of the ring for his children to have milk to drink and a warm bed to sleep in.  He fought to keep his family together after he went on public assistance and could not afford to pay to keep the lights on.  And yet after all he went through, he willed his way to defeat the heavily favored defending champion in 1934 not because he outwitted or out foxed his opponent, but because he would not be denied.

Athletes who lack the will to win loose before the game is even played.  Those who pay attention to the odds makers are not likely to overcome.  Christians who focus on the promises of God, and determine to believe in spite and despite the circumstances are the eventual champions.  Those who throw caution to the wind and ignore what the prognosticators say are the ones most likely to succeed.

Will is the intangible part of man that dictates the outcome of events.  David said, “I will bless the Lord at all times, his praise shall continually be in my mouth. (Psalm 34:1).  His praise was not contingent upon his circumstances or his condition or what others said.  He decided to praise God at all times.  In sunshine and rain, in sickness and pain, through heartache and heartbreak, David decided to bless the Lord.  2 Corinthians 8:12 says, “For if there first be a willing mind, it is accepted according to what a man hath, and not what he hath not”.  Meaning, if there is a readiness, willingness, God can use what little you have, and it will be more than enough.  God wants our will, then our bodies.  But if our will is not present our bodies will just go through the motions.  Our will is to do His will, and he will perfect that which concerns us.

Consecrate me now to Thy service Lord, by the power of grace Divine,

Let my soul look up with a steadfast hope, and my will be lost in Thine.


The Beginning of the Season, and The End of Football (as we know it)

 Jr Seau_cte_findings

As much as I love football, and as much as you love football, and as much as America loves football, football will not last forever. It can’t.  Given how it’s butchering our boys and maiming our men, this just can’t go on forever.

Retired NFL star Junior Seau had a degenerative brain disease when he committed suicide in 2012 at the age of 43, according to a study by the National Institutes of Health. ABC News/ESPN reported that Seau’s family was told of the findings, which determined the brain of the All-Pro linebacker showed abnormalities associated with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).

Here’s a blog from Kevin Mind about the impending end of football:

“Evan Murray was a 17-year-old high school senior, honor student, and three-sport athlete who died recently as a direct result of injuries sustained playing quarterback for his school football team.  On the last play of his life, he got drilled by a defender with a clean hit to the midsection.  He gathered himself, rose, and walked off the field on his own.  Shortly thereafter, however, he collapsed on the sideline and the on-site ambulance transported him to the hospital.  It’s unclear what happened next, whether he died en route to the hospital or in the ER or during emergency surgery.  He died, though.  That much is true.  The 17 year old boy died playing a game on a Friday night in his hometown under the lights in front of friends and family.

The worst part is that Evan Murray was not an anomaly.  In the past three weeks, three high school football players have died from football related injuries.  Ben Hamm was a 16-year-old kid from Oklahoma, who collapsed after a tackle.  The impact of the hit caused significant intracranial bleeding.  And despite the best efforts of local neurosurgeons, he was unable to be saved.  Before that, Tyrell Cameron, a 16-year-old from Louisiana, broke his neck covering a punt and died on the field from asphyxiation.  Three deaths in three weeks.  Three teenagers.

Every year 12 boys and young men die playing high school or college football.  Doesn’t sound like a lot, I guess, in the grand scheme of things.  More teenagers and young adults die in traffic accidents over Christmas break than in 20 years of amateur football competitions.  And many of those football deaths are more a function of underlying medical issues like cardiac abnormalities or sickle cell disease.  But many are directly football related.  What if only six kids died every year as a result of football injury?  Does that make it any better?  Is that a number we are all comfortable with?  I have a four-year-old son.   The idea of sending him out to play a game in which there is a statistical possibility that he might die on the playing field makes my stomach turn.

And we haven’t even mentioned the long-term effects of repeated head trauma that football players sustain.  Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) is a degenerative disease affecting people who are subjected to repeated concussive and sub-concussive head traumas leading to progressive neurologic decline, dementia, and psychiatric instability. 

Formerly known as “Punch Drunk Syndrome” when used to describe retired pugilists, the pathophysiology has been well documented and described, especially at Boston University, by neurologists and pathologists studying the brains of selected deceased football players, both from the professional and amateur ranks.  Frontline, the investigative arm of PBS, recently reported on findings from Veterans Administration/Boston University researchers that confirmed CTE in the brains of 87 of 91 former NFL players studied and 131 out of 165 men who had played football either professionally or in high school/college.  The National Football League recently settled a class-action lawsuit brought by thousands of former players suffering from the ravages of CTE for $765 million.

But you object, and you say:  ‘CTE is a disease of older, retired, broken down NFL players — think Mike Webster, Gene Hickerson, John Mackey — players who played long ago in a far more brutal, less regulated era.  We have high-tech helmets now, and penalties for spearing and headshots and you can’t hit the quarterback after he throws.  The game’s been cleaned up, you say.  There are ‘concussion protocols’!  It’s safer!  Roger Goodell said so!’”

 http://www.kevinmd.com/blog/2015/10/end-football-coming-doctor-says-cant-come-fast-enough.html

 

This just can’t go on forever.

Did The Floyd Mayweather/Conor McGregor Fight Live Up to the Hype?

 

Mayweather-vs-McGregor
Mayweather-vs-McGregor

The MayMac fight in Las Vegas was big, but there have been bigger, right? Ali vs. Frazier, the Rumble in the Jungle (Ali vs. Foreman), all of Sugar Ray Leonard’s  fights and all of the Roberto Duran fights and all of the Joe Louis fights lived up to the hype (mostly). But did this one? You tell me.

First of all, Connor McGregor lost because he doesn’t fight with boxing gloves. It’s a small thing but it’s a big deal. He’s an Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) fighter that fights without shoes and with light gloves (4-6 ounces) that allow fingers to grab.  None of that was happening with Mayweather.

Think about it. Mayweather was smart enough not to fight a UFC fight with McGregor. Right? Would the outcome have gone another way had it been a UFC fight?  You tell me.

McGregor is used to a different style and different rules. While he is the reigning UFC Lightweight Champion, and a former UFC Featherweight Champion with a mixed martial arts (MMA) background, he had a learning curve to overcome. So he came in with a decided disadvantage.  Did he overwhelm or overpower or override all of that? Not quite.

Second, Mayweather won and finished his career going 50-0, which is no small feat. But he’s a defensive, “pretty boy” fighter. His MO, modus operandi, is not to get hit, to outlast his opponents, and to capitalize off of their weaknesses.  Well, check all of the boxes, because once again, Mayweather managed to avoid getting hit (for the most part), he outlasted McGregor, and he capitalized on McGregor’s weakness of wearing out and burning out in the early rounds.

Finally, McGregor’s manager said that he was OK with the stoppage in the 10th Round. The TKO was called essentially because Conor was cornered, out of gas, and was running on fumes.  But did the fight live up to the hype? You tell me.

The real question is this: are you living up to the hype? Does your life and your lifestyle as a believer in the Ultimate God living up to the billing that the Bible says it should? The Bible says that we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us. The Bible says that God always gives us a triumphant win. The Bible says that we will overcome every foe by the blood of the Lamb and by the message that we preach.

Christians believe and preach that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. Our belief is rooted in and grounded on the faith that our lives should be fuller and richer and deeper and stronger than those who don’t believe.  But many of us are losing the fight in a technical knockout because we’re running out of gas; we aren’t fighting this fight of faith like we should. 

So, is your fight with this wanton world and your flimsy flesh and the diabolical devil a victory for you or not?

You tell me.

The Isaiah Thomas/Kyrie Irving Trade: One Man’s Trash is Another Man’s Treasure

Isaiah Thomas celtics- I don’t get it.

Boston parted ways with one of its most beloved players, Isaiah Thomas, in exchange for Cleveland’s most bemoaned player, Kyrie Irving, in a late summer, blockbuster trade that’s rocking the NBA world.  After the season ended, Kyrie DEMANDED to be traded, so Cleveland had to do something. 

So I get it. I really do. Kyrie was damaged goods in Cleveland, and Isaiah, coming off of hip surgery, was a question mark for the upcoming season, at best. Kyrie burned his bridges in Believeland and Boston saw an opportunity to cement their standing as the No. 1 seed in the East. Now beating Cleveland should be a fait accompli.  Right?

But then again, I don’t get it. Isaiah played his heart out for Boston, and Kyrie won a NBA Championship in Cleveland. So why leave? And why part with a fan favorite in Thomas when he’s the heart and soul of that team?

I get it. Sports is a business. Sports teams are not family anymore. Professional sports teams are organizations, not chummy chum chum kinfolk. The bonding and the binding and the belonging that comes with a sports team that resembles a tight knit family is no more.  It’s in God’s playbook, but not NBA owners. And that’s a shame.

Even though the Kevin Durant signing turned out swimmingly, this was a TRADE, not a free agent signing. So there’s no guarantee that this swap and switch-aroonnee will work.  What about the chemistry between Kyrie and the other veteran Boston players? And will little Isaiah be “big” enough to handle playing with LeBron?

 I don’t get it. But then again, I get it. Once again, we see another example of how sports is like life and life is just like sports. On one hand you scratch your head and wonder.  And on the other hand, you just gotta believe.

Colin Kaepernick and Race and Racism In Sports

NFL: San Francisco 49ers at Miami Dolphins

The Bible says this about “race:”

 And (God) hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth . . .

Acts 17:26 KJV

We all bleed red. We all have red blood cells and white blood cells. And we all have a heart, but not all have “heart.” That’s the problem. We judge and prejudge based on the outward appearance, not on the inward quality. And that’s tragic. 

There is no African blood or Anglo-Saxon blood or Hispanic blood or Asian blood. God made us all of one blood.  That’s why the Civil Rights movement was so powerful.  White men marched with black men in the fight for racial right. And we’re still fighting.  Unfortunately, not everyone agrees with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who said this in his famous March on Washington speech in 1963:

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 

The NFL has turned its back on Colin Kaepernick. Once one of the starting QB’s in the Super Bowl, Kaepernick is now out of a job and out of the NFL. Many believe it’s because he’s been blacklisted and blackballed by NFL owners because of his silent protest of taking a knee during the national anthem at games in 2016.

“Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett says Colin Kaepernick remaining unsigned reflects the state of the NFL.

‘I think the league is built on middle America, and most of middle America is predominantly a white crowd,’ Bennett said Wednesday. ‘That’s just the truth of it. I think race is not something that the NFL wants to be a part of or get behind. But the league is predominantly African-American.

So the issue that he’s dealing with is what we’re all dealing with. We all come from the inner city or we’ve been a part of communities where we felt like we’ve been judged because of the color of our skin . . .

Obviously, there’s the elephant in the room why Kaepernick isn’t signed, and most people know why.’ Bennett said. ‘I’ve said this several times, and I’m not afraid to say it: I think race and politics in sports is something people don’t want to hear about, nor do people want to be a part of.’ “

http://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/19643996/michael-bennett-seattle-seahawks-says-lack-colin-kaepernick-deal-demonstrates-league-racial-divide

And so the answer is really simple. Sports, the great unifier, is played by players of one blood.  The reason why we can’t separate sports and politics is because some cannot separate sports from racism, and bigotry and bias and discrimination, as Colin Kaepernick has come to learn, the hard way. And that’s too bad.  Like it or not, sports has long been used as a political weapon, and still is.

We have mislabeled each other. In turn, we’ve misjudged and mistaken our outward appearance for our inner identity. Black and white are not colors, but values. Yet, black is used to “color” the African race. Black is associated with darkness, depression and death. White, on the other hand, is associated with light and luminosity and life. And we have labeled each other, and we treat each other, likewise.  And that’s a shame.  

My friend’s daughter said it best:

One day her little kindergartener came home from school crying and emotionally distraught. “It’s been a really bad day.” she cried. “It’s been a really, bad, bad, bad, bad, bad day!”  “Why?” her mother asked. With sobbing tears and shirking shoulders the little one went to her toy box and got her crayons, and then dumped them all on the floor. She searched for one in particular and pointed it defiantly at her mother. “They said I’m black!” She wailed. “THIS is black, and I’m not black! I’m brown!”

 

Out of the mouths of babes.

Love Not Hate

Love Sweet Love

Here’s a note to the protestors in Charlottesville, and everywhere else that the race haters are hating: what the world needs now, is love, sweet love, not hate, bitter hate. That’s in God’s Playbook.

The late, great leader of the Civil Rights Movement said this:

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.

Martin Luther King, Jr. 

Amen brother.

On and off of the court, sporting events are the great unifier. Red and yellow and black and white, we all join on the track or on the field or in the pool or on the slopes or on the hardwood or on the gridiron to compete and to win. The Olympics, The World Cup, Word Championships, Wimbledon, the Super Bowl, the World Series, the Masters and many other major championship events tend to draw and unite and combine and bond and bind us like no other positive event can. 

So here’s to sports and teams and teammates. Because we are all are of one blood. And we all have the same goal: to win.   But when we hate and bite and devour, we lose. We all lose.

The bottom line is this: sports are the great educator. When we play together we learn how to be good sports and how to be sportsmanlike. We learn how to play through hot, sultry summers and cold, windy winters. We learn to shake hands before and after the game. We learn to help an opponent get up and to pause when a member of the opposing team goes down.

So let’s get back to being good teammates, on and off the court. When you love the game you respect the game, and those that play it. And sports teach you to love not just the game, but those that play it. And in the game of life, that’s all of us, red and yellow and black and white, because we’re all precious in His sight.

 Because what the world needs now, is love, sweet love, not hate bitter hate.

 What the World needs now, Is love, sweet love

It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of.

What the world needs now Is love, sweet love,

No, not just for some, but for everyone.