All For One and One For All

We love sports because the concept of team is embedded in our inner being and lies at the core of every human concern. Unity and solidarity and community and congruence are the essentials of teams and teamwork. It has been said that there is no “I” in team. Amen. A really good team has a corporate identity that transcends and supersedes individuality yet even lifts each individual together.

Successful teams are selfless and not selfish. Teams that focus on the whole, not the individual, will win. Teams that focus on individual talent at the expense of the team invariably and inevitably lose on and off the court. It’s that simple.

E. Stanley Jones puts it this way: “Gordon Alport, professor of psychology at Harvard, said that ‘paradoxically self expression requires the capacity to transcend oneself and the pursuit of objectives not primarily referred to the self.’ Here psychology and Christianity collide. Jesus said that ‘he that findeth his life shall lose it and he that loseth his life shall find it’. Self cultivation is allright and very necessary provided the self has been surrendered, and the surrender must be to God. Then it can be cultivated for it is God centered and not self-centered.”

That’s why so many people love Carson Wentz. Yes he’s disappointed that he’s not playing but he’s shown by his selfless actions in helping Nick Foles that he’s all about the team. And that is also why Brady and Belichick have so many haters. They seem to put themselves above the whole, above the team. Yes they’re good, but what about everyone else? The sum is greater than the individual parts. That’s how God intended it to be. You need look no farther than the Trinity for the Divine example.

All for one and one for all. Each member pulling for each member, and every member in fellowship with the entire membership. This is the motto we should all ascribe to fulfill.

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Don’t Blow The Lead

Today I watched my University of Maryland Terrapins play the Michigan State Wolverines on national television. To my joy and surprise, the unranked Terps jumped out to an 8-0 lead forcing beleaguered Michigan State Coach Tom Izzo to call an early timeout. It looked good for my Terps the entire first half as they had ’em on their heels for a full twenty minutes. Maryland went to the locker room with 13 point lead as they lead 37 – 24 over No. 6 Michigan State at intermission.

And that’s when the bottom fell out.

Young teams generally struggle to hold big leads. They know how to get leads, but they don’t know how to keep them. And such was the case with Maryland today.

So let’s learn another life lesson. Don’t blow the lead. Don’t spend every dime you make. Or worse yet, don’t spend money you don’t have. Better still, saving money is better than spending it. You never know when a rainy day will come. Fight to keep what meager cushion you sit on and hold on to what you have with dear life.

So don’t blow the lead. Don’t get careless and live carefree just because things are gong well right now. Protect your investments, your interests and the ones you love. Because there is an enemy that would love to derail you and ultimately destroy you if you don’t protect the lead.

The Terps won’t be going to the Big Dance if they continue to play like they did today. Like some of us, they fumbled and floundered away opportunity after opportunity until the joy they started with was gone. So don’t blow the lead. God has been too good to us for us to squander away what He has given us. Let’s hold onto our faith and build up our hope on things eternal and love like there’s no tomorrow.

We’ve come too far to turn back now. So don’t turn back or go back or inadvertently give back the blessings bestowed upon you. The the victory has already been won. We just need to hold on.

Why Philly Fans Are So Excited!

Ben Simmons Dribbling

Giddy and giggly, exuberant and expectant can’t come close to describing the state of Philly fans everywhere, but these descriptive words are the best we can do. Philly fans are currently in a near state of euphoria.  And you know why.

Sports in Philly has gotten superciliously silly.  First, our Eagles won the NFC Championship Game in grand fashion and are going to the Super Bowl! Not the Cowboys, nor the Falcons and not the Vikings. The Eagles, baby!

Sports Fans in Philly are over the moon.  And for good reason.  The Eagles are going to the Super Bowl. Did I say that already?  The Super Bowl!  The defense looks great and Foles has never played better. So all systems are go and all hopes are riding on the faith that Foles and the “D” can do it again, and against the vaunted, New England Patriots, at that.

And, to make matters even better, our beloved Sixers are the hottest team in the NBA, next to the Golden State Warriors.  Both teams are 8-2 in January. Eight and Two! Ben Simmons, everyone’s favoirte for Rookie of the Year, is playing lights out and racking up triple doubles night after night. AND, the cherry on top of it all is that Joel Embiid is an NBA All Star Game starter!  Wow. 

Now, we just need the Flyers and the Phillies to step up to the plate and hit home runs, too.

So here’s a message to all Philly fans everywhere; let’s learn another life lesson. Let’s learn to be moderate and temperate, even keeled and steady handed at all times and in every circumstance. Let’s learn to endure the hard times (we have) and enjoy the good times (we are) and not get too excited or overly extended in our behavior.

Oops – too late!

Dr. Larry Nassar and the Mayhem at Michigan State

Mark Dantonio

 It’s all so sad. It’s all so heart breaking and heart-rending. Misuse is abuse, and abuse of any kind is wrong. It’s actually sin. And sin, when it’s is finished, brings forth death.

Abuse is iniquity at the lowest level. And we just witnessed another case of abuse in sports. “Michigan State professor and doctor for the American gymnastics team, Dr. Lawrence G. Nassar, was sentenced to 40 to 175 years in prison on Wednesday for multiple sex crimes, capping an extraordinary seven-day hearing that drew more than 150 young women to publicly confront him and speak of their abuse.

Judge Rosemarie Aquilina, who had opened her courtroom to the young women, including several prominent Olympic athletes, bluntly made clear that Dr. Nassar, 54, was likely to die in prison.”

The Bible is right, for is speaks of what happened to Nassar:

Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. 15 These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death.

James 1:14-15, New Living Translation

 And if Nassar’s crimes weren’t bad enough, it has now come to light that members of the Michigan State football and basketball teams are accused of sexual misconduct. 

Here’s the story from ESPN:

“The Michigan State football program did not report three instances of sexual assault and three incidents of physical violence, according to a report from ESPN’s Outside the Lines. Outside the Lines reports that at least 16 Michigan State football players have been named in accusations of rape or violence against women since Dantonio took over in 2007.

The report seems to contradict head coach Mark Dantonio’s assertion that there had only been two incidents of sexual assault during his 11-year tenure as head coach.

“We had one incident that involved three people. We had another incident that involved one. We have 120 players usually on our football team,” Dantonio told reporters after four players were kicked off the team and expelled from the university for sexual assault earlier this year.

The details come as part of OTL’s scathing report which details a culture of sexual assault within Michigan State’s football and basketball programs. The university’s athletic department has been in headlines for its mishandling of the Larry Nassar case; Nassar was a faculty member at the university for decades and sexually abused multiple students under the guise of medical treatment during his time there.

According to the OTL report, many accusations of sexual assault were handled by the athletic department, then headed by Mark Hollis, who resigned Friday amid the Nassar fallout. In one instance, Dantonio reportedly handled a sexual assault case by telling the player to talk to his mother about what he did.

The athletic department’s efforts to keep sexual assaults in-house were apparently pretty extensive. When ESPN requested police reports and records for every football and basketball player from ten universities, Michigan State tried to block out the players’ names. ESPN then successfully sued Michigan State for that move, and the names were released.” https://www.si.com/college-football/2018/01/26/michigan-state-football-sexual-assaults-mark-dantonio

Mark Dantonio, Michigan State football coach, said he will not resign following an ESPN report that the school mishandled or ignored allegations of sexual assault against members of the team. Dantonio also said he would not resign, and was there to “look the people” who instigated the reports “in the eye.” https://www.tmj4.com/news/national/spartan-head-coach-mark-dantonio-responds-to-espn-report-about-sex-abuse-at-msu

Wisconsin v Michigan State
EAST LANSING, MI – JANUARY 26: Michigan State Spartans head football coach Mark Dantonio speaks to the media at a press conference before the Michigan State Spartans and Wisconsin Badgers basketball game at Breslin Center on January 26, 2018 in East Lansing, Michigan. Michigan State is facing criticism for its handling of sexual assault accusations on campus. (Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images)

“…any accusations of my handling of any complaints of sexual assault individually are completely false,” Dantonio said during the press conference. “Every incident reported in that article was documented either by the police or by the Michigan State Title IX office. I’ve always worked with the proper authorities when dealing with the cases of sexual assault.”

Punishment for crime is only right. I just hope that what happened at Penn State does not happen at Michigan State. Joe Paterno was vilified for what he did and did not know of Jerry Sandusky’s abusive behavior, and it sent him to an early grave. Let’s hope that the truth will overcome a rush to judgement at Michigan State.

Now, They HAVE To Win!


Foles and Wentz

Why should you be cheering for Philly on Super Bowl Sunday? I’ll tell you why. I’m a Philly fan. And, at least for this Super Bowl, you should be too. For a number of reasons, everyone outside of New England should be rooting for Philly.

So here we go:

No.1: The Eagles (pronounced Iggles for all those of you who want to jump on the bandwagon) have a compelling story. They’ve lost their darling, star, MVP-candidate quarterback Carson Wentz to injury.  They lost their All Pro Offensive tackle Jason Peters and then Darren Sproles and several other key players to injury.  And they STILL made it to the Super Bowl!  How can you not root for this team?

No. 2: Carson Wentz is genually happy for Nick Foles. He is. As much as he would like to be out their winning the games and playing in the Super Bowl, he’s a team player, and he is helping and aiding and assisting Foles so that the TEAM wins. And you can’t help but root for that.  

No: 3: The City of Brotherly Love is deserving of a Super Bowl Victory. That’s right. We’ve got some passionate fans (to say the least) and I’m one of them. And we’re Super Bowl starved to the point that a win on February 4th in Minneapolis would quench a lot of fanatic thirst.

No. 4: The fans aren’t that bad. No, we’re not. Yes you may have heard some harsh, horrific, wild and woolly stories about the fans. Don’t believe them all. When people find out I’m an Eagles, they say, “But you’re such a nice guy?” I love it.

No. 5: We’re playing the Evil Empire. That’s right; the Patriots are equivalent to the dark side of the Force and Bill Belichick might as well be Darth Vader at his nadir. So many people hate, and I do mean hate, everything that has anything to do with the Patriots, Tom Brady and all. So there’s plenty of room on the Eagles bandwagon for all of you who want to jump on board.

No. 6a: The Eagles are the underdogs. And they’re relishing this role.  And why not? It’s so spiritual.  God loves the underdog.  All dogs don’t go to Heaven, but all of Heaven is pulling for all underdogs who have been knocked down and shoved aside and left for dead. And if you’ve ever been in the role of an un-liked, unloved and unlikely little guy, you know how it feels to be voted least likely to succeed. And then when you do  succeed, it’s the best thing ever.

No. 6b: The Eagles were underdogs to the best defense in the league this year, the Minnesota Vikings. Yet and still their journeyman backup quarterback, Nick Foles, had the game of his life against them! Go Eaglesssssssssssssssss!

No. 7: The Eagles are destined to win. When Wentz went down, no one, and I mean NO ONE outside of Philly gave them a chance.  So now they must be the team with the date with destiny, right?

So, let’s borrow a movie line from a touching scene in The Hunger Games starring Jennifer Lawrence as Katnis Everdeen and a young Amandla Stenberg as Rue. After Katnis goes through all that she goes through to get to the goal line of a victory and was on the verge of a unbelievable upset win, Rue, the cute little caramel colored girl who eventually gets killed imploringly gives Katnis a prophetic word. Remember what she says? She uttered these immortal words: “Now you HAVE to Win!

After all the Eagles have been through, now they have to win.

 

Fly Eagles Fly!

Do The Eagles Have a Date with Destiny?

Eagles Nelson Agholor

The Philadelphia Eagles dominated the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC Championship Game and are now on their way to the Super Bowl in Minneapolis. How ironic is that? 

Now the Eagles will face the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII  and seem to be a team of destiny. Picked as underdogs AT HOME, the Eagles flipped the script and became the best NFL underdogs ever.

They said they were the worst team in the 2017 playoffs. They said that they couldn’t win without Wentz. And they all said better luck next year. The Eagles were the No. 1 Seed in the playoffs but no one, and I mean NO ONE outside of Philly gave them a chance. But Nick Foles and the Eagles shocked the football world and won the NFC Championship Game in convincing fashion to give the City of Brotherly Love another chance to win a Super Bowl.

“It was an accepted truth that if the Eagles were to win, it would have to be in rugged, low-scoring fashion. The two defenses were expected to turn the game into a field-position battle as the backup quarterbacks, Foles and Case Keenum, plinked about the field and did what they could with limited opportunity.”   Not so.

So much for the expected, or the probable. We have been transported into the land of the unexpected, where a largely immobile backup can have a career day that and shred the best defense in football.  And what about that Philly Defense!

So, I ask you, are the Eagles a team of destiny?

Destiny is defined as purpose, calling and future.  The Eagles had a storybook season with their storybook quarterback, Carson Wentz. Without him, they said the story was all but over and they would need a miracle. With their trusted but recently untested back up, Nick Foles, the Eagles entered the playoffs needing the miraculous to have a storybook ending. A dominating 38-7 whupping of the Vikings is not a bad start to a glorious finish.

And so far, they’ve got one. As they say, so far, so good. We’ve got one win to go.

Eagles-rout-the-vikings

 Go Eagles!

Thank You, Dr. King

MLK, Jr.2

January 15th is forever a day that minorities, especially African Americans, can be thankful for. The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. had vision and foresight, wisdom and prudence, and yes he dreamed. He urged and encouraged this great Nation to live out the content of its creed. In his eternally unforgettable March on Washington speech, delivered on August 28, 1963, Dr. King gave the Nation this challenge:

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.’

In sports, since Dr. King’s death, we’ve seen many more minorities playing games, and a few more minorities managing teams, and yet fewer minorities owning franchises.  We haven’t overcome all racial and social discrimination yet, but thanks to Dr. King, we’ve come a long way, baby.

 

Happy birthday, Dr. King.