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.

 

 

Note To Ezekiel Elliott: Don’t Dig Your Own Grave  

 

ezekiel-elliott-getty-3

The Dallas Cowboys in general, and Ezekiel Elliott in specific, are digging their own grave. Elliot was just suspended for six – count ‘em – SIX games. That’s over a third of the season. Sheesh. That’s like a 60-year-old missing twenty years of life. It’s like not living for the first four months of the year.  It’s like not showing up for work on a 9-5 job until well after 11 every day.  That’s a formula for losing, and losing at the game of life is not something that any of us should want to do.

So is this suspension a big deal?  I’ll say.

What’s a Super Bowl favorite to do without the heart and soul of their team?  Lose.  And lose they will.  The Cowboys are implicated as much as Elliott in this me because they defended him and covered for him and basically acted like the investigation was no big deal.  Wrong answer.

When you dig your own grave you’re way behind before you even start and you’re just about out before you even get to the plate. You don’t want to give your enemies and adversaries and opponents and rivals a head start in a short race, and that’s exactly what Ezekiel Elliott did to his team and his teammates by making bad decisions.  Now, the Eagles, Giants, and yes, even the lowly Redskins have more of a chance at winning the NFC East without Elliott in the lineup for a third of the season. 

Oh well. People make their own choices, and sometimes people in general, and athletes in specific, dig their own grave through addictions to drugs or drinking or sexual activities or senseless behavior.   “Addiction is a condition that results when a person ingests a substance (e.g., alcohol, cocaine, nicotine) or engages in an activity (e.g., gambling, sex, shopping) that can be pleasurable but the continuation of which becomes compulsive and interferes with ordinary responsibilities and concerns, such as work, relationships, or health. People who have developed an addiction may not be aware that their behavior is out of control and causing problems for themselves and others.” https://www.psychologytoday.com/basics/addiction

And that’s the bottom line. Does Ezekiel Elliot realize how he has affected his life, much less his team?  The problem, or problems, Ezekiel Elliot has caused for himself are bad enough, but the injuries to his former girlfriend and the suspension from the team hurts people way beyond his personal space.  Maybe the suspension, if it is upheld, will give Zeke time to think and reflect and get help and mend his ways.

They say that where there’s smoke, there’s fire.  And in Zeke’s life, there’s a smoldering bonfire ready to explode if he doesn’t put it out.

Can Anybody Stop The Dodgers?

Dodgers

The LA Dodgers are RED HOT! 

The Dodgers have the best record in baseball by far. Get this: “L.A.’s winning percentage over the past two months (.863) is nearly 200 points higher than the Nationals’ winning percentage over the past three days (.667). That’s right. With another win on Sunday, the Dodgers are now 44-7 in their past 51 contests. Forty-four and seven. Incredible.

The timing of the Dodgers’ streak is not a coincidence, either: The first of those 51 games came on June 6, when L.A. beat the Nationals in the finale of a three-game set in Tinseltown. The following day, Justin Turner — who’s, um, really good at baseball — returned after missing three weeks with a hammy strain. It has been ice cream and puppy dogs ever since. And that’s despite missing ace Clayton Kershaw for the past two weeks!

Of course, just because Dave Roberts’ club is on pace for an absurd 115 regular-season wins doesn’t guarantee anything in the postseason. Just ask the 2001 Mariners, who set an MLB record by going 116-46, then lost in the ALCS. Then there’s this: Of the 21 teams that have posted 100-win seasons since the beginning of the wild-card era, only seven of them have reached the World Series. So maybe there’s hope yet for the Nationals. Or the Cubs. Or the Brewers. Or the Marlins.”

http://www.espn.com/blog/washington-nationals/post/_/id/2928/what-nationals-cubs-told-us-about-the-nl-pennant-race

And so the question really is, how can you and I get hot and stay hot? In other words, how can we get on a roll, spiritually?  It’s the question of the ages. First of all, it takes focus and not hocus-pocus. Sometimes it takes more than we’ve got but less than we know how to give. What it takes is not a mystery, nor a well-kept secret.  

Getting good and staying good is easier said than done, but it can be done.  Getting good and staying good requires discipline and determination and concentration and furtive contemplation. It requires having a will and making a way.  It also requires a hand out from Heaven and a hold out from hell.  We’ve got to have Divine assistance, and we must resist demonic attack. 

So don’t just wish a win; will a win. We must desire to succeed more than we desire life itself.  Look up and not down; look past obstacles and look through objections. And then, nothing, nothing at all, and no one at all, will be able to stop what God has started in you.

Dubious Dudes: Ezekiel Elliott

Ezekiel Elliot Under Investigation

Here is yet another edition of “guys gone wild.”  Ezekiel Elliott, the 2016 Rushing Champion and the Dallas Cowboys rookie sensation, is under investigation by the NFL for “conduct unbecoming.”  Really? I mean, really? Don’t these rich, raucous, unrestricted and unconstrained athletes get it?  Apparently not.

The following is From Jason Keidel, CBS DFW

In perhaps the least surprising news of the summer, there are reports that Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott got into an altercation at a Dallas nightclub Sunday night.

This, along with other incidents, both at Ohio State and during his brief career with the Cowboys, keep with Elliott’s Wild West persona. At best, Elliott has an affinity for nightlife and the trappings of fame. At worst, he’s a headache to borderline-felon who can’t keep his hands where they belong.

We already know Elliott was facing discipline from the NFL over domestic violence accusations back in Ohio. Then we have the repugnant video of Elliott lifting a woman’s shirt during St. Patrick’s Day festivities. Now this.

Is Elliott a victim of his own talent and stardom? Or is he inexorably drawn to danger?

Surely Elliott did not need to see his name in bold ink this morning, especially days — if not hours — before the NFL was to rule on his status entering the 2017 season. And while it’s self-evident that the Cowboys don’t want their star RB perilously close to missing games, doesn’t a part of you wonder if Dallas enjoys the attention to a point?

 If Dallas did any due diligence on Elliott before drafting him, they surely knew he was not the strong, silent type. Even if the domestic violence charges didn’t make it to a courtroom, there’s enough behavioral smoke around Elliott to suggest he loves to live on the edge.

 And the Cowboys are renowned for investing in great talents who are also questionable characters. Going back to Hollywood Henderson, the Cowboys have always been equal parts football club and traveling circus. And while it’s silly to assert they condone Henderson stuffing narcotics in his thigh pads, or Elliott perpetrating violence upon a woman, there’s enough history of them rolling the dice on dubious dudes to suggest they at least like the aroma of trouble.

There’s no such thing as bad publicity, as the axiom goes. And clearly the Cowboys agree. But what happens if or when Elliott starts to miss games because of his malfeasance? Though we can’t say with certainty, there’s enough of a pattern here to suggest that Elliott will keep pushing the legal envelope until something, or someone, stops him.

At what point is it up to owner Jerry Jones and head coach Jason Garrett to pull the young man aside and jar some sense into him? By the time a player’s fate hits Roger Goodell’s desk, it’s too late. Football teams love to profess the family ethic, live in the bunker of the locker room, with each man having the other’s back.

To use a military metaphor, where’s the commanding officer? Who’s the captain or major who reels in his wayward troops? Perhaps part of the problem is that the team’s two best players — Elliott and QB Dak Prescott — were rookies last year. If you’re looking for Dez Bryant to lecture the young man on poor aesthetics, well…

The Dallas Cowboys have often lost the line between fun and foible. Part of Jerry Jones’s business genius is seeing his franchise as a hybrid brand of athletics and entertainment. And he also understands our lust for the front and back pages, and thus if he can accommodate both, he will. But it seems his keen handle on human nature doesn’t extend to his own backyard. This is hardly the first time Jones has seen one of his players color outside the lines.

Ezekiel Elliott has the chance to join the orbit of Tony Dorsett and Emmitt Smith as the preeminent player on perhaps the NFL’s preeminent — or at least most popular — franchise. If his rookie year is any indication, he could even fit himself for one of those mustard-colored jackets they hand out five years after a transcendent career.

But long before he can even think about Canton, Zeke Elliott has to keep himself on the Cowboys, and spend more time on the back page then Page Six.”

 http://dfw.cbslocal.com/2017/07/17/ezekiel-elliott-cowboys-nightclub-fight/

Kyrie Irving and Demanding Children

Kyrie Irving Trade

There was a time when people — and for the purposes of this blog, people are athletes — were almost always respectable and correctable, reputable and commendable. But not now. There was a time when folks and sports figures were almost always faithful and forthright, dependable and reliable, tried and true. But not now. And you already know I’m speaking of Kyrie Irving.

Kyrie Irving has demanded — that’s right, DEMANDED — a trade from Cleveland to anywhere in the NBA. Or almost anywhere he wants to go.  What the what?  There was a time not too long ago when no one would have blamed him. But not now. Now he plays with LeBron “King” James. Now (or most recently) his team went to the NBA Finals and represented the Eastern Conference for the past three years. And just last year, his team beat the Golden State Warriors to win Cleveland’s first NBA Championship, ever. And now he’s demanding a trade? C’mon MAN!

Why is Kyrie’s situation different than any and all of the other players who jumped ship and skipped town and got out of Dodge to go to another team? Because THEY were free agents, and they didn’t have two years left on their contracts. That’s the difference.

Demanding children are a product of our times. The Bible says that children will, in the last days, “be disobedient to their parents, unthankful, and unholy.” And all of this absolutely applies to professional athletes who are like children. These adult jocks are offspring of the sports marriage of owners and fans; they are essentially professional sports children who play for their professional sports “parents,” aka professional teams.

That’s why it’s unconscionable for me to even wildly imagine or dare to dream that I would have “demanded” anything from my parents, Elmer and Lerotha. And if I did, I was wrong for doing so. That’s God’s playbook.

Children are to respect their parents.  Peroid. End of discussion. Unfortunately, too many children today are dishonoring and disrespecting their parents, at will. Now, instead of parents raising children, today we have children raising parents.  

The reward given to respectful, reverential children is a long and fruitful life. And this absolutely applies to sports children of sports teams.  When I grew up, they taught me that what goes around comes around. And I just believe that athletes today who “demand” trades aren’t being the respectful, respectable offspring that they should be.

 

Is It Time For Football Yet?

Houston Astros Sports_Illustrated 2017 Don’t get me wrong, but I like baseball. I do. I really do.  And I like watching the boys of summer. And I’m not trying to wish the summer away, but . . . is it time for football yet?  I mean, it’s July; it’s hot; the grass is dead; it’s July, (it bears repeating) and it just seems like we’re entering the dog days of summer with no end in sight. But alas, there’s hope. There is always hope.

Baseball is ruling the day because the basketball season is long over, hockey is a long forgotten memory, and it’s too hot for football. So what’s a sport’s fan to do? Watch the Houston Astros? Not!  

Don’t get me wrong, as the Astros are the hottest thing in baseball since peanuts and Cracker Jack.  Sports Illustrated is even picking these same Astros to be the 2017 World Series Champs.  Really! We’ll see. And if they do win, I’ll be kicking myself for not paying attention to them all summer long. 

(But Lord please bring us some football!)

So let’s be patient and enjoy the summer while we have it.  Patience is a virtue, and we shouldn’t complain about anything, even the fact that my Phillies stink. Yes, my Phillies stink and I don’t like the Washington Nationals, so I’m not watching baseball, at least for now.

So let’s be thankful for what we’ve got, and that’s baseball in the middle of the summer. Yes, that’s it! Let’s be thankful; sports wise, and otherwise too.

Don’t Play With The Game

Bend It Like Beckham

The game of life comes with rules and regulations, directions and instructions and do’s and don’ts. For instance, it’s just not a good idea to drink and drive. Hence the admonition, “Don’t Drink and Drive!” Then there’s the allowance for right turns on red. So that’s a good thing, right?

We’ll here’s one for everyone to follow as well: “Don’t play with the game.”

Life is nothing to play with. Since life is a game, and there are rules for games, then this is one of them. Life is too short, and tomorrow is not promised. Make the most of every moment, and don’t trifle with the sanctity of life. Living is hard enough, so breaking rules and making up your own policies is foolhardy, at best.

In the game of life there’s a game clock and half court and foul balls and penalties. Sometimes someone may commit a false start or run out of bounds or line up off-sides. Even though It happens, most times it shouldn’t. You’ll want and need to play within the rules, right?

But then again, the world has imposed some rules that need to be broken. Ours is to figure out which ones are hard and fast and which ones are flexible. For instance, what about these recent taboos:

The rule to marry within your culture?

The rule to follow the crowd?

The rule to put family first?

The rule to marry for money? (The rule actually says you should marry for love, right?)

Anyway, it takes discernment and discretion and wisdom and good judgment to play this game the right way. And since we all want to win, we should play to win. And playing to win means that you honor the guidelines and bylaws that have been time tested and proven.

So don’t play with the game. Don’t take it lightly or live it loosely. Play hard and play for keeps. And when necessary, bend it like Beckham.

Watch the film Bend It Like Beckham. You’ll see what I mean.

 

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/store/movies/bend-it-like-beckham/8d6kgwzl5wz0