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

Philly Has The No. 1 Pick!

76ers Logo

Da Sixas, a.k.a., the Philadelphia Seventy Sixers (if you’re not from Philly), have the No. 1 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft.  Look out Warriors!  That’s right — NBA Finals, here we come!  (in a few years, or so, give or take).  Anyway, Philly snatched the No. 1 pick from Boston, that’s right BOSTON — that hated rival up nawth — and now we’re on our way. Whoever said your enemies are good for nothing didn’t realize that your enemies are actually good for somethin’.

Anyway, while it’s distasteful and disdainful to celebrate prematurely, in sports that is, in this case we’re going to make an exception. Because spiritually speaking, you never wait till the battle is over when in the end you know that you’re going to win.

Now, the Sixers will have “Trust the Process” Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, Jahlil Okafor AND potentially Markelle Fultz on the same squad!? Seriously? And they’re all young and hungry?

Drop the mike!

So, if and when the Sixers win an NBA Title with this roster, it will be one of the greatest turnarounds in sports history. So, when and if that happens, I’ll need all of you to hit me up and say that you heard it here, and you heard if first at Godandsports.net.

Go Sixas!

 

 

Refuse To Lose

Kyrie Irving NBA Finals

Game Four of the 2017 NBA Finals could have been the highest high and one of the lowest lows for each team.  For the Cavs, they could have been swept right out of the Finals on their home floor.  Ouch.

On the other hand, for the Dubs, aka the Golden State Warriors, they could have won their 16th straight playoff game and gone undefeated in these playoffs. They could have run out of Quicken Loans Arena and soared out of Cleveland and galloped off into the sunset as the best playoff team ever. I said could have, aka shoulda, woulda, coulda.

Instead, Kyrie Irving and the Cleveland Cavaliers mustered more than enough mettle and played like a pack of rabid, wild wolves protecting their young in order to avoid being swept out of the Finals.

Instead, the Cavaliers played with the resiliency of POW’s breaking out of solitary confinement and overtaking their evil captors en route to saving a town full of forlorn fair maidens.

Instead, the Cavaliers didn’t just stave off elimination; they made a collective statement by scoring the most points in a quarter and in a half in NBA Finals history. Wow. Who saw that coming?

So what happened?

I’ll tell you what happened; Kyrie Irving and Lebron James told their teammates that they absolutely refused to lose to Golden State on their home floor and they absolutely refused to be swept into insignificance. The Cavaliers refused to lay down and roll over, as they put on an impressive performance that has become one of the highest points of their not yet over season.

Kyrie Irving played with disciplined reckless abandon that was infectious and contagious. Now, it’s the Golden State Warriors who have to come out and prove that they are worthy of winning a championship. So where was this high wire, high scoring, center ring, almost circus act during the first three games?

Fear is a fierce motivator. Fear of failure leads to fight or flight. And last night, those Cavaliers put up a fight second to none. They got out to a big lead and anytime the Warriors even tried to get close, Kyrie and LeBron took out the hammer and lowered the boom.

The question is, can the Cavs play like this again in this series? The odds say no, but then again, the way they played last night, the Warriors better be wary of letting these rabid wolves come back from the brink and giving them an outside chance of doing the impossible.

John Wall: Force A Game 7  

John Wall (2)John Wall and the Washington Wizards forced a Game 7 in the 2017 NBA Eastern Conference Semifinals against the No. 1 Seed Boston Celtics.  This DC dandy is a fan favorite, and he reconfirmed his star status when he hit a three pointer with 3.5 seconds left on the clock. With this heroic effort, Wall and the Wiz are going back to Boston to decide the matter, once and for all.

Johnathan Hildred Wall Jr. was a NBA No. 1 draft pick in 2010, so he has a lot to live up to. This playoff year, with his team and his city on the ropes, Wall won with the weight the Washington sports world on his shoulders. And I’m happy for him.

Life is won and lost in distinct, decisive moments.  And Game 7 is one of those moments. Game 7 is when you find out what you’re made of. Game 7 is when stars are born and when memories are made.  For these reasons and many more, any and all sports fans worth their salt would pay a king’s ransom to be present at a Game 7 (at home, of course).

Life is not won or lost in abstraction. It’s won or lost under the microscope of the big stage. And to get to the big stage of Game 7, we all must win the majority of the 50/50 balls and most of questionable calls along the way.  

So when life pushes you to the brink and to the edge, push back.  Like Mandisa said, sometimes you have to “speak when you don’t have the floor and you have to go when you’re not invited.”  Boston could have/(should have?) won Game 6 on the road, but Wall and the Wiz had other plans. The same should go for you and me too. When life and living and circumstances and situations say that you should be over and done with, roundly object.

Force Game 7.

The NBA, aka “Not For Boys” Playoffs: 2017 Edition

isaiah-thomas-celtics

The NBA now means “No Boys Allowed.”  It’s time for the NBA playoffs and it’s time to put up or shut up. It’s time for the strong to prove the doubters wrong, and for the winners not to quit and for quitters not to win.

If you want to play with the big boys you can’t be a little lad.  Come strong or go home. The NBA is a man’s game.  And this year, in this man’s game, the No. 1 seed Boston Celtics lost the first two games of their series to the upstart Chicago Bulls, AT HOME. And in case you missed the score sheet, Da Bulls are the 8th seed, and they barely made the playoffs. But please keep in mind that the leader of the Celtics, Isaiah Thomas, lost his sister just prior to Game 1, so his heart and his head weren’t necessarily in the same place.

 Chicago beat Boston with a patch-work quilt, taped together, spliced and diced team full of old heads and young thugs. It’s not the 90’s Bulls team anymore; so no more Michael Jordan, no more Scottie Pippen, and most recently, no more Derrick Rose. But this just in: Boston came back and beat Chicago IN Chicago; Games 3 and 4 went to the visitors so now we have a tied series; and now it’s a best of three affair.  And since Rajon Rondo is hurt, it looks like it’s over for D Wade (and his Bulls), who made a go of it in Chi-Town. Wade’s new team isn’t quite ready for playoff prime time, at least not beyond shocking Boston in Boston.

Sports are like life and life is like sports. And the regular season and the playoffs are just like life.  The regular season requires playing with consistency and playing well consistently. And that is necessary and good. But the playoffs is another level.  Yes, the regular season of our lives requires us to be constantly consistent. But that’s not enough if you want to be a champion. Champions win in the playoffs, and the playoffs require everything the regular season demands, and some.

The playoffs demand grit and guts and moxie and chutzpah and determination and fortitude.  The playoffs are the high points of our lives. And the high peaks and lofty goals we strive to reach mandate that we give a little more and take a lot less in order to reach the top. 

If Boston beats Chicago in this first round series, Isaiah Thomas and the Celtics will have passed a significant test on their way to the summit. They may not make it to the finals or the championship this year, but at least they will have proven to us, and to themselves, that they are deserving to be a No. 1 Seed in this “no boys allowed” game.

 As for the rest of the 2017 Playoffs, my money’s still on the Warriors, because Durant deserves a dynasty of rings, or at least just one.

Why Didn’t You Watch The 2017 Masters? (It’s A Golf Tournament)

garcia-win

I watch the Masters every year. Well, at least some of it, every year; it’s a tradition for me. So many lessons can be drawn from the game of golf in general, and from the Masters Golf Tournament in specific, that time would fail to detail them all here, but here are a few tidbits.

First, golf is like life and life is like golf. In this tournament and many others like it, you play the same 18 holes each day four days in a row. It sounds monotonous because it is. Life is a combination of proper, principled, daily practices; taken apart or put together they all can be just as monotonous too, but it’s the consistency of living well day in and day out that wins the day.

Second, in golf, the lowest score wins; i.e., you try to make the fewest mistakes and make the most aggressive moves without landing in the rough or plunking into the water. I can certainly relate to that.

Third, in life, you try to live with consistency and accuracy. There are times to drive long and hard, and there are other times to walk lightly and speak softly. Try as I may, when I play golf I try to hit that little white ball really hard and send it very far. But then other times I need not try so hard or to go so far. The tee shot requires you to drive the ball a long way. Conversely, the closer you get to the green and the cup, you need to slow your roll and putt that same little white ball very softly and very slowly into the hole.

I love golf and I love the Masters even more. I can’t play worth I lick, but when I get out on the green and actually drive the ball in the direction I intended it to go, I’m like a kid in a candy shop.

Charlie Hoffman and Sergio Garcia were at the top of the leader board and led the tournament and both looked as if they had the victory in the bag. But not so fast; Hoffman found the water on Saturday afternoon and sunk out of sight. Garcia led at the end of the day yesterday, but today he bogeyed on 10 AND 11 and fell out of a tie for first.

In golf it’s you vs. the field. The field is the competition around you and the grassy greens beneath you that stand between you and the victor’s cup. You have no backup to call in; you can’t call time out or take a break; and you can’t take plays off and it not come back to bite you in the butt. It’s all on you, and all eyes are on you. It’s takes mental toughness and physical acumen and a boatload of gumption and determination too.

Yes you have the roar of the crowd when life is a banquet and you birdie, but you also get the silent treatment when you bumble and bogey. That’s why I love golf. You have to learn how to navigate the ups and the downs, the ins and the outs, the highs and the lows, and the sometimes messy, and other times merry stuff in between.

This year’s Masters Golf Tournament was so thrilling, so riveting, and so captivating that I even got my wife to watch. How’s that for a happy marriage!?

And what about the happy outcome:

Sergio Garcia did it! After trying and striving for years, Sergio won in a playoff against his longtime friend Justin Rose. It was one of the best Masters finishes ever, going into OT; yes, it took extra innings for Sergio, the fan favorite this year, to win his first major at his 74th attempt. The joyful and gleeful golfer became the third Spaniard to win the Masters on what would have been his idol, Seve Ballesteros’, 60th birthday.

Gargia Wins Masters

Congrats Sergio!

Patrick Ewing Returns Home, Because Home Is Where The Heart Is

Patrick Ewing

I’m happy for Patrick Ewing. I am. And I’m hopeful for Georgetown and the entire Hoya Nation. I really, really am. And I really hope this works. He’s going home, where he spent four wonderful, magical, fun-filled years playing for John Thompson, Jr. where together they built the Georgetown Men’s Basketball into a national powerhouse using the Big East Conference as a stage.

I’m happy for Patrick because, in this life, you have to pull for someone other than yourself. You have to be selfless and not selfish and cheer and scream and shout and hail for someone outside of your personal space to succeed. So. for the next year or so, I’m going to root and rally and whoop and holler for G’Town to win, except when they play Maryland, of course.

So here’s what the Gene Wang of the Washington Post had to say about Georgetown’s favorite son coming home:

“Ewing’s hire underscores Georgetown’s relationship with the Thompson. Ewing was Thompson Jr.’s first major recruit, and they won the 1984 national championship and made three Final Four appearances in four seasons.

Ewing and Thompson

‘My four years at Georgetown were the best of my life,’ Ewing said in a statement. ‘Georgetown is my home, and it is a great honor for me to return to my alma mater and serve as the next head coach.’

Ewing graduated from Georgetown in 1985 after being named consensus first-team all-American for three straight years, beginning when he was a sophomore. He is second at Georgetown in career points and first in career rebounds, blocks and games played. Ewing is one of four players in school history with 2,000 career points.

The New York Knicks selected Ewing with the No. 1 overall pick in the 1985 NBA draft. He went on to win NBA rookie of the year and was an 11-time All-Star during a career spanning 17 seasons. He was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 2008.

Ewing has no previous head coaching experience but did serve lengthy stints as an assistant with the Houston Rockets under former coach Jeff Van Gundy and the Orlando Magic under Coach Stan Van Gundy. Ewing joined Hornets Coach Steve Clifford’s staff in 2013.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/sports/wp/2017/04/03/georgetown-university-hires-star-alumnus-patrick-ewing-to-replace-john-thompson-iii-as-mens-basketball-coach/?utm_term=.72224541506c#comments