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.

How To Bounce Off Of The Bench and Hit a Grand Slam (To Win A Playoff Game)

miguel-montero

How ‘bout ‘dem Cubs!

Up 3-1 in the 7th, the Cubs gave up the lead and, voila, the game was tied. So to the ninth inning and probably extra innings we go, right? Not with the third string catcher pinch hitting, we don’t. That’s right — the Cubs THIRD string catcher came in from off of the bench with bases loaded and 2 outs, and the count quickly ran to 0-2. But then, on the very next pitch, lightning struck.

When Miguel Montero stepped to the plate in the eighth inning of Game 1 of the NLCS to face Dodgers reliever Joe Blanton with two outs and the bases loaded, I’m guessing even the most optimistic of Cubs fans didn’t expect to see a grand slam.

Montero is a two-time All-Star with 120 career home runs, but he had struggled during the regular season, hitting .216 with just eight home runs in 241 at-bats. When Blanton ran the count to 0-2, it seemed we’d be headed to the ninth inning with a tie game and Cubs closer Aroldis Chapman out of the game. The hero of Game 1 gave Cubs fans everywhere hope and a view through a periscope towards a favorable near future.

Ironically, he was about as low as you can go for a major league baseball player, but Chicago Cubs catcher Miguel Montero’s struggles never got him down to the point of mailing it in. Instead, he kept his head up and his attitude as positive as he could — and he waited for his moment.

That moment came in a big way Saturday night, as Montero became the third player ever to hit a postseason, pinch-hit grand slam, and he propelled the Cubs to an 8-4 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 1 of the National League Championship Series. It was an instant classic featuring more managerial second-guessing than a regular season’s worth.

“I’m not going to do any good to anybody being a cancer and being upset about it and being a cry baby,” Montero said of losing playing time. “I’m not going to be a cry baby. I’m going to keep my head up, and whenever they give me a chance, I’m going to take advantage of it.”  And take advantage of it he did. Montero hit a 0-2 slider — the third one he saw in the short at-bat — out to right field off Dodgers reliever Joe Blanton and sent the crowd of 42,376 into hysteria. 

“Obviously, as a kid, you always dream of the situations,” Montero said. “And that’s what you live for. It’s easy to hit a grand slam in the first inning when nobody is actually screaming at it, and this one is a lot more special because it’s in front of this special crowd that we have, and you’re always looking for that.” (Jesse Rogers, ESPN Staff Writer)

montero

I love this part about Montero: he did not complain, mumble or grumble. Instead, “he kept his head up and his attitude as positive as he could — and he waited for his moment.”

And that’s what I’m going to do too.

I’ll Take An Arnold Palmer

1974-arnold-palmer-signed-golf-world-magazine-cover-3

The combination of iced tea and lemonade is known as an “Arnold Palmer.” It’s a tasty blend of sweet and sour and soft and sharp and tart and tangy. And many who don’t like one or the other will like them both combined. It’s like having the best of both. 

“Think about it,” one sports writer said. “You don’t order a ‘Tiger Woods’ or a ‘Jack Nicklaus’ at the bar. You can go up there and order an ‘Arnold Palmer’ in this country — and every waiter and waitress know what the drink is. That’s being in a league of your own.”

Palmer was born Sept. 10, 1929, in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, the oldest of four children. His father, Deacon, became the greenskeeper at Latrobe Country Club in 1921 and the club pro in 1933.

Palmer joined the PGA Tour in 1955 and won the Canadian Open for the first of his 62 titles. He went on to win four green jackets at Augusta National, along with the British Open in 1961 and 1962 and the U.S. Open in 1960, perhaps the most memorable of his seven majors because it defined his style. You could never count him out.

.Arnold Palmer charged across the golf course and into America’s living rooms with a go-for-broke style that made a country club sport popular for the everyman. At ease with presidents and the public, he was on a first-name basis with both.  Palmer died Sunday in Pittsburgh. He was 87.

President Barack Obama tweeted about Palmer’s death, saying: “Here’s to The King who was as extraordinary on the links as he was generous to others. Thanks for the memories, Arnold.”

Palmer ranked among the most important figures in golf history, and it went well beyond his seven major championships and 62 PGA Tour wins. His good looks, devilish grin and hard-charging style of play made the elite sport appealing to one and all. And it helped that he arrived about the same time as television moved into most households, a perfect fit that sent golf to unprecedented popularity.

“And that’s why he’s the king.” On the golf course, Palmer was an icon not for how often he won, but the way he did it. Palmer never liked being referred to as “The King,” but the name stuck.

Palmer went head to head with Nicklaus two years later in a U.S. Open, the start of one of golf’s most famous rivalries. It was one-sided. Nicklaus went on to win 18 majors and was regarded as golf’s greatest champion. Palmer won two more majors after that loss, and his last PGA Tour win came in 1973 at the Bob Hope Classic.

 Golf writer Tom Callahan once described the difference between Nicklaus and Palmer this way:

It’s as though God said to Nicklaus, “You will have skills like no other,” then whispered to Palmer, “But they will love you more.”

“I’m not interested in being a hero,” Palmer said, implying that too much was made about his return from cancer. “I just want to play some golf.”  https://www.yahoo.com/news/arnold-palmer-dies-87-made-golf-popular-masses-012931638–spt.html 

And if we compare the game of golf to living life, then we all should just want to live a good one.

“Keepers of the Game” – Sports and Spirituality Go Hand in Hand

Keepers of the Game
Sports and movie fans, I found another one that’s a must see. Here’s what Andy Webster of the New York Times had to say about it:

“If you’ve cheered on a daughter at a high school sporting event, you’ll identify with Judd Ehrlich’s exhilarating documentary “Keepers of the Game.” If you’ve lived in a small town, as do the resilient athletes in this movie, you’ll probably connect even more. And if you are a fan of lacrosse, a game originated by Native Americans, you may relate most of all.

Keepers of the Game’ is about the Salmon River Shamrocks, a girls’ varsity lacrosse team near Akwesasne Mohawk Territory, in Canada and upstate New York, during their 2015 season. The pressures aren’t just on the field. There is the historical oppression of the American Indian, a fact never lost on the players. Boys call a local radio station to express doubts about the suitability of girls for lacrosse. Tsieboo Herne, a high school senior and the team captain, first embraced the game to fight depression.

The ninth-grade goalie Marcella Thomas, who lives on a reservation with her mother and who once found her father’s dead body after a horseback-riding accident, grapples with self-doubt. And there are the Shamrocks’ regional rivals, the Massena Central Red Raiders, whom they face in a climactic championship.

There are heroic adults here, including Hawi Thomas, Marcella’s patient mother, and Elisha King, a firm, nurturing coach. There is also deft editing, artful camerawork and effective music in abundance; Mr. Ehrlich (“Magic Camp”), an Emmy-winning documentarian, clearly knows his craft.

I won’t say how this movie ends. But the film is about much more than the game.”

Moral Character Wins

andre-agassi

Guest Blog From Verne Harnish, EO Barcelona member and founding partner of Gazelles, Inc.

Companies that build teams with strong moral character win. Their teams are happier, perform better and are more successful overall.

This bold claim stems from the work of Jim Loehr, renowned performance psychologist and author of the book The Only Way to Win. Loehr´s research, which in part is based on his experience taking 16 world-class athletes to number one in their sport and working with thousands of “corporate athletes,”  shows that the satisfaction we get from achieving extrinsic accomplishments (number one in tennis, a new job, winning a deal, building a company) is mostly shallow and fleeting.

Instead, what gives us a long lasting feeling of fulfillment and happiness is having practiced integrity, generosity, gratefulness, humility, optimism, and compassion in the pursuit of these goals. CEOs with the mindset of a “servant leader” are in a unique position to support the development of these strengths.

 

CHARACTER STRENGTHS WIN IN SPORTS

Loehr recently founded a junior tennis academy at his Human Performance Institute. On their first day, the students hear: “We care about your tennis but care more about who you become because of tennis. Our most important imperative at this academy is winning with character.”

Working from a list of moral strengths, the students are required to journal about lessons learned that day, on and off the court. Not surprisingly, this has helped their performance. All 15 students going through the program are currently nationally ranked.

 

… AND IN BUSINESS

What Loehr has learned works in business, as well. After the tragic loss of his wife, Jay Steinfeld, founder and CEO of Blinds.com, reached a turning point.  “My future really began to take shape only when I began to define my success as being in the act of continuous improvement and improving the lives of others around me,” he recalls.

Realizing, as he put it, that he was “an overly burdensome micromanager, always finding fault in others,” he concentrated on identifying and recognizing the successes of his team. As he became more empathetic, his team relaxed—and performed better. To help his employees to stick with their own self-improvement goals, he put up a white board where individuals could share such commitments

As the company has grown increasingly successful—it is now the world’s largest online retailer for window blinds and shades, with $120 million in annual revenue and 180 employees—Steinfeld has tried to help his team stay true to its humble beginnings. He personally brings new recruits to a run-down alleyway in Houston where the thriving company had its first office back in 1996. There, he shares the history and core values of the company. He even built a reproduction of the alleyway at the company’s new offices.

“This way, we keep our humble history fresh in our minds and it also reinforces our core value ´Help People Achieve What They Never Thought They Could,’ ” he explains.

 

ANDRE AGASSI’S DAILY JOURNEY

Andre Agassi shares in his memoirs how writing down his goals every morning and how he wants to achieve them that day helped him gain that “steely resolve” that brought him back to the #1 spot in world tennis. “After putting them on paper, saying them out a loud, I also say aloud: `No shortcuts.’”

As Loehr emphasizes, Agassi’s reinvention of himself—from an obnoxious player who became number one but hated his fame and wealth and at one point battled drug addiction—to “the compassionate, generous, thoughtful and humble person he is today,” as Loehr puts it, shows how moral character development ultimately supports performance. When he focused on improving himself, he came back as number one and was happier.

As a servant leader, consider how you might use your company as a vehicle for building your own character strengths and those of your team. The results will likely astound you.

 

Read more: http://blog.eonetwork.org/2013/10/moral-character-wins/#ixzz3JwaFqVP2

Los Angeles vs New York: Here We Go Again

Guest Blog From Writers and HuntersLA-vs-NY

Palm Trees and Smog or Concrete Jungle and Skyscrapers?

Freeways and Uber or Subways and Taxis?

“Fa sho” or “Fughgeddaboudit”?

In N’ Out or Shake Shack?

Runyon Canyon or Central Park?

Lakers or Knicks?

Hollywood or Wall Street?

Throughout the years, there have been countless comparisons and battles about which city is better between New York and Los Angeles.  And thanks to an overtime win in Chicago last night, the Los Angeles Kings hockey team guaranteed that we will have yet another battle between New York and LA as the Kings and New York Rangers will battle for the Stanley Cup starting this Wednesday, June 4th.

It’s very odd to be discussing hockey in June, let alone talking about hockey here in LA.  However, over the past 3 years no team has been quite as dominant as the Los Angeles Kings.  They won the title in 2012 and are back in the finals for the 2nd time in 3 years.  Over that span they’ve played more playoff hockey games than any other team in the league.

The team that will try to take the Kings down hails from NYC and is considered the underdog but if you ask anyone who either is from NY or lives in the state, they will emphatically let you know that New York is ALWAYS the favorite no matter what.  The New York Rangers are making their first appearance in the Stanley Cup Finals in 20 years, also the last time they won a championship.

The NHL is commissioner and sponsors have to be smiling right now because the two biggest markets in the country are the hosts for their season finale.  Although hockey is not a premier sport like Football and Basketball, the names LA and NY are going to draw extra eyes.

As a sports fan, I’m excited about this matchup and as a resident of Los Angeles, I’m even more intrigued.  The Kings didn’t make it easy on their fans as they blew a 3-1 series lead and had to come from behind and win in overtime on the road but hey, they won.  And that’s all that matters.

These teams will be competing with LeBron and the Spurs for airtime popularity but thanks to scheduling, they won’t compete on the same night.  And that means we can give them all the attention they deserve.  If you haven’t seen a hockey game before, now is the time to tune in.  The action and intensity is a sight to see and if you have a rooting interest, you’ll be on the edge of your seat throughout.

So with that being said, you have about 2 days to research the teams and learn all of the names that are to spell let alone pronounce and get yourself ready for what’s sure to be an exciting championship.

It’s LA vs NY.  Beaches and Beverly Hills vs Skyscrapers and Manhattan.

LA people thing New Yorker’s are angry and move too fast for no reason.

New Yorker’s believe people in LA are lazy, spoiled and not in the real world.

Both are true if you ask me.

But ask me who will win the series and I’ll tell you this, there’s no place like NY.  You should visit.  But if you want to live somewhere, you can’t beat LA.  And neither will the Rangers.

Go Kings Go!

(LA Kings in 7)

LA Kings 485x300 Los Angeles vs New York:  Here we go again.

 

 

http://writersandhunters.com/2014/06/02/los-angeles-vs-new-york-go/#more-6117

A Brief Theology of Sport

A Brief Theology of Sport

Many Thanks to Joe Conner for recommending this Book.

“Sport is extremely popular. This ground-breaking book explains why. It shows that sport has everything to do with our deepest identity. Sport is where we resonate with the most-basic nature of reality.

A Brief Theology of Sport sweeps across the fields of church history, philosophy and Christian doctrine to draw the reader into a creative vision of sport. The book begins with an examination of how the Church has approached sport in the past, before turning to consider sport on the basis of the divine act of creation. In doing so, Harvey is able to distinguish sport from all other human activities, identifying it as a set-aside sphere in which the unnecessary-but-meaningful nature of life is celebrated.

This constructive proposal is used to shed light on a wide range of issues in sport, including the role of competition, professionalization and celebrity culture today. As such, A Brief Theology of Sport constitutes a significant contribution to our understanding of the value of sport in human life. No one who reads this book will look at sport in the same way again.”  (from http://www.scmpress.co.uk/books/9780334044185/A-Brief-Theology-of-Sport)

 

Product Reviews

“Lincoln Harvey has managed to do something quite remarkable here: this book is at once historical and constructive; academic and accessible; detailed and concise; systematic and practical. It is good to see serious work done on theology and sport, and this book is a fine example of what serious theology about contemporary issues should look like.” — Tom Greggs, Professor of Historical and Doctrinal Theology, Aberdeen University, UK

“With lively prose, conceptual clarity and a deep affection for the subject matter, Harvey kicks off an important conversation about how theologically we should make sense of – and order our love in relation to – a central cultural phenomenon of our times: sport. Wonderfully insightful, historically rich and theologically punchy this is vital reading for anyone who plays, watches or is utterly bemused by the world of sport.” — Luke Bretherton, Associate Professor of Theological Ethics and Senior Fellow at the Kenan Institute for Ethics, Duke University, USA

“Sport, says Lincoln Harvey, is only for sport. But A Brief Theology of Sport is about much more than sport…. In winsome fashion it advances a conversation that is much needed and a thesis that deserves a response.” — Douglas Farrow, Professor of Christian Thought and Kennedy Smith Chair in Catholic Studies McGill University, CA

“Lincoln Harvey is a soccer fan, and one of the most besotted sort, a supporter of Arsenal. What as a Christian should he make of the hours spent absorbed in an activity that does nothing but itself? I give away only a hint of his profound proposal by citing a chapter title: “A Liturgical Celebration of Contingency”. This is high flying theology that manages to be a good read – not a common achievement.’ — Robert W. Jenson, Professor Emeritus of Religion, St. Olaf College, Minnesota, USA

“This is a brilliant book. Brief but profound, brimming full of ideas and intriguing insights, it achieves something rare and yet deeply satisfying for those of us who love both God and sport – relating them to each other in a way that does proper justice to both.” — Graham Tomlin, St Mellitus College, London

“This important book provides an accessible and yet theologically rigorous account of how Christians should think about, and more importantly, ‘play’, sports. Dr Harvey is to be commended for the way in which he has meticulously examined the nature of modern sports through an interdisciplinary lens (mainly theological), offering insights into the nature of sport, play and competition and the complex history of the sport-faith symbiosis. The systematic reflections on why we play, watch, and just ‘love’ sport through reflection on key Christian doctrines, is arguably, the most significant and original contribution of this book that sits within an embryonic but fast-emerging literature that has long been in need of a theologian’s ‘heart’, ‘mind’ and pen. As an Arsenal football fanatic and theologian, the author passionately lives in his story and analysis of the sport-faith relationship, and thus, this volume connects to those well beyond the academy, while being an invaluable source for those in the academy.”  — Nick J. Watson, York St John University, UK

 “This is an impressive contribution, required reading for anyone interested in thinking deeply about the place and meaning of sport in the Christian life.” Shirl James Hoffman, author of Good Game: Christianity and the Culture of Sport