Your Dreams Are Your Ticket Out

Kotter_Gabe Kaplan

TV Shows in the ‘70s were the best. And they had great theme songs. One of my favorites was the opening song for “Welcome Back Kotter.” This was a great, family friendly sit-com (they don’t make ‘em like they used to, right?) starring Gabe Kaplan as a wisecracking high school teacher in charge of a racially and ethnically diverse remedial class called the “Sweathogs.” The show also featured John Travolta in his television debut.

Welcome Back Kotter Group Pic

The show is all about redemption. Redemption for Kotter, redemption for his students, and redemption for the viewers as well. Kotter came back to his high school and gave back to the same kids and same place that he somehow succeeded from.

His comeback was a dream come true.

Your dreams are you ticket out. It’s a great song with great truth.  Dreams, for the most part, point to the future and forewarn or foretell of impending tragedy or imminent triumph.  Biblically, while most dreams are relegated to the OT, the prophet Joel does say that in the last days “old men shall dream dreams.”

Joseph, the son of Jacob, dreamed that his brothers and even his mother and father would bow down to him. And his brothers hated him for it. Because of his dreams, his brothers sold him down the river, and he ended up in Egypt. After being falsey accused he landed in jail. But as Providence would have it, he eventually interpreted Pharaoh’s dreams. As a reward for predicting the future, Joseph became second in command in Egypt and was in charge of storing up grain during the good times and distributing grain during the bad times.  Meanwhile, back home in Israel, Joseph sent his sons to Egypt to buy grain, from, who else — Joseph, and thus Joseph’s dreams became his ticket out.

And your dreams can become your ticket out. So what are you dreaming? What are you believing God for? What do you desire? What do you long for that seems like its light years away?

My Philadelphia Eagles are dreaming of a Super Bowl Win.  For the Philly faithful, winning the Super Bowl is more than a dream — it’s like heaven; it’s a real place, somewhere out there, over the rainbow. We know it exists but we just can’t get there right now.

But that can all change this year. With a little Wentz and with a lot of hard work, this can be the Eagles’ year.  And it can be your year too. So keep hope alive.  And keep hoping. Keep trusting. Keep believing.

And may all of your dreams come true.

Note to the Nats: Now, You Have To Win!

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Last night a young, little known, Washington Nationals outfielder took the plate in the eighth inning with the bases loaded. And guess what happened? You got it – Michael A. Taylor  hit a GRAND SLAM home run!  It’s only the first postseason grand slam in the Nat’s short history. The Nats were already winning 1-0, and the grand slam sealed the deal.

Before Taylor’s late inning heroics, National’s Ace Stephen Strasburg shook off an illness and pitched seven dominant innings, and held the Cubs scoreless as he beat Chicago in Chicago AT Wrigley Field to send their NL Division Series to a decisive Game 5 at Nationals Park tonight, October 12th, 2017.

And in Game 2,  entering the eighth, Washington trailed 3-1. But all hope was not lost. Enter Adam Lind. In his first career postseason game, Lind hit a single to rekindle hope. No outs. Trea Turner, who has struggled all series, again struck out in a big moment, but star and boy wonder Bryce Harper made the most of his, hitting a massive two-run shot to tie the game. Later in the inning, elder statesman Ryan Zimmerman had his hero moment: a three-run homer to put the Nationals up 6-3. And that would do it, as the Nationals held on to win, 6-3.

Now, all the Nats have to do is win Game 5 at home against the defending champion Chicago Cubs. That’s it. No problem, right?  The only problem is that the Nats have NEVER won a playoff series.  Never ever. And they’ve lost Game 5’s at home. But that could all change tonight.

The same goes for you and me too. Past failures and fumbles can all be washed away with one swing of the bat.  The setbacks we’ve suffered and meltdowns we’ve mustered and the lossess  and  let downs we’ve lived with can and will be forgiven and forgotten in a moment.

Because the turnaround can start today.

Stop Dancing With Your Demons: Aaron Rodgers Shows Us The Way

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Aaron Rodgers doesn’t think he can win, he knows he can win. And I dare say he knows he WILL WIN, especially late in the fourth quarter, with the game on the line against the Dallas Cowboys in Dallas.

Aaron Rodgers is 6-2 lifetime against the Dallas Cowboys.  But more importantly, he’s undefeated in late game heroics against the Boys in Big “D”. For the second time in nine months, the Cowboys scored 31 points against the Packers … and lost. And for the second time in less than a year, Aaron led a last-minute, last gasp, last chance, game winning drive, and led the Green Bay Packers to victory in fantastic fashion.

Rodgers ruined what could have been one of Dak Prescott’s best moments — a 17-play drive that covered 79 yards and lasted 8:43. Dallas led 31-28 with 1:13 left in the game after the last Dallas score. And Dallas was in complete control of the game at the start when Prescott threw three touchdown passes on the Cowboys’ first three drives.

But once again, Aaron Rodgers has buoyed us and begged us to turn our bogeys into birdies (How’s that for a mixed sports metaphor?) Once again, Aaron Rodgers has shown us that we can bounce back from our blunders and come back and perform wonders.

Yes Rodgers did it again.  And the lesson is clear: you can win with little or next to no time left on the clock. You can beat back the bastions you’re battling and the strongholds you’re struggling to defeat. You can.

So stop it; just stop it.

Stop dancing with your demons. Stop saying what you can’t do. Stop whining and start worshiping. Stop pouting and start praising. Stop complaining and start clapping your hands and leaping for joy.  Stop the mindless madness of missing miserably and start the anticipatory gladness that leads to triumphing gloriously. Just say it and believe and achieve it. Just do it. 

You can make, if you just believe.

All Things Are Possible; a.k.a., Tom Brady is 40!

Brady after loss to Chiefs

If you read my blog, https://godandsports.net/2017/09/07/can-anybody-beat-brady/ that question has now been asked and answered.  The Chiefs took the mantle as the AFC favorite from the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots by winning at Gillette Stadium 42-27 on Thursday night. The Chiefs accomplished the improbable by beating Brady and Bill Belichick  at their own game in their own back yard.

All things seem possible now for the Chiefs after their most impressive victory in four seasons with Andy Reid as their coach. Thursday night’s win came at the expense of the defending Super Bowl champions in FOXBORO! Meaning, the Chiefs pulled a big early season win on the road against the presumptive AFC favorite.

The Chiefs tried to downplay the significance of their victory.

“It’s a win,’’ quarterback Alex Smith said. “It’s a big win. But you’ve got to be able to handle it the right way. We’ve got to be resilient and turn our attention to next week. “You can’t forget that it’s one of 16. You’ve got to keep that same mentality, that same week-in, week-out, attention-to-detail mentality.’’

Now, The Chiefs are out of excuses if they don’t maintain inside position for the AFC’s Super Bowl berth. For a team that for several seasons has been on the cusp but not quite elite, that’s a decidedly comfortable place to be.

Smith outplayed Patriots counterpart Tom Brady in every way, throwing four touchdown passes, including a 75-yarder to Tyreek Hill in the third quarter and a 78-yarder to rookie running back Kareem Hunt early in the fourth. Smith was 28-of-35 for 368 yards and four touchdowns, without an interception. Brady was only 16-of-36 for 267 yards, without a TD or interception.

The Chiefs also got a big game from Hunt, who became only the third player since 1970 with 150 yards from scrimmage and three touchdowns in his NFL debut, joining Marshall Faulk (1994) and Billy Sims (1980). The Chiefs made the interesting decision to try to disrupt Brady with coverage rather than pressure. The Chiefs frequently dropped eight players into coverage and rushed Brady with three.

http://www.espn.com/blog/kansas-city-chiefs/post/_/id/22219/all-things-are-possible-for-the-chiefs-after-their-win-over-patriots

 

But it’s only one game, right?

Why the 2017 US Open is Worth the Watch

 Maria Sharapova First Round 2017 US Open

Maria Sharapova.  Period. End of discussion. She’s more than cute, she’s courageous. She’s a dodgy, dainty dame who can play the game of tennis like nobody’s business. Now, in front of the entire tennis world, she’s mounting a comeback after being out tennis for 15 months for doping. And if you love sports, you’ll love watching a true champion play poorly and yet still win successfully, even on a bad day (or night) at the Office.

Maria Sharapova defeated 18-year-old Sofia Kenin 7-5, 6-2 last night in the third round of the U.S. Open at Arthur Ashe Stadium, the Open’s version of center court. The victory wasn’t clean, but it was conclusive, and some points were a thrill to watch. 

But Sharapova has history and baggage (don’t we all?).  She’s trying to overcome negative, popular opinion and overtake her own prideful propensity to prove to the tennis world that she’s still got it; and so far, she indeed seems to be one of the best tennis players in the tournament.

 D’Arcy Maine of espnW.com may have said it best:

“I need to get something off my chest: I have never been a Maria Sharapova fan.

From her former (and in my mind, unjustified) status as the highest-paid female athlete in the world, to her icy demeanor and less-than-stellar rapport with her peers on tour, I’ve always felt she was overhyped. Despite frequent comparisons to, and a lopsided head-to-head record with, Serena Williams, she’s nowhere near that level.

And when she got suspended in 2016 for doping, it only fueled my disdain. On top of everything else, she was using banned substances, too?

As you might imagine, I wasn’t exactly rooting for her to come back. She returned in the spring to much fanfare, but excitement quickly faded as she failed to receive a wild card to the French Open and was hampered by injuries for the rest of the summer. I didn’t feel sorry for her, and, frankly, I didn’t miss her.

Then, on Monday night, Sharapova made her post-suspension Grand Slam debut after receiving a wild card to the US Open. Playing in front of a packed and animated crowd at Arthur Ashe Stadium on opening day, the unseeded Sharapova faced No. 2 Simona Halep. As the match began, I was rooting firmly for Halep.

But then a funny thing happened.

Sharapova impressively won the first set, and I found myself admiring her play and her gutsy resolve against one of the best in the game.

Halep came back to win the second set. But there was something about Sharapova’s tenacity, and all the emotions visibly strewn across her face, that was compelling. It looked like a different Sharapova than we had seen before. While her skill set has always been revered, for the first time, she was showing us just how much she wanted to be there.

When she finally closed out the match after an exhausting 2 hours and 44 minutes, she fell to her knees and cried. I couldn’t believe it. Was this the same Maria Sharapova, who was allowing all of her emotions to show as she fought for a win?

It may have just been a first-round match, but it looked like she just won the title. It was (gasp) … sort of inspiring.

As she took her seat on the sideline, she couldn’t control herself and held her head in her hands and sobbed. Meanwhile, I was thinking to myself, “Damn it, Maria! Don’t make me root for you!” But it was too late. I had been pulling for her for at least an hour without even realizing it.

‘I just thought this was another day, another opportunity, another match,’ she told ESPN’s Tom Rinaldi after the victory. ‘But this was so much more. You can’t control your emotions. Everything you go through is worth it just for this moment.’

As tennis fans, perhaps we needed to see and hear that from her. For once, she acknowledged her own feelings, and more importantly, her vulnerability. It was humanizing, and maybe even relatable. (Until, that is, she talked about the Swarovski crystals on her dress, but I’m going to let that slide this time.)

The reality is, it’s the human emotion, triumph of spirit and fragility of it all that makes sports so great in the first place. We need our athletes to want it as badly as we do from our seat on the couch. While Serena Williams makes cheering for her easy because she seems to live and breathe with every contested point, Sharapova’s previously cold disposition sometimes made it difficult to connect with her. Monday perhaps finally revealed the truth — she does care and isn’t afraid to let everyone know. And that makes her infinitely more likable.

Not only is Sharapova’s story one of redemption and determination — two things I’m always a sucker for — but it also makes this tournament a heck of a lot more fun. With the absence of Williams and the early elimination of Halep and defending champion Angelique Kerber (not to mention everyone else who’s out on the men’s side), the US Open is somewhat lacking in its usual drama and star power.

But with Sharapova, we have someone to get behind — or, for those who still haven’t come over to the dark side, against. Either way, we’ll be watching.”

 http://www.espn.com/espnw/voices/article/20501359/never-liked-maria-sharapova-rooting-the-us-open?addata=espn:tennis:index

Coach Jimmy V

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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

Warriors Win!

The Golden State Warriors are just better. 

They’re better than the Cavaliers by a country mile. Yes the Dubs have Durant, but that’s not their fault.  Truth be told, the only reason this series wasn’t over in four games was that unbelievable, super human, Herculean effort in Game 4  by the Cavs which they will NEVER be able to duplicate.

On the other hand, the Warriors can turn it on at will, and they wanted to win at home instead of on the road. Nuff said.

So congratulations to the Golden State Warriors, the 2017 NBA Chdmpions.  And congrats to Kevin Durant, the Finals MVP.  He got his well deserved ring, and I for one am glad he did.