Is Anybody Watching The 2018 Winter Olympics?

Let’s take a unscientific poll: thumbs up for yes and thumbs down for no.

As for me, I’m not. Well, at least not yet. I want to watch and I plan on watching, but I just haven’t gotten around to it yet. For starters, I’m from Philly, and as a native Philadelphian, I’m still celebrating the Eagles’ Super Bowl win over the Patriots. And rightfully so, since this victory has been a long time in coming. So that’s my excuse. What’s yours?

Let me guess. First, you’re not interested. The 24 hour news cycle is so full of White House scandal and North Korean bramble that you just can’t keep up. That’s understandable. Second, most of the Country (the US that is) has been hammered by storms of some kind. Most of the Midwest and the Northeast have been hampered by winter weather, so people in cold weather watching other people in cold weather isn’t quite such a winter delight. And third, you just haven’t gotten around to it yet. That’s OK. You can use my excuse, as long as you’re happy for my Super Bowl Champion Philadelphia Eagles. Fly Eagles Fly!

So it’s Sunday. And, hopefully you’ve worshiped God in some form or fashion today. Now that you’ve put God first, let’s support our mother countries and the athletes that represent us. It’s the essence of teamwork and my favorite theme, Team, Team, Team!

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What’s Wrong With The Cleveland Cavaliers?

LeBron James is not happy.

When the Cleveland Cavaliers acquired Isaiah Thomas, aka “I.T.”, from the Boston Celtics in the 2017 offseason, they knew it was going to be a while before the crafty ball-handler was well enough to play, as he was still recovering from a hip injury.

After enduring seven months of rehabilitation, Thomas made his Cavs debut on Jan. 2 in a 127-110 win over the Portland Trail Blazers, scoring 17 points in just 19 minutes of playing time. He’s had some good and bad games since then. In fact, the former Washington Huskies stand-out has been the Cavs’ leading scorer in each of their last two games. However, according to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, the team is growing a bit wary of Thomas, and for good reason.

The chemistry between LeBron and I.T. just isn’t there, and the Cavs have appeared to be disheveled and disinterested in recent loses.

So what’s the problem? More importantly, what’s the solution? But first things first. In sports and in life, we all know that you can’t fix something until you know why it’s broken.

Will the Cavs trade Thomas? Maybe. Or LeBron? Not likely, especially since he has a no trade clause in his contract. Oh well. The circus in Cleveland may well leave the door open for Boston to win the East. Maybe.

The Philadelphia Eagles Overcome Everything!

Nick Foles Lombardi TrophyThe Philadelphia Eagles overcame everything that was thrown their way in route to winning Super Bowl LII in a wire to wire thriller.  They overcame injuries and insults and insolence and indifference.  They overcame being underdogs and afterthoughts and from being dead last in the NFC East a season ago to coming back from way back to shock the NFL World in 2018 on Super Bowl Sunday Night.

No one, and I mean NO ONE, picked my Eagles to defeat the evil empire New England Patriots (except maybe Randy Moss). But every other so-called “expert” in the field of professional sports picked the Pats to win in a laugher.  But they were wrong.

The Eagles lost their star quarterback Carson Wentz and their vitally important All Pro Offensive left tackle Jason Peters (remember “The Blind Side?”) and their defensive leader Michael Kendricks along the way.  They finished dead last in the NFC East last year (did I say that already?) and were picked to do the same this year.  But that was then and this is now.

There are so many redemptive stories on this Eagles Championship team. But the story of Nick Foles takes the cake.  Nick Foles emerged from the shadows and proved the doubters wrong as he played better than even he may have expected in the playoffs to give Philly their first Super Bowl win, ever. And how sweet it is! 

Here’s what the New York Times had to say about Nick Foles winning Super Bowl MVP honors:

“Three weeks ago the thought of Foles being named the most valuable player of Super Bowl LII would have seemed ludicrous, but after watching the Philadelphia Eagles’ quarterback crush the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC Championship Game, and then essentially match that performance against the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl, the choice seemed obvious.” Amen to that.

Nick Foles taught us how to endure and persevere and hang on in there. Yes Nick made a difference, but his teammates believed in him and in the power of “TEAM” as well.  For everyone out there who’s thinking about quitting (Nick Foles did) or giving up or listening to what everyone else is saying, hold on just one minute. The motto for the Eagles this postseason was this; “one can make a difference, but a team can make a miracle.”  And that’s it; that’s the answer.

The Eagles had a miracle season and a miracle Super Bowl and got miraculous plays from players who believe in miracles. At the end of the game, when they needed one defensive stop — just one — they got it, just when they needed it most. The Eagles got a strip-sack-fumble of Brady by Brandom Graham which bounced right into the hands of Derek Barnett. But to seal the deal, they needed yet another stop, and they got it: a deflected Hail Mary prayer of a pass to Gronkowski fell harmlessly to the turf.  Thank God!

And miracles still happen because we still believe in the power of hard work and teamwork and working and believing together. The Eagles just won the Super Bowl when they weren’t supposed to. And along the way, they overcame everything Brady and everyone else threw their way. 

Jesus overcame everthing. He overcame death, hell and the grave. He was in all points tempted, and was yet without sin. And He said this to us:

In the world you shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.

With Jesus, we can overcome everything, too. We can overcome past pain and present strain. We can overcome the hurt of our dark history and the disappointment of unfulfilled destiny. We can overcome factual failure and fictitious fears. We can overcome everything.

So let’s learn from the Philadelphia Eagles. Let’s overcome everything. Everything people say and everything we do. Everything. Let’s overcome every disappointment and every defeat; every hindrance and every setback; every letdown and every putdown; every difficulty and every disadvantage; every big thing and every little thing. Everything.

The Eagles Super Bowl LII win once again proves that we can in fact overcome everything.  And so, my friends, as we celebrate with the Eagles and Philly fans everywhere, let’s determine that with the help of Heaven, we will overcome everything!

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.

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.

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.

UNO! a.k.a., Claim Victory, Because Victory is Now

 

I pick the Dodgers vs. Yankees in the 2017 World Series.

 That’s right. Let’s renew and revive an East Coast, West Coast, “Left” Coast, “Right” Coast rivalry one more time for ole time’s sake. Could it be Boston vs. Chicago or Colorado vs. Houston, or the Nationals vs. Cleveland? Nope. It could be, but it won’t.  

How do I know you ask? Sometimes you just know. Sometimes you just have to go ahead and say what you see even before it’s actually audible or visible. Don’t wait until others see it, especially when you saw it first. Why? Because the Victory Is Now. Now is the time to decree and declare what you desire and determine to be your destiny.

And how about Super Bowl 51? Who ya got? I know only a fourth fraction of the season has been played, and this is only the quarter pole, but remember, the victory is now. That’s why I’m picking my Eagles (pronounced Iggles).

 My Eagles can win Super Bowl 51 at US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota on February 4th. That’s right, you “heard” it and read it first right here at http://www.Godandsports.net. My Eagles “can” win, because they’re just that good, and they’ve got room to get a whole lot better. Braggadocios, you say? An arrogant overreach? An overconfident overstep? Not if you understand the power of your words.

 The winners of the 2017 World Series and Super Bowl 51 played in February (I miss January Super Bowls – remember them?) must declare victory now. Before the first pitch of the playoffs and prior to reaching the pinnacle of America’s pastime and before they play football in December when it really counts, victory must be decreed and declared.

 In order to win in sports and in life, we need to decree and declare victory now. Because you can have what you say. In fact, you will have what you say, because you reap what you sow (Galatians 6:7). In fact, you will reap more that you sow, because of the principle of seed time and harvest. Seeds multiply. And multiplication always get’s you back more than you put in. So be careful what you put out, because just like in the card game UNO, it is most certainly coming back. The prophet said that if you “sow to the wind, you’ll reap the whirlwind.” (Hosea 8:7).

 Don’t get cynical on me. Some say that you don’t get everything you say. That may be true, but you won’t get anything you don’t say. Right?

 If you want to win, talk about it. Dream about it. Sing about it. Shout about it. Because your words will carry the crib or the coffin of your dreams. And you can kill a baby before it blooms and you can also revive a corpse even after its doom.

 So stop speaking doubt and downfall, because if you speak it, you’ll reap it. When you speak health and life, those words are the seeds that will eventually produce your harvest. Speaking in generalities never works. Saying maybe and perhaps and if and I wish I woulda coulda will get you exactly that. Somewhere between first place and dead last, which is nowhere with nothings to show for it. If you don’t get definite and decisive with what you want, that’s EXACTLY what you’re going to get. So watch what you say and be careful with what you speak.

 Just remember faith without works is dead, so you need to put your aim into action and match your desire with determination.