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!

 

 

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

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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!

Survive The Madness and Advance In March

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Survive and advance. That’s the name of the game. That’s the goal and the general idea. To survive and advance is everyone’s aim and aspiration. That’s what it’s all about, right? So if you snooze, you lose. Because it’s win or go home, baby.

So who ya got? Kansas? UCLA? Arizona? Gonzaga? Kentucky? North Carolina? Last year’s Champion,Villanova? Or God forbid – Duke? It’s the Big Dance and it appears that one of the big dogs will win it all again, unless a Cinderella crashes the party.

Vince Lombardi, the immortal coach of the Green Bay Packers said, “Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.” Naturally speaking, this phrase has been overblown and misunderstood.  But spiritually speaking, Lombardi was spot on. When it comes to surviving and advancing, Lombardi was right.  Who remembers who came in second place?  Who remembers who was the runner up? Who even remembers the entire final four year in and year out? And is being the second runner-up as rewarding as finishing first?  Is an honorable mention as gratifying as the championship trophy?

Winning is everything. And not just winning, but winning big. I’m not talking about the margin of victory, but the quality of victory. The fiercer the battle, the sweeter the victory. Hard fought wins are more memorable, more satisfying, and more gratifying than all others. And so it is with life. 

The life God wants us to live is about quality, not necessary quantity. Coming back from way back, getting to the ball and not only dancing with the Prince, but falling in love with the prince, and having the Prince hunt her down to see if she fit the glass slipper she inadvertently left behind, is what we all love about Cinderella. That’s why we all love Cinderella stories.  Those improbable victories that no one, I mean no one – not even Hollywood – can script, are what we live and die for.

God loves the long-shot.  God loves the underdog.  God loves Cinderella.  She had undergone mistreatment and maladjustment before she met the Prince at the ball.  But she first believed that she would indeed meet the prince; and along the way she had unlikely help, too.

The Bible says this about victory: “This is the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith.”  Cinderella believed.  I come back to this because if you can believe, you can achieve. If you can survive, you can advance. Believing is the first step.

Many of us have overcome seemingly insurmountable odds, beaten bigger, better, more talented teams, and won when no one gave us a chance.  Many of us have undergone major surgery, endured unforeseen layoffs, weathered 100-year storms, and yet overcame big setbacks and huge letdowns.  We bounced-back, with the help of God and some God-sent friends and fans, and overcame the worst of circumstances.  Cinderella had mice, sparrows, a pumpkin and a Fairy Godmother.  We have those who are Heaven-sent into our lives, who, just when we need them most, come to our rescue and stretch the basketball rim just enough to let the winning shot go in.

Divine Madness: Sports For People Who Don’t Like Sports

Sports_Illustrated March Madness 2048

There is a connection between God and sports, especially during the maddening month of March. Some call it Divine Madness. The month of March is a time when everyone can be a sports fan. And that’s why I write for any and as many that will read. While I’m not a sports writer, per se, I am a sports fan. And I’m a blogger that writes about the nexus and the node and the link and the liaison between God and sports.

I get it that some are not “in” to sports. Many women don’t like sports. Some men don’t like sports, but we won’t go into that, at least not now. Anyway, for those who say they don’t like sports, I can see football being too fluctuated and baseball being too boring and hockey being too horrid. But basketball, and specifically college basketball, and college basketball in MARCH, indeed is rated “E” for everyone.

And that brings us to the subject of our session (wait, is this therapy? Yes, it is, but more on that later). Anyway, the subject of our session is The Big Dance. The Men’s and Women’s NCAA Basketball Tournaments are sports for people who do and DON’T like sports.

The obsession termed March Madness is a microcosm of life itself. It’s a single elimination tournament with entirely all sorts of every type, from the cream to the crap, and everything else in between. You have the haves and the have nots; you have the big dogs and the little dudes. You have the powerhouse teams and the rag tag, just happy to make it to the Dance dames who didn’t even dare to dream of dancing with the prince of the prom. There are middle of the roadies who aren’t that bad but they’re not that good either. All are on equal footing and have an equal opportunity to win at least one game, and stand an outside chance at winning the whole dag gum thing.

And that’s just like life. We all have hopes and dreams and ambitions and aspirations and we all collide with each other on the way to dance with the prince at the Ball. Unfortunately and invariably, some dreams will die hard. When a favorite loses to an also ran, and when an unlikely-to-succeed beats the belle of the ball, we all can identify and personify the notions and the emotions and the feelings and foundations that form and frame the structure of our core.
At our very core, we long to be successful and to succeed. We long to be acknowledged and to be accepted. In essence, everyone wants to win and we all yearn to be celebrated. And each and every team in the tournament wants to win, and they have to believe that they have a chance to win it all. And that’s why we love the upsets and the comebacks and the turnarounds that the tournament will give us almost every night for the next three weeks.

And that’s why everyone can be a sports fan, especially during the maddening month of March. God will accept us and receive us; yes all of us – red and yellow and black and white – just as we are and just where we are.

Because we’ve all been dinged and damaged by life in some way; we all need therapy, in some form or another. And so we end this needed and necessary session with this: sports is therapy. Yes it can be misused and abused, but sports in general and March Madness in particular is a window and a glimpse of how we all have a chance and a shot to be elevated to Heaven and to be celebrated by Heaven.

And so the bottom line is this: the God of Heaven is the only hope we have for health and healing in this life. March madness, it its wired, wacky way, teaches us this truth. That’s why everyone can be a sports fan.

To some it’s not rational and it doesn’t make sense, and that’s why some others call it Divine Madness.

Can Magic Pull A Rabbit Out of His Hat?

magic-johnson 

Is it Magic or is it just make-believe? Is it live or is it Memorex? (Remember that one?) Is it possible or is it just probable that Magic Johnson can turn the Lakers around?  And soon?

 The LA Lakers are 19- 42, tied for second to last place In the Western Conference. The Lakers Organization, and Laker Nation, and everyone living in Southern Cal are used to winning basketball games, and NBA Championships, in June. The Lakers have a long and storied history of success, dating way back. Jerry West won. Wilt Won. Kareem clobbered. Magic and then Kobe (and don’t forget Shaquille O’Neal) all won multiple championships and have multiple rings.

But can Magic work a miracle? Can he be the savior and save this sinking, stinking, reeking and reeling team in need of more than a trim here and there? Yes they have young Luke Skywalker, err . . . I mean, Luke Walton on board, plus several young promising players like D’Angelo Russell, Jordan Clarkson, Julius Randle, and Brandon Ingram; but . . .  The Lakers have room to grow as they have nowhere to go but up. However, it will be a steep climb for Johnson, who has no NBA front-office experience, to turn this young core into a championship team.

So, the question is this: can Earvin “Magic” Johnson sprinkle some pixy dust and wave his magic wand and pull a rabbit out of the hat?  The Lakers sure do hope so. 

So, if you missed it, here’s the news flash:

“The Los Angeles Lakers announced that they hired Magic Johnson to become president of basketball operations, firing GM Mitch Kupchak and Vice President of Basketball Operations Jim Buss.

The move comes weeks after the Lakers named Johnson an advisor to the team. Shortly after, Johnson admitted he would like a chance to “call the shots.”

In a statement announcing the hire, Lakers president Jeanie Buss said, “I took these actions today to achieve one goal: Everyone associated with the Lakers will now be pulling in the same direction, the direction established by Earvin and myself. We are determined to get back to competing to win NBA championships again.”

Johnson said in the statement, “Since 1979, I’ve been a part of the Laker Nation and I’m passionate about this organization. I will do everything I can to build a winning culture on and off the court. We have a great coach in Luke Walton and good young players. We will work tirelessly to return our Los Angeles Lakers to NBA champions.”

 Go Magic. We’re all pulling for ya.

“Hidden Figures:” UNSUNG HEROES

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In just about every game, especially every “big” game, and every game of consequence, there is a player that turns into a hero in an instant. This player turned hero does not plan on it, but he or she ends up doing the unthinkable: they make the play of the game. The coach may not even know their full name; the other players don’t associate with them that much if at all; and most fans don’t even know they’re on the team. But this hero in hiding is about to go public. This hero may not be a starter or a star, but this average Joe will make a play, a game saving tackle, a field goal in overtime, a pick-six interception for a touchdown, a three pointer at the buzzer, or a walk-off home run, that wins the game and seals the victory.

The Film “Hidden Figures” is a must see. If you have not seen this film, stop reading – stop reading right now — and go and see this inspiring, stirring and stimulating historical narrative. There are outstanding, Oscar worthy performances in this Oscar worthy film that should be seen and appreciated by all. “Hidden Figures” is up for three Academy Awards at the Oscars Sunday night.

HIDDEN FIGURES is the incredible untold story of Katherine G. Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer) and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monáe)—brilliant African-American women working at NASA, who served as the brains behind one of the greatest operations in history: the launch of astronaut John Glenn into orbit, a stunning achievement that restored the nation’s confidence, turned around the Space Race, and galvanized the world. The visionary trio crossed all gender and race lines to inspire generations to dream big.

Read more: http://www.denofgeek.com/uk/movies/hidden-figures/43036/hidden-figures-new-character-posters-trailer#ixzz4Zpam0Jq0

The movie, based on the book by Hampton native Margot Lee Shetterly, details the lives of three black women working at Hampton’s NASA Langley during the space race — in the height of the civil rights movement in the 1950s and ’60s. All three women have been hidden to many of us who did not know that African American women played a vital role in the space race. They did complex math calculations for NASA, and were called “computers” long before the term was applied to machines.

Shetterly’s book proposal was sent to 16 publishers. There were enough “nos,” that she submitted her research to a Ph. D program at the University of Virginia. She was accepted into the program about the same time she received an offer from publishing group William Morrow and Company.

In 2014, the same year her book received an offer, Shetterly’s proposal for the story was auctioned off to Levantine Films. Before Shetterly even had finished writing the book, she got a call from Donna Gigliotti, an Academy Award-winning producer. Gigliotti has producing credits for films including “Silver Linings Playbook” and “Shakespeare in Love.” She was hooked by Shetterly’s 55-page proposal.

“I was attracted to ‘Hidden Figures’ because it is an untold story; it’s authentic,” Gigliotti wrote to the Daily Press in September via email. “Also it has strong women characters at its center — all my movies share that quality.”

It soon had a screenwriter, Allison Schroder, who received an Oscar nomination for adapted screenplay along with the film’s director, Theodore Melfi. The script was delivered in May 2015 and casting began a month later. Taraji P. Henson (Katherine Johnson), Octavia Spencer (Dorothy Vaughan) and Janelle Monae (Mary Jackson) were brought on as leads.” Jonathan Black, Contact Reporter, joblack@dailypress.com

The three women portrayed in “Hidden Figures” are what we call in in sports “unsung heroines.”

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David was a “sung” hero. He defeated the giant Goliath with a sling and a stone. In so doing he defeated giant Goliath and the archrival Philistine army and won the victory for Israel. The eighth son of Jesse went on to be the sweet psalmist of Israel and the apple of God’s eye. After David’s unlikely but stirring victory, the women sang, “Saul has slain his thousands, but David his ten thousands” (1 Samuel 18:7). While there are many others like David, there are many more unsung heroes whose songs have yet to be sung.

Just like the women in “Hidden Figures,” the woman at the well was an unsung hero. The Samaritan woman from the town of Sychar was the first evangelist. But first she was a “only” woman, and a Samaritan woman at that. When the disciples returned from buying food in town, they were surprised to find Jesus talking with “a woman”.

Jesus came so that we would all be one big happy family. But before He came the status of women was, at best, the least of all. And it was a common fact that the Jews had no dealings with Samaritans. Worst still, this woman had a checkered past. She had been married five times, she was living with a man that was not her husband, and she went to the well alone in the heat of the day. No friends, no lasting companionship, no true loving relationships. Yet she is the first one to whom Christ revealed himself to outside of his inner circle. Heaven arranged for her to meet the True Prophet, the prophesied One, and the Savior of the World.

God has a way of choosing and using unlikely, unassuming underdogs to achieve his purposes. This teaches us that God is not looking for superstars, standouts, “phenoms”, or number one draft picks who are full of themselves. God is looking for those like this woman who met Jesus at the well, an unlikely, unsung heroine whose name we don’t even know. God is looking for those who like the woman of Samaria are thirsty for living water. God is looking for those who don’t mind leaving their water pots, for those who will run and tell the very people who may despise and disdain them that they have found the Christ.

She was the lone witness and a “hidden figure” that caused many of the Samaritans to believe that Jesus was the Messiah. And God is still looking for heroes and heroines whose songs have yet to be sung.

https://video.search.yahoo.com/yhs/search?fr=yhs-Lkry-newtab&hsimp=yhs-newtab&hspart=Lkry&p=Hidden+figures+you+tube+movie+trailer#id=34&vid=3c7ff4296914be4780720654d9799f29&action=view

 

Note from Clemson: Don’t Be Surprised When You Actually Win The Big One

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Clemson Actually Won! Coach Swinney said “Only God could do something like this.” Amen brother. Down by 10 at halftime, Coach Swinney told his team

We’re going to win the game, because we love each other. I don’t know how, but we’re going to win the game.

Period. End of discussion. And after the game, Coach Swinney gave us the moral of the story: Clemson’s win gives us all hope, because “greatness is for everyone.”

So it shouldn’t be a surprise when our dreams come true. It shouldn’t be a shock to the system or a jolt to the nerves when everything we’ve worked for and everything we’ve hoped for and everything we’ve longed for actually and finally comes true and bursts through the front door.  

I am so happy for Coach Swinney.  I am. He deserves this win way more than most coaches that have won. And Deshaun Watson, Clemson’s star QB, was as confident and convinced and certain that his team would win as any other player ever.

Alabama did not lose the game; Clemson won the game, fair and square. Because Alabama was ranked No. 1 and Clemson was No. 2, it was an upset. But make no mistake, like it or not, the better team won. And Clemson clearly was the better team. And to quote Coach Swinney once more, “the win was not an upset, it was an expectation.”

The legend of Dabo Swinney just hit No. 1 on the charts and it will stay there for some time. The coach that almost nobody at Clemson wanted or heard of just won a national championship. And they didn’t just win, the won with ONE SECOND left on the clock! Wow.  Talk about a dramatic, come from behind finish. Some of the headlines spoke of the spectacular win:

Clemson Shocks Alabama to Win National Championship.

Clemson Wins National Championship in Thriller.

Clemson Stuns Alabama To Win National Championship.

Rarely is a sequel as good as the original, but Clemson rewrote the ending in its national championship story against Alabama. It was a triumph savored by Tigers players past and present.

Alabama v. Clemson II was everything we hoped it would be. The sequel was even better than the original. Legends were born as Clemson scored in the final seconds of the 2017 CFP National Championship, stunning Alabama with a thrilling victory.

Over the final 4:38 of the game, the teams would score three touchdowns and trade the lead three times, with the Tigers ultimately ending the night and the season on top the sport via a 35-31 final score. That insanity triggered a frenetic schedule that would continue for the coach, his family and his team that would carry on until well after most of everyone else on the East Coast was fast asleep.

He was already the best player in program history, but after coming up short in one title game and missing out on two Heismans, Deshaun Watson sealed the deal with an epic game-winning drive. At 12:27 a.m., the game finally ended after the game clock hung up on one final second for more than five minutes as officials made a ruling on the onside kick by Clemson.

What a way to win the big one.

http://www.usatoday.com/videos/sports/ncaaf/acc/2017/01/10/swinney-clemson-win-gives-hope-%27greatness-everyone%27/96393442/