Terps Topple Texas 51 – 41: a.k.a., Why We Love College Football!

Fear the Turtle

My Maryland Terrapins beat the Texas Longhorns in a shootout, 51 -41! Who saw that comin’? Texas was supposed to blow out and beat up and beat down my alma mater, but Maryland outscored them and out bested them and outlasted them in an early season shocker that reverberated all across college football from sea to shining sea.

So here’s to my Terps!  They pulled an upset for the ages, and hopefully they can build on this momentous win. And that’s the truth for all of us; big wins give us all hope and faith and confidence and courage. When we see our teams, and even someone else’s team, pull off the unthinkable and the almost impossible, it gives us a shot in the arm and a pat on the pants.

A shot in the arm is an expression derived from the invigorating effect of injecting drugs.  And a big win is a welcome dose of prescriptive medicine for what ails us. A shot is of course US slang for an injection, either of a narcotic or medicinal drug, and means a stimulus or impetus.

So thank God and thank you Maryland Terrapins for the inspiration and the motivation and the medication of the shot that the win over Texas gave us.

Let It Happen or Make It Happen?

Durant and LeBron

The phrase “Let it happen” can often be used in a situation where someone may be trying to force something like a relationship, or a deal, or a connection. The phrase is applicable in life, and of course, in sports. “Make it happen” is mainly used for advice for friends, but may not always be the right thing to do. This phrase accompanies a sort of ideology that some things are meant to happen, while others are not; therefore one should not force things.

On the other hand, “make it happen” means to do something and complete it, usually under extreme circumstances. And in case you’re wondering, I’ve obtained this privileged prudence from the wonderful wisdom of www.urbandictionary.com.

Game Three of the 2017 NBA Finals is one of the biggest games in the history of the sport. Why? Because tonight we will see which one works. Are LeBron and the Cavaliers trying to make it happen? Or are Kevin Durant and the Warriors so good that they will let it happen?

So which is it? Should we let things happen or make things happen? Should we yield our will or impose our will?  Should we lay ourselves on the altar or grab hold to the horns of the altar? Which one works?

As we live and breathe, both are simultaneously true.  We must both let it happen and make it happen, both and all at the same time. God will do His part and we must do our part. As a wise man once said, “pray as if everything depends on God, and then live as if everything depends on you.”

Yes the just shall live by faith, and, at the same time, faith without works is dead. So the axiom and the truism is this:  God has done His part; it’s now up to us to do our part. We let it happen by trusting and praying and believing. We make it happen by loving and caring and forgiving.  I call it the marriage of theology and practice. Letting it happen and making it happen are opposite sides of the same coin.

So make it happen, but only after you let it happen.

You Are A No. 1 Pick

SI NBA Draft Pics

On this the evening of the NBA Draft Lottery, thoughts of being chosen and selected and overlooked and left out come to mind.  We all want to be a part and participate in something big and meaningful.  But we can’t get  there on our own. We all need to be selected.

 Think about it: only a small, rare, select few athletes are in the No. 1 Pick Club. And who was the biggest, baddest and best NBA No. 1 pick of them all? That’s fairly debatable.  Magic and Kareem and Shaq and Iverson (yes Iverson), and of course LeBron, come to mind. 

As for you and me, we need not lament if we were never picked first on the playground to play pickup games, or if even now if we’re not anyone’s favorite.  In the eyes of God, we all find grace and favor.

So never no mind what people say. You only need to know what God says about you. You are more than a conqueror through Him who loves us. You are the head and not the tail. You are strong in the Lord. You are a child of the King. You are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation and God’s own special selection. You are the light of the world and you are the salt of the earth.

In God’s eyes, first and foremost, you are His greatest love, joy and concern.

Don’t Give The Game Away

jim-harbaugh-screaming

Did You See The Game? I did.

I watched the Michigan / Ohio State game yesterday. If you missed it, you missed a treat. It was a great win and a horrible loss both at the same time. Yes, it was a great win for Ohio State to come from behind and beat their archrivals 30 -27 in DOUBLE OT, at home, again. And it was a horrible, almost unspeakable loss.

One sportswriter put it this way:

“There is simply too much pain to process. Losing to Ohio State? Losing in double overtime? Losing with some controversy? Losing the Big Ten East Division? Losing a shot at the Playoff? It’s almost overwhelming. Michigan will bounce back under Jim Harbaugh — and very likely be right there for the 2017 national title — but this loss will sting all offseason. Then again, maybe there’s room for Michigan to make a national semifinal in 2016?”

Michigan had the game in the bag. I mean the game was won and the Michigan Quarterback Wilton Speight and the referees game it away. Yes it was a great game because it had everything: it had defense and turnovers and missed field goals and a pick-six and fourth and inches and a first down controversy in double overtime.

If you didn’t catch yesterday’s game, you missed one of the best regular season college games in college football history Michigan, the better team, had Ohio State on the ropes for most of the game, then choose to gift the game back to the Buckeyes down the stretch. Ohio State wouldn’t have even been in the game had it not been for the interceptions that the Michigan QB gave them. Wow.

Coach Jim Harbaugh has every right to be mad, but the first person he needs to be mad with is himself. He lost his cool and it cost his team five critical yards late in the game when the defense needed to keep the Buckeyes out of the end zone. They did not.

We lead by example. A long time ago someone said, monkey see, monkey do. And the team saw their coach lose his composure, and then they went on to lose the game in typical Michigan, meltdown fashion (the Wolverines have lost five straight to Ohio State at the Horseshoe).

“Outrageous,” Harbaugh said at one point, describing the officiating that he thought cost his Wolverines the game at Ohio State Saturday afternoon. Maybe it did. Maybe it didn’t. It doesn’t matter. What matters is how you handle a brutal loss when you speak to the public. What matters is what you show them. Harbaugh didn’t show much grace.

His senior defensive lineman, however, Chris Wormley, did. “There’s a few calls that I thought could go either way,” he said. “You’ve got to play through those types of calls, handle adversity.” Yes, you do.

And so the lesson is almost lyrical: you may lose and you may fail and you may suffer loss, but don’t give it away. Don’t lose your cool or lose your head or lose your composure. Your opponent may try to grab it or seize it or snatch it or even steal it, but DO NOT give it away.  And that’s just what the Michigan coach and the Michigan team did yesterday.

 

RGIII Is Traded to Cleveland: a.k.a., Do You Believe In Resurrections?

AP REDSKINS BROWNS FOOTBALL S FBN USA OH
Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III kneels on the sideline during an NFL preseason football game against the Cleveland Browns, Thursday, Aug. 13, 2015, in Cleveland. (How Ironic is this pic?)

Here’s where sports and spirituality collide. Here’s where we split hairs between what’s carnal and what’s sacred. And here’s where I can defend the combination of God and sports all day. Not only do I believe in The Resurrection, but I believe in resurrections, in sports and in life, and I hope you do too. RGIII needs a rousing, riveting, reviving resurrection right about now. And I hope he gets one.

Robert Griffin, III, a.k.a. RGIII, just got traded from the Washington Redskins to the Cleveland Browns. That’s right – the Cleveland Browns. And lest you lament that he could languish and loaf and loiter in football La La Land, a.k.a. Cleveland, he could be trade bait for the upcoming NFL Draft, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. First things first. RGIII is headed to another team and that means he has another chance at another dream.

Despite the Browns’ well-documented history of subpar play under center, there is a sense of optimism in Ohio this spring with the arrival of new head coach Hue Jackson, who is widely known as a quarterback savant. He has extensive experience developing quarterbacks, most notably with the recent work he’s done with Andy Dalton in Cincinnati and Joe Flacco in Baltimore. And now there’s hope he can resurrect RGIII’s career as well.

I’ve blogged about my man RGIII a few times here before because I like him. I do. (https://godandsports.net/2015/09/02/another-one-bites-the-dust-a-k-a-the-rise-and-fall-of-rgiii-in-dc/https://godandsports.net/2013/11/09/dont-beat-yourself/ –  https://godandsports.net/2013/08/24/rgiii-a-life-changing-story/)  But I don’t like how he’s been treated or how he’s been cheated or how he looks defeated. So I hope that he bounces back and comes back and even storms back from way back to fare well in the dungeon and dunghill of the NFL.  

And I hope that he proves all of the doubters wrong. We all have detractors and dissenters and disparagers and disbelievers. What else is new? What we all need to do is to Diss them and decide to disappoint them. Yes he needs to be stronger in the pocket and yes he needs to learn how to get rid of the football faster and yes he needs to learn how not take a hit and yes he needs to work on a whole lot of things, but who doesn’t? Don’t we all need a resurrection?

So here’s to RGIII and to the Cleveland Browns. Because in sports, anything is possible if you just believe.

God Made Adam and Eve, Not Adam and Steve

The-U.S.-Womens-Soccer-Team-An-American-Success-Story-Paperback-

In this “politically correct” society, it seems senseless to separate the women from the men when it comes to sports. At least when it comes to competing against and amongst themselves. The girls want to win just as much as the guys, right? I mean there’s no discrimination between the ladies and the gentlemen when it comes to wanting to win, right?

To be sure, God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve. So Adam was made in the likeness of God, and Eve, taken from man’s side, has the same attributes and elements and characteristics and qualities that men do, including the will to win. Even though we are built and wired differently, we are equal in the sight of God.

From a sports perspective, the argument for equality should be over and done with. We celebrate women AND men. This is a blog about God and sports, right?

And the United States Women’s Soccer Team proved this time honored truth yet again in defeating favored Germany in the semi-finals of the FIFA World Cup in Canada. Even though I did not watch, since I’m a sports fan, I care that they won. And I will be watching the title match between the US and Japan. You go girls!

So it’s hats off and three cheers and hip, hip hooray to the ladies who look like they may live to win another World Cup Final. Let’s cheer them on, and hope and pray that their play (and hopefully their win) will be another example of resilience and brilliance and spunk and spirit for all of us to go by.

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