The Miracle Of Momentum

This past weekend I sat down and watched a Philadelphia Phillies baseball game for the first time this season. And I’m a Philly guy, so I’m all about rooting for the home team. But boy oh boy did I pick the wrong time to watch a bad game.

When I turned on the TV, the Phils had a 4-1 lead, and I said, OK!  Then they extended the lead to a 6 -1 margin, and this was against one of baseball’s worst teams, the Florida Marlins. A five run margin should be enough to win a game, right? Wrong.

A five run margin wasn’t enough. Why? Because the Marlins understood the moxy and miracle of momentum. They got one hit, then another hit, and then two runs and then a few more runs, and the next thing you knew, they were winning 9-6, and that’s how the game ended. The Marlins stole the momentum and won the game.  Just like that. The Phil’s can hit but they sure can’t pitch. They just can’t stop the other guys from hitting, and scoring. In other words, the pitching staff, or more specifically, the relievers, failed them, and this wasn’t the first time this has happened this season. It appears that the Phils relievers aren’t worth their salt.

For all those out there who don’t understand momentum, this one is for you. And for those of us who do respect and hold the muscle of momentum in high regard, let this be a reminder. You don’t want to give away what you’ve worked hard for and rightfully earned, or even what you have been given. 

Momentum in sports is everything. When you’re on a roll, you don’t want to do anything to mess it up or muck it up. If you do make a mistake here or there you recover quickly, and get back to rolling. Trying to sit on a lead and playing “prevent” defense (whatever that is) is always a bad idea. Listen; when you have a good lead, even a little lead, but especially a big lead, you want to do everything in your power to protect it and even pad it, because to lose a lead is next to disastrous, and to lose a big lead is tantamount to preposterous. 

In baseball, a “save” is when a relief pitcher comes in late in the game, say the seventh inning or so, and pitches one or two innings. The reliever’s only job is to keep the other team from getting hits and getting on base and, God forbid, scoring runs. Throwing strikes is good, and getting strikeouts is even better. The worst thing a relief pitcher can do is to give up hits and allow base runners and permit the other team to take the lead and win the game AFTER his team has given him the ball with the lead.

The word save is a theological term. In baseball, the relief pitcher could be considered a “savior,” of sorts. A savior is “a person who rescues others from evil, danger, or destruction. The Old Testament viewed God Himself as the Savior, and because God is the source of salvation, He sent human deliverers to rescue His people, Israel. This word was also used to describe the judges of Israel, those “saviors” or “deliverers” who rescued God’s people from oppression by their enemies.” (Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary)

A relief pitcher wins the game. In other words, a relief pitcher is a savior who brings salvation. Our Lord is our relief. He will never lose a save. Never. He came to seek and to save all who were lost.  And he can come into your “game,” a.k.a. into your life, and save you too.

Amen.

Brett Favre: “No Regrets”

brett-favre-hof-speech

Brett Favre bust the Hall of Fame wide open.

A first-ballot selection, Brett Lorenzo Favre, 46, retired — finally — in 2010 after 20 seasons. Sixteen of those came in Green Bay, where he helped resurrect a franchise that was without a title since the Lombardi era until Favre & Co. won Super Bowl XXXI. He was inducted into the Packers Hall of Fame last summer and his retired No. 4 was unveiled on the Lambeau Field façade on Thanksgiving night last year, with one of his idols, Bart Starr, in the house.

In an inspiring, motivating, rousing, off-the-cuff speech, just as he’d predicted, Favre spoke just over 36 minutes (the longest speech in Hall of Fame history) and devoted nearly nine minutes to honor his father, Irv, who died in 2003 on the eve of one of his greatest performances: a 399-yard, four-touchdown game against the Oakland Raiders on Monday Night Football.  It was a game in which he almost did not play.

Brett shared this about his preparation for his HOF speech: 

http://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/17235517/brett-favre-inducted-pro-football-hall-fame-mass-green-bay-packers-fans-hand 

With my dad, I think what I want to get across, and it’s no big secret, is about [how] important he was to my life and my career, which was extremely important. There’s a lot of people who are important to my career and my success, but none more important than my dad, and I want to make sure I get that across.

The NFL’s iron-man quarterback started a record 297 consecutive regular-season games. It began when he replaced Don Majkowski in the Packers’ starting lineup on Sept. 27, 1992, and ended on Dec. 13, 2010, when the Vikings turned in their pregame inactive list with No. 4 on it.

Along the way, the free-wheeling Favre threw for an NFL-record 71,838 yards and 508 touchdowns, marks that were later eclipsed by Peyton Manning. He still holds the record for most career interceptions (336). Favre won all three of his Most Valuable Player awards in succession (1995-97) with the Packers.

He closed with some advice:

Work as hard as you possibly can, lay it all on the line, and whatever happens, happens,” Favre said. “But you won’t look back and regret.

I don’t regret anything. That’s not to say it was perfect. I don’t regret anything, and that’s what I’m most proud of.

And that’s how we should live our lives; with verve and vigor and gumption and gusto  . . .  and no regrets. So thanks Brett. Thanks for the memories. You went out like you came in, and we’ll forever hold you in high esteem for your love for your dad, and your love of  the game.

Brett Favre On How to Make It to the Hall of Fame

Brett Farve

How To Make It To Hall Of Fame: Do Your Talking On The Field 

Brett Favre and Tony Dungy and Marvin Harrison and Orlando Pace and Kevin Greene and Edward DeBartolo Jr. and Ken Stabler and Dick Stanfel are the 2016 class that has now been inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame.  It’s quite a class. And out of all of them, Brett Favre is probably the biggest name who had the most “game” amongst them. But that doesn’t take away from the others, namely my man Tony Dungy, or a homeboy from Philly, Marvin Harrison.

These all made it into the Hall because of what they said on the field. And that goes for Ed DeBartolo Jr., the former San Francisco 49ers owner who cared for his players and his coaches like a proud father. The players played hard and practiced long and won big season after season, and now they are being recognized and rewarded for their tremendous contributions and influence and impact upon the game.

But it remains that Brett stole the show at the 2016 HOF Ceremony. And what struck me most was that he gave thanks to his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Brett is one of many, but also one of the most magnificent examples of the intersection of God and sports. So I hope to meet him one day to tell him personally. His speech was one for the ages as he spoke of sports and sportsmanship and faith and fair play and toughness and togetherness. Thanks Brett. You indeed redeemed yourself, and your dad is certainly Godly proud of you. 

So how do you make it to the Hall of Fame? What do you have to do and what do you have to go through and who do you have to know where do you have to go to get into the Hall of Fame? The answer?  Do your talking on the field.  We all know that what you do is more important than what you say, but what you say must be backed up by what you do. Because talk can be cheap.  And what you do can speak louder and sound better and preach harder than anything and everything you say.

So, you don’t have to try to get into the Hall of fame. Just let your life do the talking. Ed DeBartolo, Jr. and Tony Dungy gave inspiring speeches tonight because they have lived inspiring lives. So, if your living has made a difference from the regular and been a departure from the norm and made a distinction among the mundane, you too will be among the names that are listed in life’s hall of fame.