“Stay In The Fight!” —  The 2019 World Series Champion Washington Nationals Deliver An Upset for the Ages

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The Washington Nationals have the distinction of being one of the most unlikely underdogs to win a championship, ever. There’s a long list of least likely, storybook, fairytale teams that no one picked to win it all. And yet they did. This is why we love sports. And this is why sports and the gospel are such good friends.

Winning it all after you’ve been down and downcast and downtrodden and looked down upon is not easy to do. But just like the Nationals did, with help from up above and hope in the one above, we all can rise from the ashes of defeat and despair and end our stories in triumph. The Washington Nationals did it, and in so doing they gave all the rest of us a double dose of hope and heart. The Nationals improbable win gave all the rest of us hope to believe that an upstart with heart can indeed kick start their fortunes and come back from way back to defy the odds.

Here’s a partial list from the long list of Cinderella champions:

In baseball, these Nats are right up there with the ‘69 Mets and the 2006 Cardinals’ and the 1985 Royals. In other sports, who can forget Joe Naimath and the ‘69 Jets or Eli Manning and the 2007 New York Giants who beat the undefeated Patriots in the Super Bowl? Turning to college basketball, we will never forget Jimmy Valvano and the ‘82 North Carolina State Wolfpack or Rally Massimino and the ‘85 Villanova Wildcats. Yes, these Nats have joined an elite club of Cinderellas, including the 1980 US Hockey Team who beat the Russian National Team to win Olympic gold. These indeed were upsets for the ages.

The Washington Nationals 2019 playoff run “was an amazing turnaround to watch. The Nats were able to win the National League Wild Card game in dramatic fashion coming back to beat Milwaukee, 4-3.

Then it was onto the powerhouse, the L.A. Dogers. The Nats going toe to toe with one of the best teams in the league. Howie Kendrick delivering a 10th inning grand slam in Game 5, giving the Nats their first-ever series win in the postseason.

“Stay in the fight” was the motto all season long for the Washington Nationals. Never quitting, never giving up.

And they played like it too, just absolutely dominating the St. Louis Cardinals, breaking out the brooms and sweeping away the Cardinals in just four games.” https://wjla.com/sports/washington-nationals/world-series-how-did-this-happen

Finally, there was the World Series itself! All four wins by the winning team came on the road. Top that!

How did it happen? Faith, hope, a great slogan and a wonky theme song. That’s right. The Nationals adopted the silliest theme song they could find and it worked. It all started when “outfielder Gerardo Parra started using the tune as a walk-up song while mired in a slump earlier in the year, as a nod to his two-year-old daughter.

‘Baby Shark’ took over Nationals Park in 2019 and the team embraced the undeniably-catchy children’s song as a part of its celebrations throughout the season.

Players and fans alike immediately embraced the silliness. “When Nationals players get a base hit, their on-field celebrations mirror the song. A single gets a finger pinch for Baby Shark, a double calls for hand-clapping like a Mommy Shark and a triple gets the full chomp for Daddy Shark.

It’s blown up pretty big. Everyone seems to be doing it,” Nationals pitcher Patrick Corbin said before Game 3. “People are wearing shark outfits. It’s like Halloween out there. It’s great.” https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/mlb/playoffs/2019/10/25/nationals-baby-shark-song-world-series/2458499001/

So cheer up my brother. Live in the sunshine my sister. You too can comeback from way back. Get yourself a theme song and stay in the fight.

Tiger Woods Comes Back From The Dead

Tiger Woods Tour Comeback Win 2018
Tiger Woods went from not knowing if he would ever play golf again to winning the 2018 Tour Championship marking his first win in more than five years.

Tiger did it. He absolutely did it. After five years and major surgery, Tiger Woods won a major golf tournament. And despite what you think of him or what he went through, his comeback is noteworthy. Tiger turned his career around, after he himself ran it into the ground.

So here’s to Tiger. He came back and his comeback is a throwback to when we fell in love with him way back. Here’s how USA Today told the story:

“It was a picture of confidence, an intimidating one at that, an image of a man who was in total control and knew what lie ahead. Six hours later, and after a wardrobe change, Woods was posing with the championship hardware, a portrait that seemed impossible 18 months ago.

After starting his latest comeback with tempered expectations and doubts about how long he could play, Woods steadily pieced together his swing and his game.

With a two-shot victory in the season finale, a win reminiscent of so many from his best days of yesteryear, Woods capped a comeback for the ages and completed his climb out of an abyss of physical agony, mental anguish and spiritual loss. The 14-time major champion also continued his remarkable climb up the official world rankings, all the way to No. 13 after starting his comeback ranked No. 1,199th.

“I had a hard time not crying coming up the last hole,” said Woods, who finished second in the FedExCup and won a $3 million bonus. “The people who are close to me saw the struggles and what I was going through, and some of the players that I’m pretty close to, they’ve really helped throughout this process the last few years.

“I’ve explained throughout the year that I just didn’t know whether this would ever happen again. If I could somehow piece together a golf swing this year, I felt like I could do it. My hands are good enough, and I just didn’t know if I could piece together a golf swing. But somehow, I’ve been able to do that, and here we are.” https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/golf/2018/09/23/tiger-woods-wins-tour-championship-first-time-five-years-80th-title/1405052002/

Good for you Tiger. Good for you.

Why Philly Fans Are the Best

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Bradley Cooper with DeSean Jackson Philadelphia Eagles jeresy on playing Pat Solatano in a scene from the motion picture “Silver Linings Playbook.”

Philly fans are the best.

That’s right. Philly fans are the best. And you heard it right here on www.Godandsports.net. Yes Green Bay Packer fans and New England Patriot fans (booo!) and Golden State Warrior fans and Pittsburg Penguin fans and Ohio State Buckeye fans and LA Dodger fans may be passionate and arrogant and snobbish and boorish when it comes to their team, but Philly fans are the best. The best of the best. Why? I’m from Philly so let me tell you why.

Philly fans are fanatical, and being a fanatic is not a bad thing. Fanatical means to be marked by excessive enthusiasm for and intense devotion to a cause or idea. And there’s nothing wrong with being a fanatic for a good cause. Enthusiasm and fervency and zeal and devotion are part and parcel of sports. And when these ingredients are missing and wanting, there’s a void and a vacuum that just can’t be filled.

Philly fans have Carson Wentz, a born again believer who’s uses his faith for football. John Gruden said it best on MNF: “Carson Wentz believes that his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ helps him play football better.”  Amen brother. I am all for the combination of faith and football, and other sports too. And Carson Wentz is doing just that. 

Carson Wentz is combining his physicality with his spirituality.  He’s a bona fide believer and a darn good football player using his platform to win football games and to point others to spiritual victory.  And since Wentz has been sweetly saved by His power divine, he is be a sell out for the salvation of other sinners whose souls need saving too.  

Philly fans have Joel Embiid. And we “trust” and believe in “The Process.”  Since trust is a spiritual word, Philly fans are full of faith and energized with enthusiasm and jumping’ for joy over the fact that now our football team, (Go Eagles!) and our basketball team (DA Sixas!) are finally doing well, at the same time, and are on their way to being great.

Spiritually speaking, we all should be full of faith and hope and love. And that sums up every Philly fan. We have faith in the process, we hope to win a championship or two (soon!), and we love our teams and the players that have played for them.  And all fans everywhere should be the same way too.  

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.

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

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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?

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

Is This The Year For The Cubs?

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The Chicago Cubs finished the 2014 season 73-89, eight games under .500 and 17 games behind the first place St. Louis Cardinals.  But that was then. This is now. Now, the Cubbies have Joe Maddon as their manager, and in just one year, Maddon has motivated his men to make a massive and mammoth march toward the goal of winning a World Series, the first since 1908.

The Cubs won back-to-back World Series championships in 1907 and 1908, becoming the first Major League team to play in three consecutive Fall Classics, and the first to win it twice. The team has appeared in seven World Series following their 1908 title, most recently in 1945. The Cubs have not won the World Series in 107 years, the longest championship drought of any major North American professional sports team.

But somebody say “Turnaround!”

The Cubs finished this season with the third best record in baseball. These same Cubs beat the Pittsburg Pirates in a one game playoff and then went on to defeat the league leading St. Louis Cardinals 3-1 in the National League Division Series, and now they face the New York Mets in a NLCS showdown. 

Motivation is often overlooked and underestimated, unobserved and disregarded, passed over and swept under. But those of us who know the value of motivation know that a good motivator can make or break a player or a game or a team or a season. And that’s why you need a good coach.

 A good coach can motivate a team to do the impossible and the improbable. A good coach can  inspire and influence and impact in ways that numbers and statistics and digits will never tell. And from all accounts, Joe Maddon is doing just that with the 2015 Cubs.

The Cubs and the Mets have never met in the playoffs. Ever. So this should be a doozy of a series.

CINCINNATI, OH - JULY 20: Joe Maddon the manager of the Chicago Cubs watches the action against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park on July 20, 2015 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

So what about you? Who are you motivating and encouraging and prompting and provoking to greatness? Joe Maddon came up short in Tampa, as my Phillies beat Joe’s Tampa Bay Ray’s in the 2008 World Series. But that didn’t stop Joe from trying. Now he’s with the Cubs doing his thing, and I hope he pulls it off.

So stop crying over spilled milk and reliving long ago losses and wrangling over missed opportunities. Stop waiting for someone to come along and encourage you and start looking for someone else to encourage. You’ll be glad you did.

Go Cubs!