Why Are We Talking About Football In July?

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Why are we talking about football in July? Why does ESPN’s Sports Center allot and spend the bulk of its air time reporting from minicamp? And why aren’t we spending more time talking about the first place Phillies!? Because we love football, and we love movies about football.

Baseball may be called the national pastime, but football actually is. We are obsessed with our teams and their talent. Even in July, we are passionate and preoccupied with the schedule and needed wins and unwanted loses. And we can’t get enough of how good our teams look on paper. That’s why we love the underdog. And that’s why we all loved The Waterboy, and The Replacements, and all Philly fans everywhere rooted for Vince Papale in Invincible.

Just think – if we put as much time and effort into averting teen pregnancies and decreasing drug addiction and preventing recidivism and bolstering job creation and creating more affordable housing, we might also come up with a cure for cancer along the way. No there’s nothing wrong with watching and celebrating sports (especially football in July), but do you think our society has perhaps, maybe, possibly gone a bridge too far?

This is coming from an avid, borderline rabid sports fan, and a PHILLY sports fan at that. The Eagles are the defending Super Bowl Champions, and so defending the crown is all we Eagles fans are concerned about right now. In July. The sound of sports and the matrix of sports has sent many a fan one flew over the cuckoo’s nest. And that sound reminds us of listening to Brian’s Song and Radio. Yes, it’s July, and while some like it hot, on any given Sunday, there’s a Rudy we can root for.

It’s in July, when football players train and talk about training camp becomes insane, that we Remember the Titans. It’s in July that we start thinking about Friday night lights and being Undefeated (the Best sports documentary ever!). So let’s not get to excited nor should we neglect to look for the Silver Linings Playbook in sports. We all need to protect our blind side. That’s why balance and moderation and having more than enough margin in life is a good thing. Because too much football in July can be a bad thing. But it doesn’t have to be.

SPORTS360 Podcast

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Hey Everybody! 

My book Upsets, Comebacks and Turnarounds is now available on Amazon.com!  Please check it out and let me know what you think.   If you like the blog, you’ll love the book. AND a dear friend featured me on his new, insightful and thought provoking Podcast, SPORTS360.  Jeff and I discuss the book, how we connect with God through sports, my Philly teams, and the intersection of sports and spirituality. Check it out on YouTube.com.

Running The Human RACE  

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I just saw the 2016 film, RACE, “a sports movie that once again shows the triumph of the human spirit and how everyone is equal when the gun goes off.” 

Jesse Owens’ quest to become the greatest track and field athlete in history thrusts him onto the world stage of the 1936 Olympics, where he faces off against Adolf Hitler’s vision of Aryan supremacy. It’s a solid sports biopic that teaches and entertains and leaves you longing for more. The history lesson gives nuances that you definitely want to explore on your own, such as, what did Owens do after the Olympics?

The racial challenges that Jesse Owens wrestles with in the film are palpable. Jim Crow rules on the American frontier while Hitler and the Third Riech are rising in Germany.  While both are sinful, it’s hard to split hairs or point fingers; the tension between the races presents the viewer with a moral dilemma: when it comes to race, is there a blacker black or a whiter white? The question is asked but not answered. Racism and antisemitism are on full display, and who’s to say which is the more sinister evil?

Sports gives the human race the opportunity to run the race of life with zest and zeal, blocking out all distractions and evil intentions in order to obtain gold.  And now, in this the 21st Century, when it comes to race, it seems that the blending and the melding of interracial relationships present us an even tone instead of the juxtaposition of black vs. white, which are values, not colors.

As for the film, I enjoyed it emensily, but also agree with this film critic: “Perhaps the strongest argument against Race is that a film this important deserves more than a standard, by-the-numbers treatment. Although there’s nothing terribly wrong about the movie, there’s nothing special about the way in which it presents a remarkable 20th century chapter. The bare necessities are there, the performances are competent, and there are some strong moments but Race suffers from a lack of ambition. It’s too safe and that quality mutes its impact and limits its ability to be more than a history lesson.”   (A movie review by James Berardinelli)

Oscar Winning Performances, On and Off The Field (And Screen)

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Our lives and our years are scripted by God.  Unfortunately, we tend to go “off message” and unscripted and then must return and repent and rely again on the Almighty to direct us. The Director of our souls can make us up and write for us a new and novel original score that we can sing for Him. 

God is the best Director. But we need to memorize our lines. And our lines are His Words, because He wrote the best original screenplay ever.  It’s been called the Greatest Story Ever Told.  And so all of us could earn an Oscar for the roles we’ve played and mistakes we’ve made and the prayers we’ve prayed that were answered in dramatic fashion.

So, as the Oscars approach, let’s focus on what matters, and that is winning “An Oscar” for Him.

The following is re-posted from Bryan Altman,  http://denver.cbslocal.com/2015/02/18/four-oscar-worthy-performances-in-the-world-of-sports/

“Best Original Screenplay/ Best Picture”

Much like the movies, certain games or seasons seem to follow the same old narrative and make us feel like we’re watching a rerun. Sometimes however, we’re shocked by a particular story line or plot point that arises during the year and it reminds us that life and sports can surprise us and prove to be stranger than fiction.

Here are the nominees…

Donald Sterling’s Conversation

Michael Sam’s NFL Journey

Super Bowl XLIX

Brazil vs. Germany World Cup Semi-Final

And the Oscar goes to… Super Bowl XLIX

The finale to the Super Bowl was one of those moments that you just cannot script. The dramatic drive to greatness by Tom Brady, the obscure corner back making the game-ending play, the mind-boggling decision, the last-minute fisticuffs – it was all just unbelievable. Seriously, the finale was so implausible that if someone pitched it to you as a movie, you would have ordered a psych evaluation and asked them to leave immediately.

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And by the way, the best sports movie of all time was, of course, Hoosiers.