Did The Floyd Mayweather/Conor McGregor Fight Live Up to the Hype?

 

Mayweather-vs-McGregor
Mayweather-vs-McGregor

The MayMac fight in Las Vegas was big, but there have been bigger, right? Ali vs. Frazier, the Rumble in the Jungle (Ali vs. Foreman), all of Sugar Ray Leonard’s  fights and all of the Roberto Duran fights and all of the Joe Louis fights lived up to the hype (mostly). But did this one? You tell me.

First of all, Connor McGregor lost because he doesn’t fight with boxing gloves. It’s a small thing but it’s a big deal. He’s an Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) fighter that fights without shoes and with light gloves (4-6 ounces) that allow fingers to grab.  None of that was happening with Mayweather.

Think about it. Mayweather was smart enough not to fight a UFC fight with McGregor. Right? Would the outcome have gone another way had it been a UFC fight?  You tell me.

McGregor is used to a different style and different rules. While he is the reigning UFC Lightweight Champion, and a former UFC Featherweight Champion with a mixed martial arts (MMA) background, he had a learning curve to overcome. So he came in with a decided disadvantage.  Did he overwhelm or overpower or override all of that? Not quite.

Second, Mayweather won and finished his career going 50-0, which is no small feat. But he’s a defensive, “pretty boy” fighter. His MO, modus operandi, is not to get hit, to outlast his opponents, and to capitalize off of their weaknesses.  Well, check all of the boxes, because once again, Mayweather managed to avoid getting hit (for the most part), he outlasted McGregor, and he capitalized on McGregor’s weakness of wearing out and burning out in the early rounds.

Finally, McGregor’s manager said that he was OK with the stoppage in the 10th Round. The TKO was called essentially because Conor was cornered, out of gas, and was running on fumes.  But did the fight live up to the hype? You tell me.

The real question is this: are you living up to the hype? Does your life and your lifestyle as a believer in the Ultimate God living up to the billing that the Bible says it should? The Bible says that we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us. The Bible says that God always gives us a triumphant win. The Bible says that we will overcome every foe by the blood of the Lamb and by the message that we preach.

Christians believe and preach that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. Our belief is rooted in and grounded on the faith that our lives should be fuller and richer and deeper and stronger than those who don’t believe.  But many of us are losing the fight in a technical knockout because we’re running out of gas; we aren’t fighting this fight of faith like we should. 

So, is your fight with this wanton world and your flimsy flesh and the diabolical devil a victory for you or not?

You tell me.

Winning Cures Everything

Everyone loves a winner.  Because winning cures everything. It cures frustration and fury and disappointment and depression and everything else in between.  Winning ways will win you admiration and approval and applause and affection, not to mention esteem and honor.  It’s an axiomatic truth; winning cures what ails us, and we have a lot of maladies that we need healing from.

When you’re winning, you’re conquering and overcoming and triumphing over your foes and your fears. And  your fiercest foes may not be as dangerous as your deepest fears or your weariest woes.

This year, the North Carolina Tar Heels showed us how to win ugly. And even though it wasn’t pretty, it was beautiful.  North Carolina avenged a last second, buzzer beater, gut wrenching loss to Villanova in last year’s final. And if that wasn’t a horrible way to lose, I don’t know what is.

This year, while Gonzaga may have been the sentimental favorite, it would have been awful and even cruel and unusual punishment for North Carolina to lose in the finals for a second year in a row.  So the basketball gods asked the God of the universe for permission to let this one go Carolina’s way. 

We all want God to right our wrongs and cure our ills and forgive our iniquities heal our diseases. Especially this time of year during early Spring, the time of the singing of the birds, when hope springs eternal.  We all need a second chance, or more specifically, another chance, at life. After we slip up and trip up and mess  up, we all need another shot at redemption. This is what we all hope and dream and strive for; atonement, renewal and restoration.  

So don’t give up and don’t give in. Even when you lose a tough one, believe that you can bounce back and win the big one.

Election Night 2016: Winning Is The Only Thing

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On any election night, sports and politics are similar and the same as they violently collide.  Politics is a winner takes all, loser go home affair, and so are sports, especially the “big” championship games.

On this historic election night, football’s ground game is an appropriate equivalent to politics and winning on the ground.  You can’t drive through an election line; you must walk in line and wait in line, and you are literally on the ground floor of something really big.

For me, more than any other year, voting today was an honor. As I walked through the line waiting my turn to vote, I was delighted to join hundreds of other citizens at Triangle Elementary School and millions of other Americans across the Country in casting my vote. To be a part of selecting and electing the next president of the United States and the next leader of the free world was a thrill. It really was. It really was a thrill that sent a chill down my spine. (And as I waited in line in the cold outside of my polling place at 5:55 am this morning, I was more than chilled – I was cold! 

But getting up and getting out early to vote was worth it. It was absolutely worth it. Because winning is more than casting your vote and hoping that  your candidate wins. Winning is being a part of a process that has stood the test of time. Other countries have coups and controversies and wonder if their political process really works. In America, in these Unites States, we can say  that the process indeed does work. And the process will be tested yet again tonight. And, since our currency says “In God we Trust,” we trust that the process will work yet again.

Whoever wins, the winner will have been duly elected by the people. And we all will win if we rally around the winner. Because together we stand, and divided we fall. Because winning is the only thing.  

The Daytona 500’s Photo Finish!

Kevin_20Harvick_20Mark_20Martin_20Finish_20Line_202_20Daytona

I’m not a race car fan, but there are plenty of you out there who are. So here’s to the grandaddy of ’em all, the biggest and baddest and bestest of all  auto races: the Indianapolis 500 (oops, I mean the Daytona 500 – my bad!) Today was the race.  Well,  if you didn’t see it live, the finish lived up to the pace of the chase with great grace.  

Deny Hamlin won by a nose. By all accounts, it was a thrilling race and an even more chilling finish. So the spiritual lesson is that you can win by almost nothing. But it’s still a win. Because, a win, is a win, is a win. And the difference and the distance between winning and losing is as close as a hair and as far apart as a galaxy’s night and a distant star’s day.

Winning Is Serious Fun

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No one likes to lose and everyone wants to win. While it’s that simple, it’s not that easy. And as they say, “it’s easier said than done.”  Winning is fun; its serious fun. And fun, Biblically speaking, is “joy.” Joy is a positive attitude or pleasant emotion; it means delight.  The joy which the people of God should have is holy and pure. This joy rises above circumstances and focuses on the very character of God.

It is a joy to win, and it is a downer to lose. In losing we learn life lessons. But there comes a time when it’s time to turn in the lessons, and receive a final grade.

No one likes to lose because losing means to slip and to slide, to fail and to flounder, to miss the mission and jettison the job. When you lose you obliterate the operation, but when you win you inaugurate the celebration. Winning cures everything. Winning cures what ails us. But in order to win we must consistently do and persistently say and voice the vision of victory.  Like my Maryland Terps did last night.

My Maryland Terrapins Men’s Basketball Team upset No. 5 Wisconsin last night, 59 -53 . It was a fantastic finish to a wonderful win. Dez Wells, Maryland’s senior star, consistently and persistently poked and prodded his teammates to victory.  He mandated that they could win; he pleaded that they should win; and in the end, he ensured that they would win. And win they did. And they had fun doing it, and the fans had fun celebrating it, as they rushed the court to celebrate after the final buzzer sounded.

Everyone wants to win. And Dez Wells does too. He scored 26 points, grabbed seven rebounds and had four assists; not too shabby. Wells was the spark and the sparkle of the team. AND, I’m convinced that my Terps can play like that all of the time. Instead of being hot and cold and off and on, sometimes up and sometimes down, these Terps could be the best of the best most of the time.  The sky is the limit.

Winning like the Terps did last night makes one ponder and pose and consider and conceive – and even expect — how life would be if we played well all of the time. Just suppose; just imagine; just think of how good we could be if we hit on all cylinders at least MOST of the time? But alas, this season my Terps didn’t; and unfortunately they haven’t – played their best every game — but they could’ve.  And the same goes for all of the rest of us too.

Everyone wants to win and no one likes to lose. Because winning is serious. It’s means something and it matters everything. Why? Because winning is communicable and contagious; winning is transferable and transmittable; but so is losing. And the line and the limit between losing and winning are so thin you can barely see it with a magnifying glass.

Since everyone wants to win, and everyone is serious about winning, we strive for precision and perfection; we strive for faultless and flawless; we strive for the fantastic and the fanciful. We strive for Oscar-winning performances on and off the court. And with help from the Heavens, we hope to have happy, healthy, joyful and jovial endings to all, or at least most, of our games. It’s that serious.

And here’s an excerpt from Washington Post Sports Columnist Jason Ried’s article on the win:

“Recent signs indicate the Terrapins possess what it takes to have some fun in the NCAA tournament, and the biggest one occurred Tuesday night during a stirring 59-53 victory over formidable Wisconsin.”

“Dez Wells wouldn’t let us lose,” Coach Mark Turgeon said. “Melo was Melo.”

“Picked 10th in the conference preseason poll, Maryland steadily has gained supporters. It’s easy to like an up-and-comer that seemed to come from nowhere. Guess who was ahead of the pack.”

“The victory was the Terrapins’ best of the season by far . . . “

And that’s serious, and that’s fun.

What Does Winnng Look Like?

 Dayton Flyers

What does winning look like? Winning looks like the Dayton Flyers defeating Ohio State in the first round and deflating the Syracuse Orangemen in the second round. Winning looks like the Dayton team piling on each other at center court after the first big win. Winning looks like Mercer beating Duke in the first round. Winning looks like Kentucky outlasting undefeated Wichita State and Virginia beating Memphis by 18.  Winning looks good, especially when you’re the one winning.

We know what winning looks like and we know what winning doesn’t look like. It doesn’t look like losing; it doesn’t look like long faces of shame or slow paces after the game. We know that losing “sucks;” yet we know that losing is a part of winning just like death is a part of life and just like dying is a part of living. No healthy human wants to die, and no agile athlete wants to lose. We know that everyone who has a hunger for the game wants to win and everyone who has a passion for the same hates to lose.

So what does losing look like? Spiritually speaking, losing is as ugly as 40 miles of bad road. Losing is like having a bad hair day. Losing is gut-wrenching and heart-aching. And so we conclude that losing looks like this: Eve being deceived by the Serpent; Adam and Eve eating of the forbidden fruit; and Cain murdering his brother, and then lying to God about it.

Winning does not look like and does not sound like and does not feel like losing. Unfortunately, losing, Biblically speaking, is found in every life of every legend in the Bible. Abraham, his son, and his sons’s sons were pathological liars. Moses was a murderer and David orchestrated a murder mystery second to none. All of our Heroes of the faith had moral taint and immoral tendencies. And yet they all “won.”

And so we conclude that winning is a spiritual thing. We conclude that we cannot win by ourselves, in and of ourselves. We only win in Christ. We only triumph when we trust; we only subjugate when we surrender, we only rout the enemy when we have been redeemed by our Eternal Friend, Jesus Christ the Righteous.

So remember that wining in Christ doesn’t look like winning in the world. Contrary to the propositions of the prosperity preachers, winning is not necessarily a nice new car and a huge new house. Winning is not necessarily living to gain or life without pain. First and foremost, winning is spiritual. Our victory is our reliance and relationship with Him. No one is perfect and everyone doesn’t win every game. But our victory is found and bound in a life lived to win the pleasure of God and not the applause of men.

GOD WINS!

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Rome iPhone Pics 087

I had the opportunity to visit Rome this summer. Yes Rome. Before you start hatin’ on me, let me give you the sports/spiritual tie-in.

The most significant thing I took away from the trip was the power and grace of God working through the early Church to transform the Roman Empire from pagan warriors to pious worshipers in only 300 years.  The faith and fearlessness of the early Christians overcame the Roman world which worshiped many gods. 

The glory of Rome that our group saw in the ruins of the Coliseum, the Palatine Palace, Forum and Pantheon (still standing and pictured above) was no match for the Glory of God shinning through the early church believers, many whom were martyred.  In their hey-day, Imperial Rome thought that their empire would last forever.  NOT! The Pantheon, that marvelous temple built in honor of the Roman gods, is now a church, where worship of the true and living God takes place. In the end, God always wins! Continue reading