Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Another Positive Story from the World of Sports

I read about this story on Monday. I wanted to share it with you. It comes from and I think that it pretty much speaks for itself. I'll only add that this is one reason why I enjoy sports and what they can bring to people involved:

Two missed free throws, ordinarily the cause of a coach's headache, became the symbol of sportsmanship in a Milwaukee boys' basketball game earlier this month.
Milwaukee Madison senior Johntell Franklin, who lost his mother, Carlitha, to cancer on Saturday, Feb. 7, decided he wanted to play in that night's game against DeKalb (Ill.) High School after previously indicating he would sit out.

He arrived at the gym in the second quarter, but Franklin's name was not in the scorebook because his coach, Aaron Womack Jr., didn't expect him to be there.
Rules dictated Womack would have to be assessed a technical, but he was prepared to put Franklin in the game anyway. DeKalb coach Dave Rohlman and his players knew of the situation, and told the referees they did not want the call.

The referees had no choice. But Rohlman did.

"I gathered my kids and said, 'Who wants to take these free throws?'" Rohlman said, recounting the game to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "Darius McNeal put up his hand. I said, 'You realize you're going to miss, right?' He nodded his head."

McNeal, a senior point guard, went to the line. The Milwaukee Madison players stayed by their bench, waiting for the free throws. Instead of seeing the ball go through the net, they saw the ball on the court, rolling over the end line.

"I turned around and saw the ref pick up the ball and hand it back to the player," Womack said in the Journal Sentinel. "And then [McNeal] did the same thing again."

Said Rohlman: "Darius set up for a regular free throw, but he only shot it two or three feet in front of him. It bounced once or twice and just rolled past the basket."

"I did it for the guy who lost his mom," McNeal told the newspaper. "It was the right thing to do."

Womack, overwhelmed by DeKalb's gesture, wrote a letter to the DeKalb Daily Chronicle, which had first reported the story.

"As a principal, school, school district staff, and community you should all feel immense pride for the remarkable job that the coaching staff is doing in not only coaching these young men, but teaching them how to be leaders," Womack wrote.

DeKalb had traveled more than two hours for the game, and waited another two as Womack rushed from the hospital, where he had been with Franklin, to the school to gather his team.
"We were sympathetic to the circumstances and the events," Rohlman said in the Journal Sentinel. "We even told Coach Womack that it'd be OK to call off the game, but he said we had driven 2½ hours to get here and the kids wanted to play. So we said, 'Spend some time with your team and come out when you're ready.'"

The two schools had met twice previously, and this one ended with a Madison victory, but as in the other games, they also shared a pizza dinner, "four kids to a pizza, two Madison kids and two DeKalb kids," Womack told the Journal Sentinel.

"That letter became a big deal in DeKalb," Rohlman said in the paper. "We got lots of positive calls and e-mails because of it. Even though we lost the game, it was a true life lesson, and it's not one our kids are going to forget anytime soon."

Womack, in his letter to the DeKalb Daily Chronicle, added this at the end: "I'd like to recognize Darius who stepped up to miss the shot on purpose. He could have been selfish and cared only for his own stats [I hope Coach Rohlman doesn't make him run for missing the free throws]."

Saturday, February 14, 2009

One Year Anniversary

It has been one year since I started this blog. The experiment of doing a sports and theology blog. I've enjoyed doing this and it's something that I look forward to continuing to do into the next year. I'm sure there will be plenty of stories to choose from and reflect upon. For those of you that have been here since the beginning, thanks. I hope you continue on with me on this journey and bring others along with you.

Here's to another year reflecting on sports!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Steroids: The Continued Black Eye on Baseball

It seems like the consequences of the use of steroids and "performance enhancing" drugs still seems to follow baseball like a shadow. The news that broke today that Alex Rodriguez admitted to taking steroids back in 2003.

Personally this saddens me. Understandably, I'm not a fan of A-Rod to begin with. This goes back to him leaving Seattle for that huge contract and then ending up with the Yankees. But it would have been nice if he wasn't on steroids so that there was the possiblity that he could break the records of Barry Bonds and 'clean' up the records. Now, that will not happen.

Growing up, I really did like baseball. But it seems like in the past decade and a half, the sport has done a lot to itself that it needs to make amends for (the strike, steroid scandal, no salary cap which makes for little parity). The sport has tried to turn things around. But it really needs to make the effort to do it. Otherwise, the sport will be supplanted (if it hasn't already) as "America's Pasttime"...

(The story itself can be seen at this link at

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Tracy McGrady and Darfur

I was thinking about what next to blog about. There was the Super Bowl and how the game went (which I thought ended wrongly, should've been reviewed). There was the issue with Michael Phelps and the picture of him smoking marajuana (he was wrong in doing that, at least he took responsiblity when it came out).

But when I saw this article, I thought this was the one I would share and speak on. In September 2007, Tracy McGrady, All-Star Forward for the Houston Rockets went to the Darfur region in Sudan to see for himself what was going on there with the genocide. It was an eye-opening experience for him and from that has helped to establish the Darfur Dream Team Sister Schools program. Here's the description of the program from their website (

The Sister Schools Program is an initiative to connect American middle schools, high schools, colleges, and universities with sister schools in the 12 refugee camps in Chad. The two main objectives of the program are: (1) to provide a quality education to every refugee child from Darfur and (2) to develop connections between students from Darfur and the U.S. Through the Sister Schools Program, students in the U.S. will make commitments to a UN-affiliated registry for items such as textbooks and teacher training. Video linkages between the schools in the camps and the U.S. schools will connect the students and be a vehicle for cross-cultural exchange. NBA players will be major recruiters for the program and will also make financial contributions to refugee camp schools.

It is good to hear these stories getting out. Athletes are role models and they can make an impact both negatively and positively. I'm glad to hear that Tracy is involved in something like this. More people need to hear about the evils that are taking place in Darfur and the responsibility, especially of those who follow Jesus, to get involved in effecting change there.

I'll leave you with this video that documents some of Tracy's visit to Darfur:

(The article was from and can be viewed here)