Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Reflections on Phil Jackson and Christmas Games

I thought it was rather interesting when I heard the latest comments from Phil Jackson, head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers.  He was addressing the media this week about playing on Christmas Day.  He starts out rather innocently by saying "It used to be two teams.  It used to be Phoenix and L.A. and New York and Boston or New York and Philly or somebody on the East coast. Now I see that they have like six games on Christmas."  (it's actually five games this year)

He then goes onto say this:  "I don't think anybody should play on Christmas Day.  Soccer teams don't play this time of year, they take a break.  I don't understand it.  When I was in the CBA, we had a commissioner who had a Christmas Eve game.  I had to call him up and say that's the holy time. ... You just have to keep reminding them that this is a special day."

The one quote that actually stood out was the following:  "It's like Christian holidays don't mean anything to them anymore.  We just go out and play and entertain the TV. It's really weird."  This stood out for several reasons.  One, this comes from a man who follows Zen Buddhism.  Two, in the article, it mentions that he is the son of a minister (which I didn't know).

My thoughts on this:  I don't necessarily have a problem with what he's saying per se.  Growing up there was really only one NBA Christmas Day game.  It was special.  Now it's almost like any other slate of games for a day/night.  There are actually more than double the games on Christmas Day than Thanksgiving Day (only two games).  There are more people who will be working on Christmas than Thanksgiving this year in several NBA cities.

As a follower of Jesus, I am glad for Christmas.  It is a reminder of the birth of Christ.  We should not forget that importance.  Even more so, we should not forget the importance of this death and resurrection.  For those who are working on Christmas Day, including players, coaches, staff, arena workers, I hope that in the midst of working that the are reminded of for lack of a better phrase "The Reason for the Season".  And I would love for Phil Jackson to not just recognize the time of the year but to also recognize Jesus as his Lord and Savior.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Back at LP Field after a Hiatus....Tennessee Titans Game in Review

I'm back after a short hiatus and the first entry back talks about a return from another hiatus....attending a Tennessee Titans game.  I was at the Titans/Texans game on Sunday.  I went with my girlfriend Casey and it was my first Titans game I've attended since December 2007.

It was cold game but not too bad.  Our seats were in the lower level in the north end zone right next to the Titans tunnel.  The sun was shining on us for pregame through essentially the first half which made it feel kinda warm.  The sun kind of hid behind the stadium for the second half and it cooled down.

The Titans, who had been cooled down for weeks, finally warmed up and essentially laid the smackdown against the Texans.  They jumped up early on the Texans in the first quarter and rolled to a victory 31-17.  Here were some observations from me:

*I liked the aggressive nature by the team.  They went for it on 4th down twice and converted both times.  They probably should have done that the week before but at least they did it this week.
*I didn't notice it was Vince Young on the sidelines until he was leaving.  I saw a guy jogging to the tunnel and he waived.  While he was doing this I turned to Casey and said "I think that's Vince Young."
*All the scoring except for the field goal at the end of the 1st half was on the other end of the field.  I was disappointed that the refs called an offsides on the Titans negating a Pick 6 where McCourty ran towards our end.

After this win, the Titans are 5-1 in games I attend (the lone loss was in a preseason game).  It's a slim chance that they can make the playoffs but with the way this season is going I wouldn't be too shocked.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Reflections on Steve Johnson & His Tweet to God

Sometimes there are stories in sports that are just ripe for talking about.  This happened to be one of them.  Steve Johnson (or Stevie Johnson as he's also known) is a wide receiver for the Buffalo Bills.  He's having a breakout season in his third year in the league.  He has 9 touchdowns already and is on pace for a 1,000 yard receiving season.  He helped the Bills in a comeback win against the Bengals a couple of weeks ago.

Last Sunday he didn't have such a great game.  He dropped several passes including one in overtime that would've won the game for the Bills.  Instead the Steelers went on to win on a field goal.  After the game, Johnson talked with the media and shared about how he won't forget about that dropped pass.  You could tell he was really taking it hard.  I felt bad for him.

A few hours later, on his twitter account was this tweet: 

His tweet was addressed to God.  When I first heard about this I was like really?  It came across initially as he was blaming God for dropping those passes.  Now prior to Sunday, I knew a little about him and it seemed like he had faith in God.  So when I saw that tweet I was like huh?

Have there been times in my life when I've questioned God?  Yes but I usually kept that between the Father and me.  I never really expressed it aloud, and I didn't tweet about it.  There have been times I've been frustrated with God.  So in that sense I understand some where Johnson was coming from.  Would I have sent that tweet if I was in his shoes?  Probably not.  I might have typed it out but I don't think I would've hit the send button.

Do I think he has a legit faith?  Yeah I think so.  I would hope this has been a learning experience for him.  I think I've learned from it.  It's a reminder that God allows us to throw up questions to Him.  He may not give us the answer at the time but He does answer.  He has a plan and purpose for all of us.

We have a sphere of influence with which God allows us to express our faith and witness for Him.  We are to take the opportunities God provides whether good or bad and use them for His glory and purpose.

(The next day after his tweet to God, Johnson responded by saying this: 
I learned A lot Within 24hrs. Saw Both Sides.(Ups&Dwns) I AM HAPPY & THANKFUL 4 YESTERDAY! w/out Sunday iWldnt have grew closer w/The Lord!!
And No I Did Not Blame God People! Seriously??!? CMon! I Simply Cried Out And Asked Why? Jus Like yal did wen sumthin went wrong n ur life!
So Before Yall..well I'm pretty sure you've awready judged me. I hope you guys look n the mirror. I dnt blame u 4 being mad @ my gm I WAS 2!
Spoke To Friends Fam Teammates and Most Importantly I Spoke With My Wife. I Honestly Believe Evrything Happens For A Reason! Everything!)