Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Random Sports Reflections on Leap Day

Today is Leap Day, otherwise known as my birthday.  Hope all of you celebrate Leap Day accordingly and responsibly.

*I'm getting excited for March Madness.  Even though the first part of the college baskeball season I really didn't keep up with things, I have in the last month or so.  Living in a city with pretty decent mid-major schools (USC Upstate, Wofford), I've got to watch some pretty good basketball.  I'm hoping both teams win their conference tourneys and make the Big Dance.  They have the ability to if things fall the right way.  Emphasis on the "fall the right way".

*Baseball season is about to get going as well.  It's weird not living in an MLB city for the first time since 2004 (Although Atlanta is only a few hours away).  I'm excited to see how the Royals will do.  They might actually do something this year hopefully.

*It's cool that in pro sports there are guys at the highest level that are living out their faith for Jesus and it's protrayed (mostly) in a positive manner in the media.  From Tim Tebow, to Jeremy Lin, to Clayton Kershaw, there are lots of examples.  I hope that trend will continue.  It's good to hear positive stories about athletes than negative ones.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Jumping on the Jeremy Lin Bandwagon

Let me preface this by saying two things.  One, I'm not as big of an NBA fan since the debacle that was David Stern & Clay Bennett allowing the Sonics to leave Seattle in such a horrible way.  Two, since moving to SC I have seen zero NBA games because I have no cable & internet access is minimal.

However, when there are good stories I tend to pay attention and this would be one of those stories.  I always enjoy hearing a good underdog story.  I also enjoy hearing athletes who are believers who share their faith both in action and in words.  So when you have a story that involves both?  As a friend would say "even gooder".

Jeremy Lin, the "it" player right now, is both those things.  He is an underdog story in that he graduated from Harvard and went undrafted in 2010.  He spent his rookie season mainly on the bench of the Golden State Warriors.  He then was cut by them to start the year, then signed & cut by the Houston Rockets, then signed by the New York Knicks, rode the bench & even spent time in the D-League.  But due to some injuries, he was brought back up and given the chance to play.  And from that, the "Linsanity" began.  He has had some Sportcenter worthy performances and has been on a tremendous roll.

He also is very honest and vocal about his faith in Jesus Christ.  I love this quote that I came across a few years ago in an interview with InterVarsity:

"I think one of the most rewarding experiences in life is to see people come to Christ and make lifestyle changes. When that happens, you definitely see God behind it. . . . I'm really thankful that God is changing somebody, or sometimes he's changing me. To see that transformation brings me a lot of satisfaction and fulfillment. I definitely want to do something in ministry down the road, maybe as a pastor if that's where God leads."

Kudos to Jeremy Lin and wish him the best in the rest of this season and for whatever God has in store for him.  I might acutally keep up with the NBA a little more now....

Monday, February 6, 2012

Reflections on Josh Hamilton

I would have blogged about this earlier but I helped take a group of college students to a winter conference/retreat in Myrtle Beach, SC (which was amazing).  So now I'm getting around to it.  News broke Friday morning about Josh Hamilton having a relapse.  When I first heard the news there was little (and I mean very little) detail about what had happened because the news just broke.  It wasn't until later that I heard more and honestly until today that I got a "full" idea of what happened.

There has been a lot said this weekend, some good (there's a great article by Yahoo Sports writer Jeff Passan that was particularly good, you can read it here) while others were not.  For me personally, I felt bad for Josh.  I can only imagine what it must be like to try and deal with addictions to drugs and alcohol (I've never drank nor taken illegal drugs).

But I do know what it's like to struggle with sin.  We all have a sin problem.  None of us are immune to sin.  We are inclined to sin.  It is an addiction.  Even for those who follow Jesus, who trust in Him as their Lord and Savior like I do, there still is that sinful nature inside of us.  And as long as we are alive (or until Jesus comes back), it is something we will all continue to struggle with.  There are those days when the temptation to sin isn't that strong but then the temptation comes back strong.

We are not perfect.  We follow the one who is.  We are called to strive for perfection.  But God understands when we mess up.  He is willing and ready to accept us back when we acknowledge we mess up and repent.  And it's a day by day process.  Jesus told his disciples to deny themselves daily and take up their cross and follow Him.  We who follow Jesus have to die to ourselves daily and follow after Christ.

I pray for Josh and his family.  I pray that they continue to follow Christ and trust in Him during the good times and the bad.  And I hope that those of us that hear his story are reminded of Jesus and how He's willing to forgive us when we mess up and willing to take us back when we repent.