SPORTSPASTOR


Baseball Hall of Shame – Random, Weird Injuries

When Michael Jordan has the flu, he scores over 40 points in the NBA Finals and usually makes the winning basket at the buzzer. When Tiger Woods plays golf on an injured knee and broken leg he wins the U.S. Open on the 19th hole of a playoff. Emmitt Smith, the NFL’s all-time leading rusher, played with pain and led the Dallas Cowboys to a division-clinching win over the New York Giants despite a dislocated shoulder.

Baseball might have a few stories of this kind, but for me the MLB is best known for random, weird injuries that send a player to the DL. The latest is the greatest. Until last week I had never heard of a pillow-lifting injury in baseball — that is, until Detroit Tigers’ Brandon Inge reported the following details about the injury that brought him “down”:

“It was the stupidest, most freakish thing,” Inge said Wednesday, explaining why he had just been placed on the 15-day DL with the pulled side muscle (oblique) he suffered 3 1/2 weeks ago. “I have a 3-year-old son who sleeps in the bed with my wife and me,” Inge said. “I was trying to push the pillow down behind his head (two nights ago), and when I did … I repopped (the strained muscle). Upon hearing this story, manager Jim Leyland said, “That’s a first.”

It may be the first “pillow push” injury, but it is definitely not the first wacky baseball injury. After a little bit of research, I now present to you those who are a part of the MLB’s weird injury fraternity:

Vince Coleman (Cardinals)
Missed the 1985 World Series after getting rolled up in the field tarp machine. How does a guy as fast as the base-stealing Coleman lose to a tarp machine?

John Smoltz (Braves)
The starting pitcher once burned his chest while ironing a shirt … which he was still wearing. Nice!

Tom Glavine (Braves)
Apparently trying to impress his “iron man” teammate, Glavine broke a rib in 1992 while throwing up airplane food.

Nolan Ryan (Astros)
The Hall of Fame pitcher once missed a start after being bitten on his hand … by a coyote.

Sammy Sosa (Cubs)
Sneezed his way onto the DL with a back injury in 2004.

But my favorite of all is Steve Sparks who dislocated his shoulder when he tried to impersonate a motivational speaker by attempting to rip a phone book in half. What is your favorite? What famous injury did I miss? Your turn…

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Sports Outreach: Reflecting Christ Through Sports

One of the most read posts on the SportsPastor blog consistently has been my commentary on coach Tony Dungy.

“There is just something different about him.” “He has different priorities than other people of his profession.” “You just sense a certain presence about him when you are around him.” What do all of these statements have in common? They are all statements made by sports writers in an attempt to describe what they perceive as positive character traits of Tony Dungy, head coach of the World Champion Indianapolis Colts. Tony Kornheiser, Billy Packer and others have recently made the comments above. They can almost put their finger on the fact that Tony Dungy is different because he is a sold out believer in Jesus Christ. It is obvious that the Spirit of God is in him. What a tremendous witness! In the last two seasons he has gone through the most horrific experience of losing his son to suicide and the most exciting moment in sports as victors of the Super Bowl. His response to trials and triumphs should be an example to us all that Christ can be seen in our highs and in our lows. I pray that all of us would have an opportunity for people to say of our witness, “There is just something different about them.”

Over a year later I write this post with tears in my eyes. It actually happened to me. A humbling experience. An honor that in some small way I was able to represent and reflect Christ with my life. Here is how it happened:

I coach a 4th grade basketball team out of my love for Christ, children, and sports. I normally coach in Christian leagues, but this year I had the opportunity to coach in a select city league. My two-fold goal is to help the kids build skills and character. I look at every moment as a teaching moment. I have learned how to strike a fine balance between fun and fundamentals in practice. I also strive for them to do their best at every game, even if that looks different on any given Saturday.

Now that the season is over I can only glance at the trophy that represents an undefeated championship season and great memories for every child and their families. But I have a memory from this season that I will never forget. It was relayed to me by my friend and fellow coach that the alcoholic, unchurched father of our star player had pulled him aside after the championship game and said, “I sure like Derrek. He gives everything he has to make sure that the team is safe and successful, but there is something more… There is just something different about him. What is it?”, he asked. My friend and fellow coach replied, “He loves Jesus and it shows.”

George Barna has said in many of his books on the unchurched that, “Many people remain unchurched because they have looked us (Christians) and do not especially like what they see.”

Barna continues – “When God becomes the true priority in our lives, and when we imitate the heart of Christ and live in the power of the indwelling Spirit, what we represent will be irresistible.”



2007 Summer Basketball Camp

The tag line for our ministry is: “Building Skills. Building Character.” I can say without a doubt that the 125 boys and girls that attended our 2007 Summer Basketball Camp learned skills specific to the sport and character lessons essential to life. Our character lessons for the Monday – Friday camp were on teamwork, excellence, discipline, sacrifice, and of course, character. The fundamental skills of passing, dribbling, shooting, defense, rebounding, and free-throws were taught by our coaches on Monday-Thursday and Friday was competition day. Every day the campers had the opportunity to participate in scrimmages and chalk talks.

There were special events that highlighted each camp day. On Monday, we had a basketball trivia contest where kids had the opportunity to win prizes. On Tuesday, we had the former Strength and Conditioning Coach of the Dallas Cowboys, Dallas Mavericks, and Dallas Burn professional sports teams work with the campers. On Wednesday, the coaches played a full court game representing the Texas Longhorns and the Texas Aggies. Believe it or not, the Aggies won! And on Friday, Mavs Man, the high-flying mascot of the Dallas Mavericks closed the camp with a slam-dunk show.

What about Thursday? Well, it was the highlight of the entire week. Coach C presented the Gospel to the campers and 20 boys and girls responded to the message by trusting Christ as their Lord and Savior. Of the 20 young people, only 5 were from our church. This is a testament to the effeciveness of sports outreach ministry as a means of reaching your community for Christ. Cast the vision of outreach and evangelism and you will have no problem motivating people to join you in ministry. We were blessed with a wonderful camp director, rotation director, coaching staff, and group leaders. Without the help of these 23 volunteers and the volunteers that worked behind the scenes, a camp of this magnitude would not have been possible. Thank you to everyone for making the 2007 Basketball Summer Camp one of the best camps ever!