SPORTSPASTOR


Christians in Sports – Florida Quarterback, Tim Tebow
November 9, 2008, 7:05 pm
Filed under: sports outreach, sportspastor | Tags: , , , , , ,

Tim Tebow is the quarterback for the Florida Gators. He was the first college football player to both rush and pass for 20 touchdowns in a season and was the first sophomore to ever win the Heisman Trophy. Since Tebow won the Heisman Trophy, he has sought to spread his message of faith as far as possible. Winning college football’s most coveted individual award has provided him with a broader audience.

“Because of my name recognition and because of who I am, I’ve been given an opportunity to go places where most other people can’t go,” Tebow said. “I can go into prisons and speak, and no one will say anything. I can go into schools and speak, and they’ll love to have me. I can go to all these different places because of who I am as a football player. That’s a platform the Lord has given me, and I think it’s my responsibility to take advantage of it.”

Please take time to read the following article by Mark Schlabach who covers college football and men’s college basketball for ESPN.com. Read the full article, “Heisman provides Tebow broader audience for message of faith” here.

This inspiring article is full of quotes from Tim Tebow and details his experience of leading 120 inmates to trust Christ during a recent visit to the Gainesville Correctional Institute, a minimum-medium security state prison in Florida.



NBA TV, TNT, and ESPN 2008-09 Regular Season Schedule is a Slam Dunk

For those of you who love the NBA and those of you with Fantasy Football quarterbacks with injuries, it is time for the tip-off of the 2008-09 NBA regular season. Turner Sports enters their 25th season of broadcasting the NBA with a perfect double-header. Opening night features the defending champion Boston Celtics versus LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. 

If you are a night owl, you can catch the second great game of the double-header. The Portland Trail Blazers travel to LA to challenge the Lakers, a game featuring Greg Oden’s long-awaited NBA debut. A special one-hour preview show precedes Tuesday’s doubleheader.

Opening week continues Wednesday with ESPN’s national telecasts of Phoenix at San Antonio and a Staples Center home team showdown, Lakers and Clippers. TNT follows with a Texas two-step for the early game on Thursday, as Houston visits Dallas (I will be there for this one!). The late game features rising star Chris Paul and the New Orleans Hornets at the Phoenix Suns.

ESPN networks are televising 72 regular-season games, which include 29 games on Wednesdays and 35 on Fridays. The slate consists of 27 doubleheaders.

TNT is televising 53 regular-season games, including 47 as part of Thursday night doubleheaders and a tripleheader on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. TNT also exclusively televises NBA All-Star 2009 festivities in Phoenix from Feb. 13-15, culminating with the NBA All-Star Game on Sunday, Feb. 15.

NBA TV will televise live studio programming six days a week from the new NBA TV studio in Atlanta. NBA TV will also broadcast 96 live games throughout the regular season — the most of any national network.

This is going to be a great season. Can Boston repeat as champs? Will the Lakers take it to another level? Be sure and find my recent post on the Celtics and Lakers (sidebar “Breaking Posts”) and vote for who you think will win it all in 2009.



NBA GM Survey Predicts Lakers to be Champions in 2009

According to a survey of the league’s general managers, forty-six percent of GMs predicted the Lakers would win the 2009 NBA title. The defending champion Celtics were a distant second at nineteen percent. Honestly, a rematch would be nice, but I do not even predict that the Lakers will make the NBA Finals this season, much less win it all. I say that the Celtics will beat the Houston Rockets in the 2009 NBA Finals to win their 18th NBA Championship. What is your prediction?



Brett “the Jet” Favre

Yes, Brett Favre is a New York Jet. Would you like proof that everyone still loves Brett Favre even though he hogged the headlines this summer like a baseball pitcher on steroids? Here is your proof: More than 6,500 Brett Favre New York Jets jerseys were sold on NFLShop.com on Thursday, obliterating a previous sales record set last year.

NFLShop.com, announced the numbers Friday, noting that the jerseys went on sale just after 6 a.m. Thursday, less than five hours after he was traded by the Green Bay Packers. The previous record of just 900 jerseys was set on Nov. 11, 2007, by none other than Dallas Cowboys QB Tony Romo.

The story that was most interesting to me was the deal between the Jets and the Packers in the Brett “the Jet” Favre trade. He was traded for a “conditional draft pick” and some very important fine print.

Here is the conditional draft pick breakdown: The draft pick traded for Favre turns into a third-round selection if he plays in 50 percent of the plays this season, a second-rounder if he plays in 70 percent of the plays and the Jets qualify for the playoffs, and a first-round pick if he plays in 80 percent of the plays and Jets make it to the Super Bowl.

Even better than that is the fact that the Packers took great pains to ensure Favre would not be traded to the Vikings, or any other NFC North team, by inserting some very demanding fine print into the deal. If Favre were to be traded to any team in the Packers’ division, the Jets would have to surrender three first-round picks to Green Bay. The trade also includes provisions preventing a trade to another team if that new team were to trade him to the NFC North.

So my dream team of Favre and Adrian Peterson (Vikings) playing together is simply that, just a dream. As far as Favre playing for the Jets…I just wish the Packers and Jets were scheduled to play each other this season. The only way that they could play each other would be if they met in the Super Bowl and that is obviously not going to happen.



Extreme Makeover: Sports Edition

One of my favorite TV shows is Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. It is rare you will find me watching television that is not sports related, but this reality series has grabbed my heart and attention. Why? Because they provide not only a new home, but a custom home based upon the specific needs of a deserving family. The best part is that the entire community comes together to show love in a tangible way that will make a lasting impact on a family in need.

Last night’s episode hit close to home for me. A blended family of seven were living in a house that was only 600 square feet, because they could not afford anything bigger. The father had grown up on the streets and made costly mistakes that he was determined his children would not make. The part that was special to me is that this family loved sports and both the mom and dad were youth sports coaches who serve the families in their community. They even run the concession stand at the local sports complex. Now the families in their community had a chance to serve them.

So the family goes on vacation to Disney World for 7 days while the builders and volunteers from the community build them a brand new home. When they arrive home to see their new place they are informed that an anonymous donor paid off their mortgage. Wait. It gets better. West Virginia University also committed to cover tuition for all five children when they are ready to attend college.

This is true community. If your church sports program is inward focused you are missing the point. You are missing a opportunity to share the love of Christ in word and deed. Our words alone are not going to change the world. It is when they are accompanied by loving acts of service that the world will stop in their tracks and wonder what motivated such compassion. And I know that for many on Extreme Makeover, they are giving back to their community as a means to reflect the love of Jesus to the world He came to save.



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…



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.”