Archive for the ‘Sports’ Category

What We (and Baseball Players) Can Learn From Jason Heyward

baseball2Concern. Growing concern. Devastation. That is how we, as Atlanta Braves fans, reacted. Jason Heyward is most likely gone for the season and the playoffs after being flattened by a 90 mph fastball that ricocheted off his jaw. Even the New York crowd gasped as the wayward pitch landed with a numbing thud.

At first we hoped the pitch from the Met’s Jonathon Niese hit Heyward’s helmet—or at least a partial hit of the head protection. But no; the ball hit square into the right jaw and the dazed Heyward immediately staggeringly twirled and began wilting forward across home plate as catcher John Buck reached out to stabilize him. While assisting Buck in catching Heyward in mid-fall, the umpire hastily summoned the medical staff.

Oh no.

People like me are mere fans. We want our Braves in the World Series. We have watched our 2013 Braves be surprisingly resilient in the face of injury after compounding injury. Now, the diving left fielding, game saving, base stealing and leadoff batting Heyward is lost for the pennant run. But that’s us. We are just the fans. What about Heyward?

What about Jason?

Jason Heyward, too, is a fan. He, too, has an interest in the success of the Braves. He also has an interest in, yes, his own well-being. That is what makes one piece of the replay of the hit so tantalizing.  While most of us will focus on the speed of the ball, the location of the jaw smack, the pain and the consequences of the injury on the National League race for home field advantage, there was something else that took place in the replay which caused me to endow more respect in the 24-year-old. Continue reading

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Facing the Giant Christian Myths

“Dad you will really like this movie.” Like many families, we sometimes have battles regarding which movies are permissible and which ones are not. Our youngest daughter was confident I would like this movie. So I asked her, “Why do you think I will like this one?” “It’s about football and Christians.” She had already seen the movie and in her mind there could not be any better movie for me—a Christian movie about football! She knows me pretty well.

I had heard positive reports on Facing the Giants. Therefore, when I saw it for just $5 at our local Kroger on Black Friday I picked it up. One evening that weekend my daughters and I sat down with our popcorn to watch the movie. It held our attention, but my response was not what my daughters expected. Continue reading

The Umpires Were Right After All

I was in an adjourning room where my parents and girls were watching today’s game between the Atlanta Braves and New York Mets. Listening, I could tell something unusual had happened. I wasn’t sure what had happened on the play, but I could tell that when the dust settled the Fox announcers were adamant the umpires incorrectly ruled. Repeatedly, the self-assured announcer expressed his bewilderment over the final ruling.

The play in question came in the 5th inning with the scored tied at 3. Martin Prado of the Braves was on first base with one out. Jason Heyward hit a line drive toward the Mets’ Jordany Valdespin. Valdespin dove at the ball and immediately the third base umpire, the crew chief, ruled Hayward out as a result of Valdespin’s diving catch. Prado, believing the ball had not been caught, reached second and then was trapped retreating for first base where he would be the last out in the inning-ending double play. After the play, the umpires conferred and ruled that the ball had not been caught on the fly and, therefore, Heyward was safe at first. However, they also awarded Prado second base.

The announcers agreed that the umpires made the right call in awarding Heyward first as the replay showed the ball bouncing off the grass before Valdespin’s glove grabbed it. However, the announcers were abundantly confident Prado should be called out Continue reading

Roll Tide Roll! Why Does It Matter?

It is now just days away from the BCS Championship Game for the 2009 NCAA College football season. The Crimson Tide of Alabama will be entering the game on a quest for their 13th national championship. I hope BAMA wins. Hope is too mild of a word. Honestly, I think about it constantly. To me, it matters. But why? Why does it matter if my team wins the game…the championship game?  Why is football so important to me? I am almost fifty years of age; shouldn’t my focus display more maturity?

This post is all about the struggle I face with warped priorities. This is my attempt to think out loud and perhaps discover why I long for something so trivial as my football team winning.

My disproportionate love for Alabama football affects my life well beyond what I want to admit. It disturbs me that this warped value system permeates Continue reading