The Five: Five Coolest Sporting Events Seen Live

For this edition of “The Five”, I thought I would take a look at the five coolest sporting events I got to see live.  I’m a huge sports fan across the board and there’s a lot of games I’ve been to (and places/events I still want to see.  But up to this point, here are the five (in no particular order):

1.) AFC Wild Card Game January 8, 2000 Buffalo Bills vs. Tennessee Titans

The game that became known as the “Music City Miracle”.  It was my first ever NFL game in person.  It was a big enough event in and of itself being a playoff game and it being the hometown team.  Even more so to have an epic play that propelled the Titans on a playoff run into the Super Bowl.

2.) 2000 Conference USA Men’s Basketball Tournament Final March 11, 2000 Saint Louis vs. DePaul

This was cool for several reasons.  It was the first time I got to see Division I basketball and it was a conference tournament final.  Some friends of mine from college and I drove down to Memphis to see the game in the Pyramid.  The game wasn’t as memorable as just the experience with friends.

3.) Cleveland Indians vs. Kansas City Royals May 19, 2009

This was in a lot of way just a typical MLB regular season game but the circumstances behind the game and in the game make it memorable to me.  Earlier that month at seminary, there was a chapel that involved the manager at the time of the Kansas City Royals and the general manager.  There were some giveaways at that chapel and that included tickets to a game.  Well one of my friends ended up getting a four pack of tickets and asked some guy including me to go.  So this was the game the tickets were for.  The seats were lower level kinda near home plate not too far from the players’ families section.  During batting practice I ended up with a baseball and would later get it signed by the manager.  Then the game itself, the Royals were down three runs in the bottom of the 9th and scored 4 runs in the bottom of the ninth (including two back to back home runs, a walk, a triple and a sac fly) to win the game 6-5.

4.) Houston Texans vs Seattle Seahawks October 16, 2005

This was my first primetime NFL game that I got to see in person.  It was cool to see the Seahawks play in person during their first Super Bowl run.  I had gotten tickets from a friend of mine and was able to sit lower level right in the end zone where I got to see a lot of scores from the Seahawks

5.) Memphis Grizzlies vs Seattle Supersonics December 31, 2005

This was a great game not just because it was two of my favorite teams playing each other but it was also New Year’s Eve and after the game got to watch fireworks to ring in the new year at the Space Needle.

So that’s my five (for now).  What would be yours?

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Thursday Quote Day: Tommy Amaker

For this week’s “Thursday Quote Day”, here is a quote from college basketball coach Tommy Amaker:

“It takes toughness to endure, to get up and to come back with some fight in you. And to do that with a positive attitude. That takes real toughness.” (Tommy Amaker)

Thursday Quote Day: Mike Krzyzewski

This week’s “Thursday Quote Day” is a quote from college basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski:

“We are not born tough. We may be born into a great family situation or a difficult family situation that forces or conditions you to be tough, but we aren’t born that way. Toughness comes from how you handle your experiences, what you learn from them, and how you are guided through them by others in your life.” (Mike Krzyzewski)

Switchfoot and “Fading West”

fadingwest

About a week or so, I watched on Netflix Instant Streaming the documentary Fading West.  The documentary was on the band Switchfoot and their world tour/recording of their latest album, which is appropriately titled Fading West.  Switchfoot (for those that may not know) is a rock band that has been going since the mid/late 90s.  They are also Christians so their faith direct their lives and their music.

I was introduced to their music while in college.  My best friend (and one of my roommates), had one of their albums playing one time in his room while working on an assignment.  I listened to it and thought it was cool and went to pick it up myself and have been a fan of the band ever since.

So during the film while the band is in the middle of their world tour, they received some tough news.  Jon Foreman, the lead singer and guitarist, found out that his daughter was in the hospital and was going to need surgery.  After some time in prayer and talking with the rest of the band, he decided to catch a plane back to the U.S. and be with his family while the rest of the band would continue on the tour.  While on his way to the airport, Jon narrates and said this quote that really stuck out to me:

“Faith is to say ‘Yes, the future will have pain, but there is a meaning and a purpose deeper than that pain.’ For me, that is my choice to believe rather than doubt.”

If you get a chance, I would recommend watching this film.  It’s a great look into what the band is about and the individuals that make up the band.

The Beautiful Game and Me

Soccer Ball

I’m a huge fan of soccer.  I admit, though, that I’m late to the party relatively speaking.  I did not grow up loving soccer.  I wasn’t a kid that played it at a young age.  I wasn’t even really interested in it growing up.  But I’ve come to love the “beautiful game”.

My first exposure to soccer and interest in soccer actually was in 1994 when the World Cup was played in the United States.  Though I didn’t attend a game (don’t think there were any within reasonable driving distance), I watched a little on TV.  I even got a soccer ball that was the official soccer ball for the World Cup that year (though I didn’t really play with it).

I didn’t really start liking soccer until I was in college.  My sophomore year one of my roommates was a missionary kid (MK) from Nigeria.  He was a soccer player and as we became friends I grew to learn more about the game hanging out with him and some of the international students.  Along with that I began to watch matches on ESPN from England that would be on weekday afternoons after class.

With watching more soccer I began to get more into the World Cup.  I didn’t see much of the ’98 World Cup (because I wasn’t as interested as I would become) or the ’02 World Cup (because I was working as a summer missionary and the games were on at weird times being that it was hosted in Japan/South Korea).  But the 2006 World Cup was the first that I was interested in watching.  Along with watching the matches, I bought my first soccer video game FIFA World Cup 2006 on PS2.

As time as went on, I’ve tried to learn more about the sport as well as cheer loudly for the US National Team.  I’ve also enjoyed watching European soccer and really into watching English Premier League (like watching Arsenal, Chelsea and Swansea City) and recently like watching Bundesliga (German top soccer league) (like watching Bayern Munich).

Now the 2014 World Cup is underway in Brazil.  I’ve been watching the matches and even live tweeting them.  It’s fun to get into and root for some countries.  But I’ll be excited when the U.S. takes the field.  And I’ll be cheering and live tweeting and getting excited to see how the U.S. team does.  I hope there will be lots of moments like in 2010 against Algeria.  I hope there will be a deep run in the tournament like in 2002.  But most of all, I want to be excited about my country’s team and be proud of the effort they put out there.

Soccer is a cool sport.  Even though it’s not a home grown American sport, it has a lot of cool qualities about it.  And even more than that?  It’s a great way to connect with people around the world.  So, if you’re a soccer fanatic or barely know anything, I’d recommend tuning in to watch the World Cup.  Who knows?  You may become a fan of the Beautiful Game too.

The Cautionary Tale of Adam Muema

I was surfing the web today and came across this article.  It’s on ESPN.com and is going to be in the next issue of ESPN the Magazine (here’s a link to the article).  It was written by Kevin Van Valkenburg entitled “Hiding in Plain Sight”.  It’s about the story of Adam Muema.  He was a college football player at San Diego State University.

For those that don’t know who he is or don’t remember, he was a running back with the Aztecs and inexplicably left the NFL Combine this past February.  The story was that “God told him to leave the combine and if he did he would get drafted by the Seattle Seahawks”.  Back in February, I remember hearing about the story because A) Because of the circumstances of why he left and B) I’m a Seahawks fan.  Besides the initial sounding weird thought, I didn’t give it much thought after that.

That was until today and Mr. Van Valkenburg’s article.  There was much more to this story.  It turned out that he was supposed to be at a pro day on the campus of San Diego State and he didn’t show up to the event.  For those that don’t know, pro days are workout events that happen on college campuses so that scouts can see players in action.  As Mr. Van Valkenburg began to dig deeper into the story of Adam’s weird behavior and apparent disapperance, there’s a rough story underneath.

It turns out that Adam had fallen into the teachings of a self proclaimed “messiah” Lord RayEl.  When I read this I was like “Who?!  So I did a google search and what I found made both angry and sad.  Apparently, there is this guy who claims to be the second coming of Jesus and that he came back in 2011.  And among some of the answers in his FAQ, he said that one of the “two witnesses” that was prophesied in Revelation was Harold Camping (the guy that said the world was ending in 2011 on the day that ironically was the day I graduated from seminary) and that people should leave their churches if their churches weren’t aligned with him.  He also said that he was the Son of God among other reasons because “his striking resemblance to most artistic depictions of Christ”.

Unfortunately Adam, who didn’t have a strong male role model growing up, latched on to this guy (who’s real name is Raymond Ellwood Howard-Lear) and now is one of his followers.  The article ends with the author trying to meet in person with Adam but got snubbed.  Adam still has an online presence but his actual whereabouts are unknown.

This article made me both sad and angry.  It made me sad because this young man is hurting and searching.  He needs the love and truth that comes from a relationship with Jesus Christ.  It made me angry because this false teacher is flat out lying and acting in such a way that is leading people astray.  This article was also a reminder.  It’s a reminder of the importance of discipleship and relationship.  The truth needs to be taught.  As followers of Jesus, we have a responsibility to share the truth with those around us.  When the Gospel is shared, the true Gospel, then lies like the ones that ‘Lord RayEl” teaches are exposed.  And it’s important to be in community.  When we’re not connected in community with a body of believers, then perspective is lost and falsehoods can have access to creep into those who are new to the faith or those that are checking out Jesus.

I pray for Adam.  I pray that real truth can be spoken into his life.  That true followers of Jesus can speak into his life and show him what the Gospel really is.  And for those of us who are followers of Jesus, I pray that we find those Adam’s in our lives and preach the Gospel to them so that they know the truth and can choose the real Gospel as opposed to the fake ones that are unfortunately out there.