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Tuesday, January 1, 2008

bowl games, NFL, basketball, etc.

Hi. Happy 2008!

The first article is about Central Florida runningback Kevin Smith, who came close to setting the NCAA record for most rushing yards in a season in their Liberty Bowl loss to Mississippi State. Here's a quote from him:

His motivation is the purest of all.

"Motivation for me is going to the hotel and knowing I've got a game," he said. "Motivation in football is football itself for a person like me. I love this game and have loved playing this game since I was younger. I've been blessed to not miss a year. Me holding that pigskin and knowing I'm going to hold that pigskin motivates me enough.

Here's the article: and

Here's a couple of articles on Illinois star defensive lineman J Leman, a Christian, whose Illini lost to USC in the Rose Bowl today. Here's a quote about him from the first article:

His interests extend beyond the football field and the broadcast booth. He's a devout Christian and, in general, a sponge for information who wants to be "a lifelong learner."

Here's that article:

Here's a couple of quotes about him in the second article:

The sharp-dressed TV wise guy wandered up to the dais where Illinois All-American linebacker J Leman was sitting on Saturday morning. The TV reporter had a white three-ring binder in his hand and a camera following close behind.

During an awkward moment, the reporter offered Leman what was allegedly a stolen copy of Southern California's offensive audibles. The binder even had the Trojans' logo on the cover.

"You sure you don't want it?" the reporter asked.

"No, we're good," Leman told him. "We don't need a cheat sheet."

"It isn't real anyway," the reporter admitted.

It wouldn't have mattered if the playbook were authentic. The reporter had picked the wrong Illinois player to frame. ...

NFL scouts certainly don't have to worry about Leman's character. He graduated with a bachelor's degree in speech communication in less than four years and earned a master's degree in human resources earlier this month. He was awarded an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship as a finalist for the Draddy Trophy, which is given to college football's best player in terms of academic success, athletic performance and community leadership.

Leman remains actively involved with his parents' nondenominational church, Vineyard Christian Fellowship in Champaign, which [head coach Ron] Zook regularly attends.

Here's the article:

Next, an article about Florida quarterback Tim Tebow, a Christian, trying to avoid the apparent "Heisman jinx" on Heisman Trophy winners in bowl games. Unfortunately, Tebow and Florida lost to Michigan in the Capital One Bowl today. Here's a quote from the article about a conversation that Tebow had with former Florida Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Danny Wuerffel, also a Christian, about the jinx:

"I've never been very superstitious, so I'm not going to start now," he said.

Tebow, though, was concerned enough that he talked to 1996 Heisman winner Danny Wuerffel about it shortly after winning college football's most prestigious award three weeks ago.

Wuerffel's advice?

"Plain and simple, you don't change," Tebow said. "You are the same person. You go about everything the exact same. You work as hard as you can. You do everything you did before you won it. Maybe other people's perception is different about you, but your perception about you and how you do things isn't different at all."

Here's the article:

A note about Tebow that I heard during their game today: He's going to spend his Spring Break in the Phillippines working at his parents' orphanage their with his "brothers and sisters" there.

Here's an article about Colts safety Bob Sanders, who signed a big contract extension with the team last week. Here's a quote from him about it:

... "It's exciting. I've always wanted to be here. The organization is great. I think I fit. It's definitely a blessing.''

Here's the article:

Also, several Christian articles from Sharing the Victory Magazine from the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA). The first article is about Raptors guard Anthony Parker, who is probably better known as the older brother of Tennessee star women's basketball players Candace Parker. Here's a good quote from him from the article:

You know, the Lord has blessed us with certain talents, and I think we should desire to give Him the glory through those talents. That doesn’t necessarily mean trying not to compete your hardest. When you’re blessed with something, you have to do it the best you can. Whatever it is! If your passion is basketball, if it’s playing the piano, if it’s painting a masterpiece—whatever your passion or desire is, you have to give it your all. And when you do that, you’re giving the glory to God. And whatever attention you get from that—if it’s hitting the game-winning shot or selling your art for thousands of dollars—whatever attention you get from that, it’s important to give Him the glory and praise for blessing you with the talent.

That’s something that I’ve really come to realize: that God’s plan for me is to share His Word. And He’s given me basketball as a platform and a vehicle to do that.

Here's the article:

Here's another FCA article, this one about Washington State head men's basketball coach Tony Bennett. He learned basketball and coaching from his father, former college coach Dick Bennett, also a Christian. The article also mentions some of the Christian players on the team: Taylor Rochestie, Daven Harmeling, and Rob Cowgill. Here's a quote from the article about Bennett:

Bennett, who accepted Christ in eighth grade during an FCA Camp in Colorado, and his team are throwing college basketball convention on its ear—and not just during games. After a particularly poor Saturday practice earlier in the preseason, Bennett’s players arrived at the gym the next day, fully expecting to be chewed out and run mercilessly. Instead, Bennett gathered his team and said, “I don’t want to practice today. We showed a lot of weaknesses yesterday; but I want to honor the Sabbath as much as I can this year. Today, I want you to spend time with family and honor the Sabbath.” His players were stunned.

Bennett then organized a 20-minute chapel. Virtually the entire team showed up.

“Me and [senior forward] Rob Cowgill were looking at each other going, ‘Coach is the man!’” said junior forward Daven Harmeling, a Christian. “How many other coaches do that?”

Here's the article:

The next FCA article is about the Drake women's basketball team, who succeeded against all odds last season when playing extremely short-handed because of injuries and illness when the team put God first. They compared their problem to the story of Gideon in the Bible, and used that to bring the team together and win their conference tournament with only seven players. Here's some of the Christian coaches and players mentioned in the article: head coach Amy Stephens, former assistant Micah Parker (who left the team after the season to concentrate on ministry), assistant Todd Voss, and player Lindsay Whorton. Here's a quote from the article:

In the end, according to Parker, the players and coaches understood it was God’s story.

“As a team, we really focused on Who we were playing for,” Parker said. “We talked about how there was no need to be ashamed; they needed to trust Him and remember who they were playing for. They really gave God all the glory.” That’s what Whorton will always remember. “Last season will always remind me that God can use something as simple as basketball, which has no eternal implications, and use it to teach me about His character,” she said. “I learned things about God and His character during that season that I will never forget. The purpose of all that was for Him to be glorified.”

Here's the article:

Here's an FCA article about North Carolina assistant women’s basketball coach Charlotte Smith, who also played at North Carolina and in the WNBA, and worry:

Also, an FCA article about Stanford wrestler Tanner Gardner and anxiety. Here's a good quote from him in the article:

How I deal with anxiety in my sport: “Prayer is a great way to deal with anxiety. A lot of people pray before their matches, but I found it is really important to pray before my practices, as well. Competing against your own teammates can cause anxiety, so when I pray, it takes the stress off.

“I also pray at my matches. I never really pray to win my match; I just pray that whether I win or lose, I compete to the best of my ability and represent God in an appropriate way.”

Here's the article:

The last FCA article is about Seahawks fullback Leonard Weaver. The article, written in first-person format, talks in part about how his Christian Seahawks teammates, including runningback Shaun Alexander and fullback Mack Strong (who had to retire earlier this season because of a neck injury), help him to grow in his faith. Here's the article:

Next, an article about 76ers forward Kyle Korver, a Christian, being traded to the Jazz last week. Here's a quote about him from 76ers president Ed Stefanski after he made the trade:

"I want to thank Kyle for the positive impact he has made on this team and the city of Philadelphia through his play on the court and, even more importantly, his philanthropic efforts off of it," Stefanski said.

Here's the article:;_ylt=Aog7T39iNkMe8d80a3T4OCN.T4h4?slug=ap-jazz-76erstrade&prov=ap&type=lgns. Also see Korver's website:

Lastly, an article about why Florida State head football coach Bobby Bowden, a Christian, and why he should continue to coach at Florida State, even at 78:

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