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Friday, February 1, 2008

Super Bowl, NFL, basketball, and baseball

Hi. This is my first of three posts for this weekend. There are a lot of extra articles and things with the Super Bowl coming up, so I'll divide the articles up into more managable posts. First, a couple of Christian websites for the Super Bowl. The first site is Athletes in Action's Beyond the Ultimate, which is designed as a witnessing tool. It's redesigned to correspond with each major athletic event, including the Super Bowl. Now it has testimonial articles from the Giants David Tyree and Reggie Torbor and the Patriots Rosevelt Colvin and Ben Watson, along with videos from Colts head coach Tony Dungy and Bears head coach Lovie Smith. Here's the link:

The other Christian Super Bowl site is the Baptist Press' Beyond the Game. They have a writer in Arizona covering the Super Bowl festivities from a Christian perspective who has written articles all week. I'll post the articles separtately later, but here's the site to check out now:

Another general football site is the NFL Players website, which includes short video interviews and more of seven different players, including two Christians: Colts center Jeff Saturday and Dolphins quarterback Trent Green. The whole website is pretty good, but especially the Saturday and Green parts:

Here's a Christian article about Washington State men's basketball head coach Tony Bennett. The article also mentions two Christian players on the team, guard Taylor Rochestie and forward Daven Harmeling. Washington State came from nowhere last year to have great success, and have had an even better season so far this year. Here's a quote from Bennett about that:

So the Cougars march on, unsure if more blessed March Madness awaits them, but intent upon doing things the right way, regardless of their destination.

“God is teaching me, as always, to walk by faith and not by sight because now we’re in a season that’s more in the spotlight,” Bennett said. “We were higher in the preseason expectations. We talk about not worrying about the end result. We have to walk through the process.”

Here's the article:

Next, a Christian article about Chadron State runningback Danny Woodhead and his winning the Harlon Hill Trophy, the NCAA Division II equivalent of the Heisman Trophy. He is hoping to get a chance to play in the NFL now. Here's the article: (originally found at:

Here's a good Christian article about Tony Dungy's decision to return and coach the Colts for at least one more year. It's talks about one of the reasons for Dungy's return is the platform for sharing his faith that being the Colts head coach gives him. Here's a quote from him about that:

"I enjoy my job, the players, the staff we have here and Bill (Polian) and Jim," Dungy told reporters. "But it is a platform and that's something I talked to my wife and pastor about. I said 'I could stop and start a ministry, but I might not have a platform like this.'"

"I look at this as a job," he said, "but I also look at it as a ministry ... I might not have as effective a ministry as I have right now."

Here's the article:

Also, a couple of articles on Bengals defensive lineman David Pollack, a Christian, who suffered a serious neck injury in September of 2006. Lately he has been training for a potential return to the NFL at the Ignition group, Christian-oriented facility near Cincinnati. There he has been working with NFL hopefulls, including Southern Illinois quarterback Nick Hill, a Christian. On February 8th, what he's calling "D-Day", he'll meet with his doctor to make a final decision about whether or not returnning to play would be worth the risk of injuring his neck even more severely. So this would be a good prayer request too, that he makes the right decision for his health. Here's some quotes from him about what he's been doing, his decision-making process, and how the injury has changed him as a person:

... He is instructing and training with 11 NFL hopefuls, including four players from the University of Cincinnati, and leading Bible study for them on Wednesday nights at his Liberty Township home. He’s preparing his body and mind for his potential comeback as a player. ...

“I will want to take some time, though, to fast and pray and spend time by myself a lot and try to figure out where God is leading me,” he said. “If it closes one chapter, it opens another.” ...

The experiences of this past two years have changed Pollack.

“I’m always running around. The Bible verse I always think about is: 'Be still and know that I am God.' I’ve never been still in my life,” Pollack said. “I have had time to sit back. It has been a rewarding experience. It’s hard to explain how breaking your neck can make you better.

“I have learned a lot about myself and my wife. I am domestic now, which is crazy. Football players are selfish people. We think we work so hard and have the hardest job in the world. It’s just not true. I had to step out of the box to figure that out.

“Now, I come over here to train, and before I leave I put a load of laundry in. Then I go home and clean and do the dishes. I am more rounded. I help my wife out more. I am a more patient person.”

Here's that article:

The other article about Pollack has these quotes about his decision-making process:

"Trust me, I'm not going to do anything stupid," Pollack said earlier this week. "If someone says there is a 50 percent chance I'll break my neck [again], I'll never go anywhere near a field again." ...

"Things happen for a reason," said Pollack, who is deeply religious. "I pray a lot, not so much to ask God to allow me to play again, but to help me make the right decision when the time comes. If I'm meant to get back on the field, it will happen. And if not, well, I'm not going to play that what if guessing game. I'll just move on to whatever it is I'm supposed to be doing and attack it just as hard as I do football." ...

"We're getting closer to a decision," Pollack said. "Whichever way it comes down, I'm really mentally, emotionally and spiritually prepared for it."

Here's that article:

Next, an article from an interview with Tony Dungy, with some more about returning to coach since his job is a ministry too:

Q: You said in the press conference that you consider this more than a job. It’s also a ministry. How much did that influence your decision to return?

A: If it was just about football and winning the Super Bowl, we’ve done that and I have said that I’m not going to be in this forever. I do feel like I’m getting close to when I’m going to finish. I have a great deal of respect for (Colts Owner and Chief Executive Officer) Jim Irsay and want to do what would help him, but if it was just that, I probably wouldn’t still be in it. But the fact that you do feel like you’re doing more than just coaching a football team and you can accomplish some things because of the position – you still have to do your job and you still have to win and all of that – but I get to do more.

Q: Is that why you mentioned that missionaries are often away from their families . . .

A: That’s something my wife (Lauren) and I talked about. It’s something that we feel like the Lord has given us right now for this time. He has put us in a great team, a great organization and we feel like there’s a reason for it.

Here's the article:

Here's the article about IUPUI (Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis) men's basketball head coach Ron Hunter, Christian, and the results of his drive to get donations of shoes and money for the Christian organization Samaritan's Feet. He coached one of the team's games last week barefoot to raise awareness of the organization, with hopes of gettting 40,000 pairs of shoes. Because of the publicity about it in the days leading up to the game, he had reached that goal by lunchtime that day, and ended the day with 110,000 pairs and even more promised later! Hunter plans to take the shoes to Africa himself, and some of his Jaguars players have expressed interest in going along too. Here's a quote from the article:

For the record, Hunter's exposed feet weren't stepped on during the game. It bears noting that he almost never sits down when the action -- and the feet -- are flowing.

"My feet hurt so bad," he said after the game. "But imagine a child or a human going their whole lives without shoes."

Hunter, 43, said his month-long association with Samaritan's Feet has already affected him, and he knows it could be on the verge of changing the lives of others.

Several of his players have vowed to join him on the summer trip, which he'd like to take to Cameroon, home to Jaguars freshman guard Christian Siakam. In Siakam's family, shoes are a luxury; not everyone has them.

Now, a man with no ties to IUPUI has offered to charter a jet to fly the team to Africa, pending NCAA approval, of course.

"I knew when I saw Siakam's face we were doing the right thing," Hunter said.

Here's the article: Also, here's an article with a video of the news segment from the local news about it:

Also, an article about Colts safety Antoine Bethea, who was named as an injury replacement for the Pro Bowl last week. Here's some of what he had to say about it:

“It’s a great feeling,” Bethea said. “It’s been a long road, coming from where I came from and how I had to fight an uphill battle. It’s just a continued blessing for me: last year playing in the Super Bowl and now this year, my second year, being selected to go to the Pro Bowl.

“All the hard work you put into it, to get rewarded for it is just a blessing.”

Here's the article:

Here's a couple more articles about Colts associate head coach/quarterbacks coach Jim Caldwell, a Christian, who was named to succeed Tony Dungy as head coach when Dungy retires. The first one is an interview article:, and the other is more a biographical one and about how similar he is to Dungy:

Next, an article about Cubs minor-league pitcher Donnie Veal, a Christian, and about how he lost his father in a scuba-diving accident last November, almost three years to the day after his mother died from cancer. The article tells about how he's dealing with the deaths, as well as his brother Devin, who is a red-shirt freshman football player at Arizona:

Here's an article about Brewers pitcher Jeff Suppan, a Christian, and the new restaurant that he and his wife own and run in California:

Also, another article about retired Tigers broadcaster Ernie Harwell's (a Christian) 90th birthday last Friday. Here's a quote about some of the things that he's doing now:

He still finds time to stop in at Comerica Park once in a while, occasionally working with Baseball Chapel, other times doing a guest spot on various telecasts....

Here's the article:

Here's another article about Baylor men's basketball head coach Scott Drew, a Christian, and the success that the team's having this year after turning the program around from the absolute bottom. Here's a quote about the advice about dealing with adversity that his father, Valparaiso men's basketball head coach Homer Drew (also a Christian), gave him when he took the job at Baylor:

"He was very supportive, and he gave me one piece of advice that was really good," Drew said. "When he went to Valparaiso, they never had had a winning season in their Division I history. He said the Book of Job really helped him."

Here's the article:

Lastly for now, an article about the celebrity charity soccer game that Dodgers 3rd baseman Nomar Garciaparra and his wife, retired soccer star Mia Hamm, held last weekend:

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