Archive for January 26, 2008
In a sports world where believing in yourself is an essential tool — you need that kind of faith before you can hit a three-rotation 1080 on a snowboard — the notion of believing in something bigger can be difficult to fathom.
But a swelling corps of Jesus fans is making itself known in the inherently hedonistic world of extreme sports.
At this year’s Aspen X Games, born-again Christians sport Jesus stickers on their rides. They eschew the party scene that saddles just about all the action. They wade through the excesses, living a chaste life while pushing the boundaries of their sport, hoping their lifestyle inspires others.
“Snowboarding can only take you so far,” says Tommy Czeschin, a 12-year pro boarder on the U.S. Snowboarding Team and new father from Mammoth Lakes, Calif. “You can win lots of events but still be empty inside.”
It is not just born-again Christians who are bringing a new spirituality to the X Games. As this event matures, so do its participants.
Olympic gold medalist Hannah Teter grew up visiting a local friary in Vermont. It was there, hanging with the monks, that she learned her own form of faith.
“I just express it with meditation, yoga and candles,” says Teter, who earned Olympic gold in Turin’s 2006 Winter Games.
But the traditional Christian athletes are the most visible.
Four years ago, Daniel “Floyd” Ralph founded the country’s first Snowboarders For Christ group in Breckenridge. Several of the extreme sports’ biggest names have joined the fold. (more…)
Once upon a time, Allen Stone was a big voice in this town. He sat courtside at Mavericks games and called them like he saw them.
That was a good thing for the Mavs in 1980s, when it was the can-do-no-wrong “model” franchise.
By 1983-84, their fourth season in the NBA, the Mavericks were winning more games than they were losing and had reached the playoffs. As the Cowboys began to struggle, the Mavericks won 55 games in 1986-87 and advanced to the Western Conference finals the following season.
Mavs Mania lived.
“Heady times,” recalled Stone, 61, who had joined the Mavericks from the sports anchor desk at KDFW-TV (Channel 4).
Maybe too heady. Stone also recalls hearing a radio sports talk host saying his ego was bigger than Reunion Arena. (more…)
Super Bowl Champion Coach Tony Dungy, who announced Monday that he will continue as head coach of the Indianapolis Colts, said his return is a chance to continue his ministry.
After the Colts’ loss to the San Diego Chargers in the divisional playoffs last Sunday, Dungy spent a week talking and praying with family members and friends to decide on whether he should return to football or retire.
On Monday, the deeply religious Dungy, who has published a memoir on how his Christian faith has affected him on and off the field, said he felt coaching was the best pulpit for his message. (more…)
The National Football League has used an unstoppable combination of marketing muscle, longtime loyalties and on-field performance to create the most successful professional sports league in America, if not the world.
Its annual season-ending showcase, Super Bowl XLII, on Sunday, Feb. 3, in Phoenix, has become secular sports’ high holy day, drawing interest and global TV ratings on par with the Olympics and soccer’s World Cup.
NFL officials, fearful highly publicized illegal and immoral behavior by some of the sport’s biggest stars was jeopardizing the league’s multi-billion-dollar success, instituted a new Personal Conduct Policy this spring.
The behavior policy, spearheaded by newly hired commissioner Roger Goodell, draws a clear line between right and wrong, and it says players may be punished for behavior that does not result in a legal conviction. (more…)
David Pollack refers to Feb. 8 as “D-Day” in terms of his possible return to the NFL as a player.
“I should have all the details that I need to make an informed decision,” said Pollack, a linebacker who last played football Sept. 17, 2006, for the Bengals against Cleveland. That afternoon, Pollack suffered a C6 vertebra fracture. He underwent surgery Jan. 3, 2007, to repair the neck fracture.
Dr. Anthony Guanciale, director of orthopedic spine surgery at University of Cincinnati Hospital, has treated Pollack from the day of his injury, performing surgery a year ago, and will meet with him next month.
In the meantime, Pollack, back up to his playing weight of 250 to 255 pounds, is working as a trainer at the Ignition group in Mason. 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.
Pollack, now 25, was the 17th overall draft pick by the Bengals in 2005 out of Georgia. He played in 16 games with six starts in three NFL seasons. After the injury, he was fitted with a protective halo and then a neck brace. (more…)
Dwight Howard of the NBA Orlando Magic talks about faith, boldness, and witnessing for Christ.