Archive for March 2, 2008
Of the many ironies in a sordid story brimming with them, this might be the most stunning: Throughout his career, Dave Bliss envisioned coaching at a church-affiliated school as a final stop.
He got his wish.
But in their darkest, most fitful dreams, neither Bliss nor Baylor University, the world’s largest Baptist school, could have imagined what would make his stop in Waco, Texas, his last. (more…)
While much of the MMA world is focused on this weekend’s UFC middleweight title bout between Anderson Silva and Dan Henderson, there is another middleweight title on the line the night before. On Friday, IFL champ Matt Horwich makes his first title defense against Ryan McGivern.
Horwich is a unique personality in the sport. It’s difficult not to root for a guy who seems so at peace with the world and so thankful for everything he has. But, don’t be fooled by his unflappable sense of optimism. Inside the ring, Horwich takes care of business, and last year was a breakout year for the Team Quest fighter. He went 4-1 in IFL competition and defeated Benji Radach for the title in December.
I had the opportunity to speak to Horwich by phone on Monday. Here are the highlights of our conversation.
This weekend you’ve got a fight against Ryan McGivern and you’ll enter the fight as the IFL middleweight champ. How does that feel?
It feels [like] all things are possible to them who believe. And, I’ve been telling my street-kid friends for seven years ever since I was almost dead hanging out in Seattle [that] I’m going to bring them a middleweight belt. And, I was blessed enough to bring them back one finally. (more…)
“It doesn’t really remind me of my high school, except for the (earlier) announcement about picking up trash at lunchtime,” Matthews quipped, gazing at hundreds of students assembled in the Eckburg Center gymnasium.
Matthews, an offensive lineman for 19 years with the NFL‘s Houston Oilers/Tennessee Titans franchise, came to the school’s midday chapel service to give testament to his faith as a representative of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
His speech followed a video montage detailing some of his many accomplishments, including his 2007 induction in the Hall, his record-tying 14 Pro Bowl selections and his mark of 296 regular-season games, the most by a position player in NFL history.
As joy erupts from Warner Temple AME Zion Church on Sunday morning, Ty Walker claps his hands, swaying to the music. The beat vibrates the room. Swells of clapping and singing wash over the congregation. Exultant notes and voices saturate those gathered to celebrate, overwhelming them with a message of love. The music fades, and Ty takes his seat in the back of the church, for this moment no longer a basketball star but a worshipper waiting to receive his sermon.
The Rev. George Maize IV takes the pulpit, his charisma infecting everyone in the room.
“Isn’t it wonderful? You don’t make yourself a saint. God invites you to take on the identity he’s prepared for you,” he says to his congregants. “You don’t have to look for who you are, because God got who you are. (more…)
When Brian Soukup started work at his school five years ago, he introduced himself as the boys basketball coach at Trinity.
He would then be asked, “Do you mean Trinity off Aloma?”
“No. Trinity in Deltona,” he would say.
Soukup would be met with blank stares and a quick reply: “Oh. Never heard of it.”
Today, people know about Deltona Trinity Christian Academy, and perhaps the biggest reason why is its improving athletics program. Soukup will be the first to admit athletics played a role in bringing his school more attention and helping boost its enrollment.
The same has happened at many private religious schools in the Central Florida area. It’s yet another clear indication of how religion and sports are becoming more intertwined. It also shows another side to the issue, one in which there are no conflicts with federal law. The remaining question is: should sports be used to better sell your message? (more…)
The path toward a purposeful life is one of discipline, resilience and endurance, according to Tennessee Hall of Famer Robert Ware.
The Cleveland native, who is being inducted into the Greater Chattanooga Sports Hall of Fame tonight, said he is proud of the life he has lived and the road he has taken. He is determined to keep it on track.
Ware was an all-around athlete at Cleveland High School in 1970-72, playing football, basketball and being a star on the track team.
He still holds the track record in Cleveland as fastest man in the 100-yard dash and came in fourth in the 1972 Olympic tryouts in Atlanta in the 100-yard dash.
Now at age 55, Ware said he reflects on his glory days with pride and still savors watching track and field events. (more…)
Nearly the entire Clermont East Ridge High School football team filed into the weight room for another day of lifting, some wearing gray T-shirts, others tank tops. Coach Bud O’Hara asked them to sit for a moment and share why they decided to join the team.
“It helps keep me out of trouble,” one player said.
“This is a second family to rely on,” another added.
Several others chimed in, describing accountability, teamwork, perseverance, dedication. O’Hara replied “Amen” after each one.
“Anyone else?” O’Hara asked. He scanned the room and saw no hands.
“OK, let’s bow our heads for a moment of silence.”
Everyone in the room, including O’Hara and his assistant coaches, closed their eyes and bent their heads. Until a month ago, O’Hara might have recited a prayer or read a devotional. A Christian man, O’Hara believes religion has a firm place in his program because of the good it can do for his kids. (more…)
Audio Bibles are suiting up. Hundreds of student athletes across college campuses are listening to God’s Word in audio.
In fact, student athletes from more than 20 major universities, including Auburn, Stanford, Rutgers and Virginia Tech, will listen through the entire New Testament as part of a campaign called You’ve Got The Time. In this volunteer Bible listening initiative, participants listen through the entire New Testament by devoting 28 minutes a day for only 40 days. Sponsored by Faith Comes By Hearing, the world’s premier Audio Bible ministry, You’ve Got The Time reaches people with practical, life-changing Bibles in MP3 format. (more…)