Posts Tagged 'Sports'

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The Reliable Sadness of Tony Romo


 

A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. Sound familiar?


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The Big Fundamental: On Tim Duncan and Spiritual Maturity


 


Last Monday, Tim Duncan, one of the all-time basketball greats, retired after 19 seasons in the NBA. He finished with five championships and host of other accolades. He’s probably the best power forward ever.

Much has already been made of his unselfishness and high character on and off the court. But when it came to actually playing the game, he was a man of fundamentals. He will be remembered for his classic bank shot. It’s a shot that many kids learn early in their basketball training but then leave behind for the beauty and glory of three-point swishes. For most players, the bank shot is what you accidentally do when your shot misfires, and at the last moment, you yell, “Bank!” — as if you meant to do it.

But Tim Duncan meant to. He made his living on bank shots. And for big men, there tends to be a monopoly on dunking the ball (think Shaq and Dwight Howard). Duncan made his enduring quality a shot that seventh-grade kids can master. But they never showed up on the highlight reels. Instead, the alley-oops and the 3-pointers are shown over and over and over. And we should enjoy those things — because those things are nearly impossible. Only a handful of people on the planet can make those crazy shots or dunks. And so those clips go viral, each click proclaiming our awe. But the bank shot won five championships, built a winning legacy and became one of the best of all time.

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The Pressure's Off: Reflections on the Retirement of No. 18


 


Peyton Manning retired last week. A speech 18 years in the making brought his career to a close. And in that retirement speech, Peyton let us in to his inner world. What was behind this man’s enduring greatness, his cutthroat preparation? He ended his speech this way:

 

There’s a scripture reading, 2 Timothy 4:7: I have fought the good fight and I have finished the race. I have kept the faith. Well, I’ve fought a good fight. I’ve finished my football race and after 18 years, it’s time. God bless all of you and God bless football.

 

Manning’s words made me immediately think of the end of Paul’s life as he wrote 2 Timothy 4:7. I felt as though Peyton was saying that there was not only a finish to his football career, but a death, as well. A death of his constant fighting and never-ending racing for quarterback perfection. In sharing a passage from the end of Paul’s life, it was as if Peyton allegorized his football career into a life. And that life has now died to retirement. It’s a wonder what now awaits someone who has died while they’re still alive.

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Self-absorbed Meritocracy: How Do You Solve This Problem with Maria?


 


“I did fail the test and I take full responsibility for it.”

With these words, tennis superstar and five-time Grand Slam champion Maria Sharapova announced to the world that she had tested positive for a substance recently banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency. Like many of her competitors, I was impressed that Sharapova owned her mistake. The path of denial and shifting blame is well-worn, and Maria took the road less traveled.

On first glance, that made all the difference. On second glance, cynicism shaded my view. I became suspicious of any noble motives in Sharapova’s confession. I concluded it was a brilliant strategy to get ahead of the narrative and preserve her endorsements. Maybe it was. Today, honestly, I don’t care. It’s just refreshing that she confessed. For a moment, Maria was countercultural. Maybe it’s good to stop analyzing the whys and wherefores and simply celebrate that.

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Super Bowl 50 Prediction: We Win! (But It's a Long Story)


 

What Peyton Manning, ‘Star Wars’ and ‘The Lord of the Rings’ can teach us about Jesus and the unfolding of history.



Editor’s note: If you have not read/watched Lord of the Rings or Star Wars, this may not be the post you’re looking for. Lots of spoilers ahead.


Two years ago, Peyton Manning played in his first Super Bowl with the Broncos. He and his team arrived there by way of beating Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship game. However, the result in the Super Bowl was, um, how should I put this? Not good? Catastrophic? Let’s go with catastrophic.

This year, Peyton Manning is playing in his second Super Bowl with the Broncos. He and his team arrived there by way of beating Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship game. We’ll know the results in a few days. For fans of the Broncos and Manning, the hope is that the Sheriff can ride off into the sunset a winner.

These fans are waiting for history to stop repeating itself.

What we’re talking about here is history, and not in the arbitrary and inflated sense of professional football in America or Manning’s career win-loss record in the Super Bowl or the Broncos’ ability to not get shellacked in two consecutive Super Bowl appearances. We’re not talking about that history. We’re talking about history. History in the sense of the grand narrative of the universe. The story of all the big things and all the little things; the story of us; the story of you; the story of me; the story of why the story matters; the story about good and evil; the story about how it ends.

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