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Catch Me

Catch Me

This one comes from Andrew Taylor-Troutman. 

A new friend, who is joining the church I serve, offered a Rumi reading to me from his morning devotional: Hold up a mirror to your worst destructive habits, for that is how the real making begins.

~

1995 was my first year of high school. That spring, my baseball coach announced to the entire P.E. class that I was “the dumbest smart guy” he knew. Everyone in class laughed. Coach meant that, while I made good grades, I lacked common sense. Head in the clouds, I tended to miss certain things.

One afternoon that year,…

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Lance Armstrong's Moving Finish Line

Lance Armstrong’s Moving Finish Line

Where were you in 2012 when Lance Armstrong confessed his steroid sins to St. Oprah? Did you immediately take off your 2004 (!) Livestrong wristband and trash it, or did you simply let it fall behind the bedroom dresser? Was it the talk of your town, or did it just confirm your lack of interest in professional cycling?

It’s been six years since Lance Armstrong was banned from the sport of cycling (and our hearts). Now that a series of lawsuits has been completed and other scandals taken the spotlight, Lance has started to reenter the public square. He’s hosting his…

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Of Cubs and Humans and Good Thieves

Of Cubs and Humans and Good Thieves

Wrigley Field is one of America’s sacred spaces. Even if one prefers a different team, no morally serious person dislikes the Cubs, and thousands of Americans every year take pilgrimages to The Friendly Confines. That’s partly why stealing a ball intended for a child at Wrigley produces such outrage. For a lot of Americans, it’s desecration of the blessed sacrament.

That’s what happened last Sunday night. During the fourth inning, First Base Coach Will Venable tossed a ball to a young fan and the fan dropped it beneath the seat. Then, a self-absorbed, middle-aged cretin scooped it up, handed it off…

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The Futility of Folly, the Frailty of Life, & Death’s Evening Score

The Futility of Folly, the Frailty of Life, & Death’s Evening Score

Grateful for this piece written by Brad J. Gray.

It is indisputable that Ecclesiastes is one of the most bizarre books in the canon of Scripture. This extended journal entry of sorts opens to us the mind of one of the greatest humans to ever walk this earth. Great not necessarily for his morality (which was often wanting) but for his achievements and advancements in many different realms of human development. From a literary sense, then, the sweetness of Ecclesiastes is due in large part to its unusual origin.

As you read of the Teacher’s persistent examining and exploring and…

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The Ones That Haunt You

The Ones That Haunt You

On a May 23 episode of his “Bill Simmons Podcast,” Simmons interviewed Philadelphia 76er J. J. Redick about the end of the Sixers’ NBA season. They discussed who had played well, how the Sixers could improve the next year, and much more. Eventually, talk turned to a big shot that could have put Game 5 away for the Sixers, a shot that Redick missed. Here’s Redick:

The shot that will kill me … and the one that I haven’t really gotten over … was 109-107, under a minute-and-a-half to play, T. J. [McConnell] drove baseline and hit me on…

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Tiger Woods Is Getting Better and Getting Worse

Tiger Woods Is Getting Better and Getting Worse

Tiger Woods finished fourth in a PGA tournament this past weekend.

He’s back.

Or is he?

Tiger’s last win came in 2013 at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. His last major championship was the 2008 US Open. Shortly thereafter (Thanksgiving of 2009) Woods famously crashed his car outside his Florida mansion, was exposed as a serial cheater and sex addict, and began one of the most precipitous slides from public grace in the history of sports. But now, almost a decade—and a ton of public apologizing and image-burnishing—later, people are ready for Woods to be back.

The problem is, he just won’t seem to come.

For years,…

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For God So Loved the World Cup

For God So Loved the World Cup

This post was written by our World Cup correspondent, Sam Bush.

Every four years, there is a striking contrast between the Olympics and the World Cup. The older child (born in 1896)—noble, beautiful, self-aware—verses the wilder youngster who would rather skip the opening ceremonies and just play the game. We congratulate the Olympics for making the world a better place, but people seem to care more about the Cup. Why? I think because it’s more fun. The closing ceremonies of the Olympics is the commencement address that no one remembers, but the whistle for that first kick-off is like the bell on the last…

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The Necessary Execution: Preaching, Losing, and LeBron James

The Necessary Execution: Preaching, Losing, and LeBron James

I thought that the conventional wisdom was that sons turned into their mothers. It seems that, on the other hand, I’m turning into my mother-in-law.

We’re different in profound ways, of course—though we both love her daughter—but I’m discovering that when it comes to watching sporting events in which we’re heavily invested, I’m picking up her mannerisms.

It used to be that I was the only person I knew who could happily watch a sporting event on my DVR. I’d record the game, stay off social media, and watch it later, skipping through the commercials. I’ve heard, time and again, that live…

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Violence & Faith

Violence & Faith

LeBron and Curry are crushing the NBA Finals. The never-anything Washington Capitals and never-before Las Vegas Golden Knights are a Dream Fantasy of Stanley Cup legendizing. Even baseball has some sex appeal amid a Yanks/Sox Genetic Superiority Grudge Match.

But if you are a sports monogamist like me, and you love football, this is the lamest time of the year. At every level, last season has faded into anecdotal irrelevance. Those who are coaching or playing know that spring practice is either over or is soon to be over. NFL followers are so over the draft and the kneeling (or not), and…

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Let Us Now Praise Lebron James

Let Us Now Praise Lebron James

It is difficult to imagine now, but there was a time when he could not be counted on when it mattered.

Vividly I remember June 2011, when my Mavericks were made the agent of God’s moral retribution, which he spares us in life but applies in the world of sport. Those Mavericks pre-figured many of the teams Lebron James had dragged to the NBA Finals before and would drag in later years, including this year: led by one transcendent star, Dirk Notwitzki, a Swiss Army Knife of a player from neighboring Germany, the Mavs were otherwise a thrown-together group of single-dimensional…

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LeBron, Rest, and Execution, and Will

LeBron, Rest, and Execution, and Will

I ran into a fascinating juxtaposition in a fascinating (for a difference reason) article recently. The article in question, an ESPN piece by Brian Windhorst, is about LeBron James “perfecting the art of resting while playing.” If that sounds counter-intuitive, it probably should. We’re used to thinking of athletes “giving 100%” (if not more; there’s always that mythical “110%” that people are always claiming to reach) while they’re on the court, field, pitch, or whatever. Then, they come out of the game and rest until they’re ready to go back in and give it 100% again. Of course, in sports…

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Mamba Mentality for Losers

Mamba Mentality for Losers

Kobe Bryant won’t go away. I was desperately waiting for him to retire so that I wouldn’t have to watch his brand of basketball or listen to his brand of pop-psychology anymore.

Then he retired. But now he’s back.

Bryant developed a reputation during his playing career for being ultra-competitive (true) and always coming through in big moments (not true). There’s a difference, you see, between being willing to take an important shot at the end of a basketball game (competitive fire) and actually making that shot (coming through). Bryant was always willing to shoot it, regardless of the presence of more-open…

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