Brett Honeycutt

The Bartman Affect

[caption id="attachment_15591" align="aligncenter" width="720"] CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 02: Chicago Cubs fans celebrate outside Wrigley...

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Olympian Allyson Felix says faith is the reason she runs

As U.S. Olympian and track and field sprinter Allyson Felix prepares for her several competitions in Rio de Janeiro this weekend and into next week, she may think back to her disappointment eight years ago in Beijing...

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Track-and-Field Closeup: Felicia Brown

For most athletes who ascend to the top of their sport, it would be easy for them to assume their purpose on Earth was to be the best at that particular discipline. Felicia Brown isn’t like most athletes, though...

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The problem with pedestals

We make super heroes out of regular people. And that’s a shame. Why? Because those super heroes just want to be regular people like you and me...

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Devotional of the Week: Innocent Boldness

"Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. The LORD who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine. Saul said to David, ‘Go, and the LORD be with you.’” I Samuel 17:36-37

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Devotional of the Week: Peacemakers

“One of the servants told Abigail, Nabal’s wife, ‘David sent messengers from the wilderness to...

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Devotional of the Week: Taking a Bold Stance

Throughout history various athletes have stood up for (or against) causes. Some athletes have stood against war, others for equal rights, while others stood for various other causes...

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Airing It Out: Mess-ups are hard, but can be overcome

Probably the most devastating thing that can happen to us is to mess up publicly. When you’re someone known by only a few people, messing up publicly is bad, but it can be overcome. But when you’re a pro athlete, the public mess-up can be more damaging. When you’re a pro athlete in the NFL, the most popular of the major four U.S. sports, and that mess-up comes in a playoff game that will rank in the top 25 pro sports events watched on TV that year, it can be devastating...

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Devotional of the Week: Resilient Heart

Have you ever had a bad season as an athlete or a coach? Have you ever felt like everything that could go wrong did go wrong during a game or season (or at least a high percentage of things went wrong)? What about in your life? What sustained you through that?

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Airing It Out: Mark Richt responds with grace, gratitude in adversity

Is a college coaching position, or any coaching position for that matter, only about wins and losses? Most people would agree that it’s not, but that wins and losses are a huge determiner of coaches keeping their job...

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Where Are They Now Closeup: Hall of Famer Jackie Slater waited on God's timing in coaching career

Jackie Slater coaches with the same intensity that helped him become a Pro Football Hall...

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NFL Closeup: Thirteen-year veteran Charles Tillman counts servanthood as most important accomplishment

Charles Tillman has been to a Super Bowl, been named to the All-Pro and Pro...

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Airing It Out: How Important?

I am reading a book by A.W. Tozer titled, The Purpose of Man, and, although I know how important our relationship with God is, I don’t think I live like it at times...

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Hall of Famer Tim Brown opens up about faith and struggles

As Tim Brown told the story of his journey during the Pro Football Hall of Fame induction ceremonies on Aug. 8, he mentioned a traumatic moment when he was six months old...

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Airing It Out: Our Responsibility?

How much is a coach culpable for the right or wrong actions of his players? In today’s society, you would think he’s just as responsible or more responsible for their actions. I would argue that he’s not responsible for everything, and maybe not anything, but hear me out before throwing any stones...

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Devotional of the Week: The Pleasure Of Pleasing God

Some of you may recall the 1981 movie Chariots of Fire, which told the true story of British track and field athletes preparing for the 1924 Summer Olympics in Paris. If you haven’t seen the movie, it’s incredible as evidenced by it being nominated for seven Academy Awards and winning four...

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Devotional of the Week: Don’t Lose Heart

"Alas, Sovereign LORD,’I said,‘I do not know how to speak; I am too young.’ But...

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Airing it Out: Encourage or Destroy?

The stories of Laura Bassett and Steve Bartman are great examples of what it takes to truly embrace, love and encourage someone or to truly crush, hate and destroy them... Most sports fans will remember both people (famous and infamous now), but Laura Bassett’s incident is still fresh in most people’s minds...

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In The News: Zach Johnson

From Zach Johnson’s first PGA Tour win to his most recent victory in the British Open on July 20, he has remained consistent. Not just in his play, but in how he talks after each win...

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In The News: Stephen Curry

NBA All-Star. NBA MVP. NBA Champion. The success seemed to come all of a sudden for Stephen Curry, who earned his second consecutive All-Star berth this season before winning the NBA MVP in May and leading the Golden State Warriors to the NBA title in June...

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Devotional of the Week: Whom Shall I Fear?

Tim Tebow embodies the trait of never seeming to be afraid. He’s not afraid to make guarantees like he did at Florida when, following a 31-30 upset loss to Mississippi on Sept. 27, 2008, he promised that no one would work harder than him or the team the rest of that season. The Gators didn’t lose again that season and won the national championship...

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In The News: U. S. Women's Soccer Team

Leading up to the women’s World Cup title game between the United States and Japan, the experts had fans believing the U.S. was struggling...

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Airing It Out: Love Through Life

When I was a child, my mom would take me and my brother to youth baseball and football practices at the nearby elementary school. She took care of us, joyfully, because we were her young children, but it was also laborious, because it required doing something else after a long day of work. I’m sure she would rather have rested, or done something different, but she knew we enjoyed it, and she liked things that we liked...

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In the news closeup: Manny Pacquiao

The fight that seemed destined to never happen, is now scheduled to take place: Manny Pacquiao will fight Floyd Mayweather, Jr. on May 2 in what experts are saying will be the richest purse in boxing history. The two are legendary in the ring...

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Devotional of the Week: Running to Win

Jim Ryun, one of the most famous distance runners in American history, once came home after a race and, responding to a question from his mom who asked how he did, said, “Not good.” He went on to say that he was disappointed he hadn’t won...

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Airing it out: Memory Lane and Life's Lessons

What would you do if you had the ability and power to share your faith without consequence? Would you respect non-believers or believers of other faiths by not sharing Christ with them, or would you respect God by telling them how Christ had freely offered to take our place and rescue us from hell?

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Airing It Out: Which way does the ball bounce?

What would you do if you had the ability and power to share your faith without consequence? Would you respect non-believers or believers of other faiths by not sharing Christ with them, or would you respect God by telling them how Christ had freely offered to take our place and rescue us from hell?

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Where are they now? closeup: David Robinson

The Naval Academy’s most recognizable basketball alum earned another recognition recently. Former NBA star and...

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Women in sports closeup: Marlen Esparza

[caption id="attachment_11155" align="aligncenter" width="700"] Marlen Esparza[/caption] Marlen Esparza is known for becoming the first nine-time...

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Around the world closeup: Euan Murray

Euan Murray may best be known for what he doesn’t do as opposed to what...

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Devotional of the Week -- Never Too Old

Former major league pitcher Jack Quinn is one of those players who fade into obscurity and is only known to some because he's the answer to a trivia question: Who is the oldest pitcher to win a major league game?

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Around The World Closeup: Lee Wai-sze

Winning championships and medals almost never happened for Hong Kong Olympian Lee Wai-sze. Her fledgling career nearly ended, just as it was about to explode, after a chance run-in with a stray dog...

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Swimming Closeup: Missy Franklin

Remember 17-year-old London Olympic swimming phenom Missy Franklin? She’s still winning and she’s still fast. She’s just doing it a lot more out of the spotlight...

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Airing It Out: The Truce Match

Six years before the world’s first intercontinental soccer tournament and 16 years before the first World Cup, an international soccer game was played on Christmas Day, 1914...

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Magnificent Mary

An Olympian and five-time world champion works in her garden as her husband looks on and talks to a reporter. But this isn’t an interview for a home and garden show in America’s Heartland, the Northeast or the Deep South...

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Devotional of the Week: New Beginning

Starting over is tough. I've had to do it several times in my adult life. With it comes learning new people, fear, uncertainty, etc. It's not always something we do with excitement, but sometimes it is. The story of Adam Loewen is one of those stories about starting over. He was a Major League Baseball pitcher and a high draft pick with the Baltimore Orioles...

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Airing It Out: Surprisingly Good

"Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else.” I Thessalonians 5:15 Two stories that remind me that good still exists in today’s all-about-me and win-at-all-costs athletic culture come from a little-known college and one of the most unlikely NFL teams...

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In The News: Clayton Kershaw

Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw won nearly everything except a World Series ring this past baseball season. The 25-year-old, who, along with wife Ellen, travels on mission trips to the Dominican Republic and Zambia, as well as to U.S. cities Dallas and Los Angeles each offseason, became the first National League player in 46 years to take home both the Cy Young Award (league’s top pitcher) and the MVP (best overall player)...

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Under the Radar

Pittsburgh Steelers fans didn’t find Will Johnson’s rushing stats impressive through his first 11 games...

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Airing It Out: Life lived out

Imagine if we were encouraged every day. Or taken care of every day. Or loved,...

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30th Anniversary Closeup: Garry Unger

Garry Unger, who appeared in the first issue of Sports Spectrum when it was called...

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30th Anniversary Closeup: Mike Gartner

Mike Gartner’s Hall of Fame hockey career almost never happened. Just after he became a...

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NFL Closeup: Will Johnson

It was interesting that a game where Will Johnson had all zeroes across the stat...

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A Humbled Spirit

I love baseball. I’m sure it’s because I grew up watching the game in minor-league ballparks as a child and also because my dad would tell me stories about old-time players. He saw Hall of Famer Ted Williams play and even saw Hall-of-Fame knuckleball reliever Hoyt Wilhelm play in the minor leagues. One thing that always amazes about the game is how a player can rebound after a setback...

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Retaliation in MLB must stop

Pittsburgh Pirates star and reigning National League MVP Andrew McCutchen was hit by a pitch on Aug. 2. Ordinarily, that might not even have been a note in the game story the following day. But it involved what baseball calls a “retaliatory” pitch and, the most important aspect of this situation...

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Aeneas Williams: Spiritual Leading

Although Isaiah 48:17 was a specific message to Israel, the latter part of the verse reveals a truth about God—that He “directs you in the way you should go.” We also see this in Proverbs 3:5-6, which says, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” Some translations say, “He will direct your paths...”

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God's Soft Spot

You may have heard the recent story of Antoine Turner, the Boise State recruit who was homeless and who Boise State had to ask the NCAA permission to help with living accommodations.Two things struck me about this case, besides the obvious of having to ask permission to do the only humanly decent and logical thing for a person...

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LPGA Closeup: Betsy King

Much has changed in the 30 years since Betsy King first appeared in the first...

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Louis Zamperini dies at age 97

Last week, the world lost a true hero and true example of Christ: Louis "Louie" Zamperini. He was 97. He ran in the 1936 Berlin Olympics, he was a World War II hero and POW, and he spoke on forgiveness every chance he had -- even going and witnessing, after the war, to the very Japanese prison guards who severely beat him for two years...

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Closeup Tribute — Louis Zamperini

On July 2, the world lost a true hero and true example of Christ: Louis...

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Closeup — Chelsea Baker

Like fishing stories that morph each year when aging anglers add several inches and pounds...

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In The News — Paul Westphal

Paul Westphal has seemingly come full circle. The well-traveled player and coach has been an NBA...

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Closeup Tribute — Aeneas Williams

15-year NFL career with the Phoenix/Arizona Cardinals and the St. Louis Rams was fruitful for...

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Closeup — Derrick Brooks

Longtime Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Derrick Brooks was never concerned with the awards he earned...

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Clint Dempsey - Finding Strength In The Lord

Clint Dempsey was in kindergarten when he discovered that he loved soccer. The exhilaration of scoring goals was exactly what he needed to deepen his love for a game that has taken him all over the world and allowed him to play at soccer’s highest level in Europe and in the United States…

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Life In The Fast Lane

Peace eluded reigning Olympic and world 100-meter track champion even after she became a Christian,...

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Freddie Freeman: Potter and Clay

Atlanta Braves 24-year-old star Freddie Freeman lost his mom to cancer more than 10 years ago when he was in his early teens. At first, he asked the question many ask when a loved one is lost: Why? Why did this happen? Why did she have to go so soon? Why? Why? Why? Early on Freeman pushed God away, but a few years ago he came to the realization that God took his mom so she wouldn't have to suffer any longer...

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Finding Strength in The Lord

Clint Dempsey was in kindergarten when he discovered that he loved soccer. The exhilaration of scoring goals was exactly what he needed to deepen his love for a game that has taken him all over the world and allowed him to play at soccer’s highest level in Europe and in the United States. “My parents had started me in the sport to help me learn good people skills,” Dempsey says. “Little did I know that the sport I loved and the skills I learned would later play a role in my relationship with God...”

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Chris Davis: 'Daily Dying'

"Then he said to them all: 'Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.'" Luke 9:23 In the above passage, we see that Jesus tells us what's needed to be His disciple. We must deny ourselves, take up our cross each day and then follow Him. What does all of that mean, though? Baltimore Orioles slugger Chris Davis, who led the majors in home runs (53) and RBIs (138) last season, delves into that: "...As I got older, I realized it wasn't about going to church or managing your sin, but about daily dying to myself and surrendering my life to Christ..."

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Airing It Out -- Merciful messengers

Manhattan College men’s basketball coach Steve Masiello had just led the program to the most wins in 10 years, and the Jaspers ended the season by nearly beating defending national champion Louisville in a much talked-about first round NCAA tournament game. That success earned Masiello praise on the national level and also an interview and job offer from the University of South Florida to take over that program. He took the job and everything seemed perfect...

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Closeup — Jacob Mulenga

Soccer hasn’t always been at the top of Zambian national soccer team member Jacob Mulenga’s...

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Closeup — Fabio

Fans call Fabio “the blue wall” and consider him a hero. But for Brazilian goalkeeper...

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Closeup — Isaac Díaz

From the time Isaac Diaz was a baby and had a soccer ball in his...

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Closeup — José Luis Vidigal

The second of 12 children, including four who played soccer, José Luis Vidigal understands what...

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Devotional of the Week -- Impact Through Defeat

Different isn’t always easy. Remember the Jamaican bobsled team in the 1988 Calgary Olympics? Seems like an oxymoron, right? Jamaican bobsled? To cement their involvement in the Olympics, a movie, Cool Runnings, was made about their exploits. The foursome of Devon Harris, Dudley Stokes, Michael White and Nelson Stokes...

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Devotional of the Week -- Do You Believe In Miracles?

Al Michaels’ phrase, “Do you believe in miracles? Yes!” will be forever remembered as the most famous call in Olympic or sports history. He uttered those words at the end of one of the most shocking upsets in sports history, a 4-3 U.S. victory against the Soviet Union in men’s ice hockey at the 1980 Lake Placid Olympics. It wasn’t the gold-medal game (that would come a game later against Finland), but it was stunning and unbelievable because the Soviets had routed the U.S., 10-3, in an exhibition less than two weeks prior to the upset...

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Airing It Out -- Humility, we need more of it

Richard Sherman’s post-game rant after the NFC Championship game has been a lesson in believability, apologies that carry no weight and a reminder that humility is difficult, but that it’s what God says He desires. He reminds us of this in Matthew 23:12 and tells us what will happen if we don’t, “Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted...”

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Feature Story -- Michael Robinson: Peace Within The Storm

Dehydration. Kidney failure. Liver failure. Rapid weight loss. Job loss. All were part of a whirlwind of bad news for Seattle Seahawks fullback Michael Robinson. And though the seeming chaos would likely have been too much to handle for most, Robinson never feared in the midst of his trial. Jump back to the morning of August 17, just before Seattle was to host a preseason game against the Denver Broncos, the same Super Bowl XLVIII opponent of the Seahawks...

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Super Bowl Predictions -- Clyde Christensen: The Keys to Beating Denver and Seattle

Clyde Christensen is the quarterbacks coach for the Indianapolis Colts, the only team this season to beat the Denver Broncos (the NFL’s best offense of all time) and Seattle Seahawks (the NFL’s best defense this season). Sports Spectrum asked Christensen, “What are the keys to beating Denver and Seattle?”...

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Devotional of the Week -- Are You Ready?

PGA golfer Tiger Woods once said, "Everyone knows what the Masters is, even if you're a non-golfer. People know what Wimbledon is. They know what the Super Bowl is. There are certain events that people just know about." That's true. Some events are just known, especially the Super Bowl. As Christians we know about certain events that have taken or will be taking place, with one of them being the rapture of believers. However, I think we take it for granted that everyone knows...

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Airing It Out -- Memories etched in stone

I have an odd recollection of names like Joe DiMaggio, Stan Musial, Ted Williams and other baseball greats from the 1940s, 50s and early 60s, even though I was born well after they played the game. Sure, I remember watching 1970s greats like Mike Schmidt, Tom Seaver, Willie Stargell, Reggie Jackson, and Nolan Ryan play on TV, where I also saw the Big Red Machine, the “We Are Family” Pittsburgh Pirates and the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers in those great World Series match ups...

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Sports Spectrum's Co-Coach of the Year: Clint Hurdle

Some of the biggest impacts Clint Hurdle had on people this year wasn’t while he...

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Sports Spectrum's Co-Coach of the Year: John Harbaugh

As the seconds ticked off the clock and the San Francisco 49ers failed to run...

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Top 10 Christian Athletes to Watch in 2014

1. Nick Foles, Philadelphia Eagles: Leading the Eagles to the playoffs as a first-year starter...

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Top 10 Christian Stories of 2013

1. New York Yankees pitcher Mariano Rivera’s retirement: With his head buried in Andy Pettitte’s...

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Devotional of the Week -- Treasuring What Matters

Winter Olympics great Eric Heiden was very practical in his view of gold medals. In essence, they’re nice to look at, but not very useful. “I’d rather get a nice warmup suit. That’s something I can use. Gold medals just sit there. When I get old, maybe I could sell them if I need the money,” said Heiden, winner of five gold medals at the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, N.Y. He understood the triviality of the medals, which are much like the trivial nature of wealth or stockpiling things because we just have to have them. When it came down to it, Heiden needed equipment to train more than he needed the medals. And when it comes down to worldly things compared to spiritual things, we should see the disparity between the two and store up treasures in heaven. As Matthew 6 says, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also...”

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Airing It Out -- Why the NFL matters

Sports are popular in America. How popular? Of the top 50-most watched television programs in America in 2013, 45 were sporting events. Of those top 50 programs, the top 26, and 42 of the top 50, were NFL games. The rest of the top 50 were the BCS National Championship Game (No. 27), NBA Finals Game 7 (No. 29), NCAA Men’s Basketball National Championship Game (No. 39) and five episodes of NCIS (ranking anywhere from No. 40 to No. 50)...

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Devotional of the Week -- Getting Up When You Fall

A year after John Elway drove the Denver Broncos to victory in the AFC Championship Game against the Cleveland Browns, the two teams met again to see who would go to the Super Bowl. Late in the game, with a little more than 1 minute left, it appeared that Cleveland running back Earnest Byner would tie the game, but the ball was stripped from his hands at the 2-yard line, Denver recovered, and the Broncos held on for the victory in one of the greatest games in AFC/NFC Championship history. Unfortunately, Browns fans remember Byner for what they called “The Fumble” instead of his solid years as a running back for Cleveland. Byner, though, didn’t wallow in his misery. After being released by the Browns the following season, he spent five years with the Washington Redskins...

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Airing It Out -- From Africa with love and encouragement

As I spoke to LPGA legend and World Golf Hall of Famer Betsy King recently, I was encouraged. I was encouraged by what she’s doing in Africa to help the people spiritually and physically through her organization, Golf Fore Africa, and through a partnership with World Vision. But I was even more encouraged that 30 years after she was featured in the first issue of Sports Spectrum (then known as Sports Focus), she is still walking with Christ...

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A Favored Life

The player with the most improbable road to the NFL has a life so diverse that even a comic book would have difficulty capturing the superhero-like life of Israel Idonije. Born in Lagos, Nigeria, to missionaries on Nov. 17, 1980, Idonije (pronounced eh-don-ish-aye) moved with his family to Brandon, Manitoba in Canada when he was four years old. His father, Henry, served the homeless and poor in Manitoba, modeling the life Israel now leads by serving people on two continents and in three countries as he helps others in the U.S., Canada and Nigeria through the Israel Idonije Foundation...

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NFL Closeup -- Nick Foles

It’s been a bit of a roller coaster in Philadelphia this season for Nick Foles, but once he established himself as the Eagles’ starter, it’s been a ride he’s enjoyed. After starting quarterback Michael Vick was sidelined with an injury, Foles took over until he was injured, as well. Vick was injured again and the seeming merry-go-round continued...

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Airing It Out -- Let your actions speak

Johnny Manziel, you don’t have to point fingers and brag. You’re good enough, I promise. You don’t have to prove it to a defender or remind them how good you are by yelling and pointing at them after running and passing the ball over them into the end zone...

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NFL Closeup: Josh McCown

From the backup quarterback in the NFL to high school quarterbacks coach to starting quarterback...

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Airing It Out -- Sharing our hope

(Originally published in Sports Spectrum's April 2013 DigiMag) We heard the same sermon twice on the Wednesday night we went to West Monroe, La.—and both were unexpected. We had just finished our interview with Miss Kay, Al, Willie and Phil Robertson, cast from the popular TV show, Duck Dynasty. It was interesting listening to Phil talk about sex and relationships, Willie talk about his early days when he and his wife, Korie...

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Devotional of the Week -- Tony Romo's Greatest Success

Tony Romo has undergone a spiritual transformation the last few years (which we talk about on pages 40-43 of this issue). During that time, he has been mentored by godly men, gotten married, become a father and has seen what's most important in life. "One thing as I grow into a husband is being a spiritual leader of my family, my wife and the people I surround myself with," Romo told Sports Spectrum. "I heard John Wooden, the UCLA basketball coach for all those years, once said success is peace…"

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Devotional of the Week -- Christ Reflector

Fresno State quarterback and Heisman Trophy hopeful Derek Carr said his faith in Christ was the No. 1 thing in his life. “You can ask anyone who knows me, that’s the first thing they should tell you, and if they don’t, then I’m not doing the right thing,” he said. “Derek Carr is not the Fresno State quarterback. First of all, he’s a Christian and then he’s the Fresno State quarterback; that is what’s the most important thing to me, to be noticed as a Christian first and a quarterback second...”

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Giving A Way Of Life

To whom much is given, much is required. Nicole Jennings says those words with a deep passion, referencing Luke 12:48, which is also the motto for the Greg Jennings Foundation...

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Airing It Out -- Freely pardoned

Parents, in general, rear their children to get an education, excel at sports, and excel at life, sometimes in that order, and sometimes with sports before education, but usually, excelling at life seems to come last on the importance meter. Strangely, those same parents wonder what happened when their children fail at life. Questions abound like: Why did they disobey? Why did they get involved with the wrong crowd?

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Back to Fresno

The phone rang. It was sometime in 2008 and Pat Hill, then Fresno State’s football coach, was calling to see how David Carr, the oldest of son of Rodger and Sheryl Carr, was doing. David was a former Fresno State record-setting quarterback who was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2002 NFL draft by the expansion Houston Texans and was featured on the cover of Sports Spectrum that year...

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Devotional of the Week -- Built for Pittsburgh

The success of the 2013 Pittsburgh Pirates, who broke a 20-year losing streak and made the playoffs, began because Pittsburgh Manager Clint Hurdle wanted to make a difference by choosing something other than what people told him to do. Hurdle recounted his decision to Sports Spectrum in the 2013 Spring issue. “Everyone told me that I had to go to New York,” recalls Hurdle, who says that people advised him to take that job because of his connection with the Mets as a player and minor league manager...

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NFL Closeup -- David Akers

Each time David Akers was cut by his last two NFL teams, his departure oddly...

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NFL Closeup -- Russell Wilson

Russell Wilson, one of the top rookies in the NFL last season while guiding the...

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Airing it Out -- Someone else's responsibility?

Parents, in general, rear their children to get an education, excel at sports, and excel at life, sometimes in that order, and sometimes with sports before education, but usually, excelling at life seems to come last on the importance meter. Strangely, those same parents wonder what happened when their children fail at life. Questions abound like: Why did they disobey? Why did they get involved with the wrong crowd?

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Starting Anew

Ben Pike will not be charging into “The Swamp” on Aug. 31 when the University of Toledo opens its football season at the University of Florida. He also won’t be running onto the field at the Glass Bowl, the Rockets’ home turf, on Sept. 14 when Toledo plays its first home game this season against Eastern Washington. Instead, his surroundings will be a little different and more than eight hours away...

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Devotional of the Week -- Hope-Inspired Moments

Marshall beat Xavier 15-13 on Sept. 25, 1971, in a college football game. Nothing about that seems spectacular, noteworthy or would make anyone have goose bumps—except a Marshall fan or someone who knows college football history. That game was memorable and spectacular, not because Marshall quarterback Reggie Oliver threw a touchdown pass...

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In the News -- Pittsburgh Pirates

Some are calling it the best story in sports this year. And why not? For 20 straight seasons, the Pittsburgh Pirates have been losers. The Pirates aren’t merely a franchise that hasn’t won their division, or hasn’t made the playoffs, or hasn’t won a playoff series or hasn’t reached the World Series...

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Devotional of the Week -- Breaking the Mold

Doug Flutie was someone who didn’t fit the prototypical quarterback. He only stood 5-feet, 9 inches tall, but he had a strong arm, a huge heart and a belief that his team could win. On Nov. 23, 1984, with six seconds left on the clock, and Flutie’s Boston College team trailing the defending national champion Miami Hurricanes, fans saw all of Flutie’s qualities and more...

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Airing It Out -- Michael Vick forgives; why can’t you?

If the statement below came from anyone else other than Michael Vick, we would glance over it, miss the potential lesson that we could learn (or be reminded of) and not think about how impactful it could be if we all did what Vick did. When asked about his teammate Riley Cooper, who used a racial slur while at a concert, Vick told reporters this: “As a team we understood because we all make mistakes in life and we all do and say things that maybe we do mean and maybe we don’t mean. But as a teammate, I forgave him...

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Devotional of the Week -- Miss Kay, An Example of Patience

Kay Robertson looked out in the parking lot of the place she was working and saw her husband, Phil, slumped over in his car, his head on the steering wheel. Several months prior, Phil had said he didn’t want to be around his wife or his children. He told them this, then he left. Alcohol was his love, and his wife and children were a distant second...

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Who's Al?

As Willie Robertson sits at his desk, signing what appears to be posters or lithographs, his oldest brother, Al Robertson, stands behind the desk, casually placing a new poster or lithograph in front of Willie each time Willie finishes signing. It’s a perfect picture of who Al is, a behind-the-scenes (or behind-the-camera) guy who helps to keep things moving...

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Devotional of the Week -- Being Open With God

R.A. Dickey, last year’s National League Cy Young winner, has been through some difficult times. In our cover story on pages 42-47 of our most recent print issue (log in here to read), he says: “I remember really being angry with God, like, ‘How can You take me to the precipice of a new start and then allow this to happen?’ You want answers, and I talk to God like He’s real. He already knows what I’m feeling, so why hide it? I’m not going to sugarcoat it, and so if I’m angry, I’m angry. If I’m sad, I’m sad. I’m not going to pretend to be somebody I’m not. I did that for too long...”

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Extreme Sports Closeup -- Nik Wallenda

Nik Wallenda, who walked across Niagara Falls in 2012, recently became the first person to...

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NCAA Baseball Closeup -- UCLA Baseball

Before this season, UCLA had won 129 national team titles in athletics—the most by any school—from rarely followed sports like badminton, rowing, and water polo to the more popular sports of basketball, football and soccer. But despite being in baseball talent-rich California, the Bruins had never won a College World Series, although PAC 12 rivals Southern Cal (12 championships), and Cal (two) had, as well as smaller and non-BCS in-state schools Cal State Fullerton (four), Pepperdine (one) and Fresno State (one)...

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Airing It Out -- Offending the few

We are a hyper, oversensitive, society that cares about offending a few as opposed to offending the many. And we do it in the name of diversity, tolerance, and, in the case of St. Louis Cardinals fan Michael Vines, being neutral on religion (or, in essence, being pro-atheist)...

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Devotional of the Week -- Inspiring Heroes

Eric Liddell is one of my favorite athletes, not because he was a runner (track and field is one of my favorite sports) and not because he was a winner (he won the 400 meters at the 1924 Olympics) and not because he was a world record holder (his winning time in the Olympics broke the previous world record). It was because he was able to compete in the sport and accomplish all of his feats while honoring God. His story is inspiring, and should be for any Christian, for all of those reasons...

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Airing It Out -- Sports, culture, politics – not always bad

I recently wondered if sports as a safe haven, the sanctuary we so often escape to avoid the media’s political boxing match every day, exists any longer because it seems to have become entangled with 21st Century politics. Current and former athletes speaking out for and against guns, gays, certain politicians and Christians sharing their faith openly, are only some of the hot-button issues invading our sports culture today. On the surface, this could cause some to worry that our escape has been turned into a battlefield by the politically motivated or by those who could care less about the pureness of sports...

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Devotional of the Week -- We are limited, but God is not

Tampa Bay Rays star Ben Zobrist was on the world stage recently when he played for the United States in the World Baseball Classic in March. But Zobrist was on an even bigger stage in 2008, when the Rays faced the Philadelphia Phillies in the World Series. Zobrist saw it as an opportunity where he could give God the glory if the Rays could win. When his team lost, though, he was baffled—but only for a short time...

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Devotional of the Week -- Dwelling on joy

Major League Baseball knuckleball pitcher R.A. Dickey had the best year of his career last season. He made his first All-Star Game appearance, had career-bests in victories (20), ERA (2.73) and strikeouts (230), and he won the National League Cy Young award—the highest achievement for a pitcher. And all of that came after releasing his autobiography, Wherever I Wind Up: My Quest for Truth, Authenticity and the Perfect Knuckleball...

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Airing It Out -- Disagreement equals hate?

It’s official. The media is the new czar of morality. Your Bible? They say it’s no longer valid. And what you individually believe? It’s no longer relevant either. If you go against the media’s moral code, whether you are a liberal or a conservative, you are now bigoted and hateful...

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Devotional of the Week -- Sovereign control

Los Angeles Dodgers star Adrian Gonzalez realizes that God’s sovereignty, His control, can’t be usurped. But he doesn’t use that as an excuse to not work hard, as he told Sports Spectrum in an interview. “My relationship with Christ allows me to take a step back from things and not put too much pressure on myself...”

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What You Don't Know About Duck Dynasty

Willie and Korie ran a church camp before Willie became the CEO of the family...

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Madly In Love

The note on the headboard of the bed is simple, “Kay, I love you; I...

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Welcome All

Fans of Duck Dynasty may not know that Willie and Korie Robertson are the proud...

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Devotional of the Week -- Enduring Love

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” I Corinthians 13:4-7 Enduring Love My mom and dad would drive my brother and I to Little League practice and games a lot when we were growing up. They seemed to never tire of the early Saturday mornings or the late practices during the week or the hours spent practicing with us...

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Devotional of the Week -- A New Day

Major League Baseball’s Opening Day has no comparison. The excitement, hope and freshness of that day can’t be matched by any other sport. It’s likely because it signifies, for most, the beginning of sunny days and warm weather after spending the winter fighting icy and snowy conditions, unless, of course, you live in a tropical climate. That’s what it felt like when I understood what it meant to follow Christ. The newness and hope were overwhelming because the worries of this life became insignificant when thinking what eternity with or without God would be like. The burden of fear, in regards to eternity, had been lifted...

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Airing It Out -- Why we stand with Robert Guerrero

When I read about Robert Guerrero getting arrested, all sorts of emotions welled up—at first. Then I read what happened and I thought, “No big deal.” Yes, No. Big. Deal. We have a logic fail by anyone who thinks otherwise, including people like ESPN’s Dan Rafael who, unfortunately, have essentially equated it with crimes like domestic violence...

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Football, Hunting and Decisions

Phil Robertson called signals, darted, dove and threw. He wasn’t trying to call or chase ducks, he was quarterbacking Louisiana Tech’s football team against Alabama in 1966. It’s an interesting clip on YouTube that shows Robertson’s high skill level at quarterback...

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Where Are They Now? -- Charlotte Smith

It is called “The Shot” and, according to ESPNW writer Mechelle Voepel, it is “the...

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Devotion of the Week -- Sin and defeat

“So about three thousand men went up; but they were routed by the men of Ai, who killed about thirty-six of them. They chased the Israelites from the city gate as far as the stone quarries and struck them down on the slopes. At this the hearts of the people melted and became like water.” Joshua 7:4-5 The year was 1991 and the Duke men’s basketball team was in the Final Four, facing an undefeated and defending NCAA champion UNLV team that had beaten Duke 103-73 for the national championship the previous year in the most lopsided title game in NCAA history...

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Airing It Out -- Winning = Happiness?

Mountaintop experience. Overwhelming. Elation. Joy. Happiness. Freedom. Those words would aptly describe the feelings of most players and coaches who win the Super Bowl, the most popular sporting event in the U.S. as evidenced by the record-breaking number of television viewers the last three Super Bowls (more than 111 million watched last year’s game making it the most-watched TV show in U.S. history)...

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Vernon Davis: Lesson Learned

Vernon Davis had just made a seven-yard catch, and after being tackled he slapped the helmet of a Seattle Seahawks defender that resulted in a 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalty. Normally that would be the end of the story, with a few mentions on ESPN that day or in the sports section the following day. But for Davis it was only the beginning...

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Reggie White - Minister of Defense

Reggie White is best remembered as the “Minister of Defense,” a nickname given to him because he was an ordained minister (at age 17) and a great defensive player. White was named to the Pro Bowl and All-Pro teams 13 times during his 15-year career and was voted to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2006, 13 months after...

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Tom Landry - Man of Honor

Pro Football Hall of Fame coach Thomas Wade Landry was born in a place with a name that’s a good description for his life – Mission. As a young man he left that Texas town for his first task – taking to the air. No, he wasn’t developing serious hang-time as a punter, but he was...

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Airing It Out -- The Te’o saga, what really went wrong

Odd. Bizarre. Baffling. Strange. Stunning. Mesmerizing. Absurd. Dumbfounding. Crazy. Embarrassing. Weird. Twisted. Can anything truly describe the curiously interesting story surrounding Manti Te’o, the most-decorated football player in Notre Dame’s recent history?

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Roger Staubach - Faithful Leader

Roger Thomas Staubach. Winner. What more can you say? Here’s a guy who had only one losing season in his lifetime. From Cincinnati’s Purcell High School to the New Mexico Military Institute to the Naval Academy to the Dallas Cowboys – his only sub .500 season was when injuries sank his senior season at Navy. And his winning percentage in the pros was a wave-worthy .746...

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Can Politics, Faith and Athletics Mix?

Some Christians are familiar with the faith of our nation’s Founding Fathers like Samuel Adams, Benjamin Rush and John Jay. They weren’t afraid to express their faith, like when Adams, signer of the Declaration of Independence and Father of the American Revolution, wrote this while Governor of Massachusetts in a Proclamation of a Day of Fast on March 20, 1797: “That wars may cease in all the earth, and that the confusions that are and have been among nations may be overruled by promoting and speedily bringing on that holy and happy period when the kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ may be everywhere established, and all people everywhere willingly bow to the sceptre of Him who is Prince of Peace...”

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Airing It Out -- The way sports should be

With all of the scandals, shootings, ill-advised comments (verbally and in social media), and general negativity surrounding today’s sports world, I wondered if sports had finally lost its safe-haven reputation it once enjoyed...

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Coach Of The Year: Mark Richt

Mark Richt told Sports Spectrum that he knew he first wanted to be a coach...

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Female Athlete of the Year: Allyson Felix

As Allyson Felix neared the finish of the 200 meters at the London Olympics this...

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Bringing Liberty To Uganda

Jodi Murphy was recruiting another player when she found out about Natalie Barr. That’s where...

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Airing It Out -- Heart control

Early on the Saturday morning of Dec. 1, 2012, Kansas City Chiefs starting linebacker Jovan Belcher killed his girlfriend after shooting her nine times. He then drove approximately five miles to Arrowhead Stadium where he thanked his coach, Romeo Crennel, and his general manager, Scott Pioli, for everything they had done for him. Then he shot himself to end his own life...

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NBA Closeup - Jeremy Lin

It was a simple request. Let me stay on the New York Knicks roster. That was the prayer request uttered by Jeremy Lin on January 27 at a pregame chapel with teammate and friend Landry Fields teammate Jerome Jordan and Miami Heat forward Udonis Haslem. “The chaplain asked us to share a prayer request, and I knew February 10th was right around the corner, so that was what was on my heart, just that I would be able to continue to stay on the roster and be with the team the rest of the year..."

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NCAA Women's Basketball Power Rankings

 1. Baylor: Reigning national champs. Reigning national player of the year Brittney Griner. All five...

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Airing it Out -- What sports lockouts teach us about society

NHL fans, and there are a few, are experiencing withdrawal right now because of disagreement and inability to compromise. Not the fans’ disagreement or the fans’ inability to compromise, but the owners and players...

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Angelic Host

Angel Goodrich was the key last season in Kansas’ improbable 70-64 upset against third-seeded Delaware,...

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Airing It Out -- Culture wars

There is a culture war going on and Yunel Escobar is in the middle of it. So is U.S. gymnastics Olympic star Gabby Douglas. The culture war involves an array of social issues involving Christianity, but we’ll address Gabby Douglas first. Her story deals with an attack directed straight at her faith...

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Training Table -- NCAA Football (Week 5)

Monday “If a man shuts his ears to the cry of the poor, he too...

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Training Table -- Penn State (Week 11)

Monday “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” Proverbs 27:17 Living With Accountability...

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Training Table -- The Tebow Devo (Week 13)

Monday “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’...

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Airing it Out -- Oh, when the Saints go cashing in

"Cart-offs” and “knockouts” aren’t terms that normally produce thoughts of leadership and the NFL. If anything, they make me think of the anything-goes-world of boxing. But that terminology, made infamous this past spring because of the connection to the New Orleans Saints bounty scandal, or “Bounty Gate” as it’s been dubbed, is actually synonymous with the NFL and a lack of leadership...

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Stephanie Brown Trafton: 'God has been preparing me for this'

For Stephanie Brown Trafton, a year made a world of difference; not only in the discus ring, but in her personal faith, as well. The track and field standout who had never won a U.S. track and field title or even an NCAA championship while at Cal Poly, won the discus at the 2008 Olympics. She followed that with three U.S. titles (2009, 2011, 2012) and an American record this year in the event...

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Airing It Out -- A true hero

When the Olympics come to mind, I generally think of one thing: track and field, the oldest sport in the Olympics, which date to 776 BC when the first games were held in Olympia, Greece. Actually, track was the only sport in that first Olympics and there was only one event—a race of approximately 192 meters (210 yards). Like most people who think about track, the names of Olympic greats like Carl Lewis, Usain Bolt, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Ben Johnson and Allyson Felix come to mind. But, given enough time, I end up thinking about Eric Liddell...

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Musings -- Thoughts from around the world of sports

If you wondered why Kansas City Royals fans were booing New York Yankees All-Star Robinson Cano last night and also on Monday night during the Home Run Derby, it was because he seemingly lied. Most commentators, writers, etc., failed to mention that fact when they derided the Kansas City fans for booing. The booing was merciless and constant...

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Musings -- Thoughts from around the world of sports

Musings about the world of sports... Contracts, new jobs, difficult situations, working behind the scenes, slander, forgiveness. Some of that sounds like what people deal with on a regular basis, but those things were evident in the world of sports this past week...

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Musings - Thoughts from around the world of sports

* On Sunday, we saw where some zany fan breached "security" at the U.S. Open as they presented Webb Simpson the trophy (read a great feature on Webb Simpson by Sports Spectrum writer Stephen Copeland). Some may ask how something like this could happen, especially in a sport like golf where fans are supposedly more well-mannered than fans in other sports. Well, look no further than our society...

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With Everything

Jeff and Natalie Storment’s lives had seemingly been changed overnight. Jeff had just become a Christian. He was a successful businessman in North Carolina, overseeing 350 employees in the southeast, and his wife, Natalie, had a successful business, too. But they desired God in a way that seemed to trump worldly desires. They didn’t want comfort by the world’s standards. They wanted comfort by God’s standards. And that meant doing what God wanted...

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NCAA Baseball Profile Closeup (Summer 2012 DigiMag): Mark Appel

Yesterday, Stanford's starting pitcher, Mark Appel, was selected 8th overall in the MLB Draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates. Stanford is currently competing in the College World Series and just advanced to the super regionals and will play Florida State. Appel is featured in our current DigiMag, read his story below: It would be easy to sympathize with Stanford’s Mark Appel if he felt pressure. He is the top pitcher on one of the nation’s best college baseball teams, and he is taking classes at one of the nation’s toughest academic institutions...

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Airing It Out -- Wake up, it's dark

"I guarantee that no man of Tim Tebow’s stature could survive a season in New York without succumbing to the temptations of the city.” – Neal Biderman, CEO of an internet site. That statement by Neal Biderman alone would irk some people, but knowing the context would, likely, disgust everyone...

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Airing It Out -- From Tebowing to Linsanity

On the surface, it seems kind of crazy that people in the Christian and secular communities have all of a sudden latched themselves to Tim Tebow and Jeremy Lin as if Tebow and Lin were the first ever Christian athletes. Don’t get me wrong, I think all of the attention is great...

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2012 Baseball Preview -- Top 10 Starting Pitchers

TOP 10 STARTING PITCHERS 1. Justin Verlander (RHP), Detroit Tigers – Won the American League Cy...

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2012 Baseball Preview -- Top 10 Hitters

TOP 10 HITTERS 1. Matt Kemp, L.A. Dodgers – Many thought Kemp should have been the...

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2012 Baseball Preview -- Top 10 Acquisitions

TOP 10 ACQUISITIONS 1. Albert Pujols, L.A. Angels – Biggest acquisition in recent years, for any...

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Airing It Out -- Our responsibility

When we fall, we learn a lot about ourselves. When others fall, we learn even more about ourselves because of how we treat the fallen—and most of the time what we learn in that moment, and through our actions, is just as bad, or worse, than what we learned when we fell...

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Airing It Out -- Tuck it away, not worth fighting

Seems Justin Tuck created quite a stir, in the secular and Christian community, when he bought each of his Super Bowl-winning New York Giants teammates, coaches and front office staff a memento to mark an occasion that only 45 other teams had ever experienced...

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The Scapegoat: Dealing with Blame and Defeat

On Championship Sunday, both the AFC and NFC title games were marred by mistakes in the final moments. Baltimore Ravens kicker Billy Cundiff shanked a game-tying field goal against the New England Patriots, and San Francisco 49ers returner Kyle Williams fumbled on the punt return, giving the New York Giants a game-winning field goal. But that's life. We're human. And we mess up. How do you react when you're the one to blame for defeat? How do you respond to God when you lose? Former Indianapolis Colts and Washington Redskins punter Hunter Smith, who is featured on this year's Power To Win DVD, dropped the snap on a game-tying extra point, which ended up being the last play of his otherwise successful career. But as a Christian, he used the moment of blame, shame and defeat to lead people to the Cross. It was drizzling rain at Washington’s Fed Ex Field on Dec. 12, 2010, and seven seconds remained on the clock...

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From the Archives: Meb Keflezighi

At 36-years-old, Meb Keflezighi won the Olympic marathon trials last weekend. Keflezighi's story below was featured in the Winter 2010 issue of Sports Spectrum. Nearly two years ago Meb Keflezighi couldn’t walk. Even moving around in his bed required help from loved ones. His predicament was the result of a fractured hip he incurred Nov. 3, 2007, at the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials in New York City...

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Musings: Does God Care About Tim Tebow?

With the recent success that Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos have had since Tebow took over as the starting quarterback eight weeks ago (he has gone 7-1 as a starter after people in the media said he couldn’t play in the NFL), several questions have arisen among believers as well as non-believers. They are: Is God showing favor on Tim Tebow or the Broncos? And does God care about the outcomes of sporting events, and in particular NFL games, or does He choose one team over the other? This topic has multiple levels of discussion, but below are a few. However, before we tackle (no pun intended) these topics, let’s remember this: We let God’s Word form our opinion and our theology. We don’t find Scripture to support our opinion or our view just because we believe it (which, in essence, would be man-made theology)...

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Sports Spectrum NBA Capsules

Managing editor Brett Honeycutt, SPORTS YAPP podcast host Bryce Johnson and the Sports Spectrum staff helps prepare you for the upcoming NBA season with its 2012 NBA Capsules. We preview each team's 2011-12 season, delving deep into the lineups and statistics, and recap each franchise's 2010-11 season so you don't miss a beat. We also predict the MVP, Eastern Conference Finals, Western Conference Finals, NBA Finals, top 25 players in the league and the top 10 things to watch for this season.

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Top-10 Christian College Athletic Programs

1. Cal Baptist  Although Cal Baptist finished sixth in the Learfield Sports Directors Cup (for the 2010-11 season)...

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In the News: Jesse Williams

High jumper Jesse Williams was honored on Tuesday as a recipient of the Jesse Owens Award. This season, Williams became the first American to win a world high jump crown since Charles Austin in 1991. Managing editor Brett Honeycutt's story on Williams was featured in the Spring 2011 issue of Sports Spectrum. U.S. Olympian. Three-time U.S. champion. Four-time NCAA champion. NCAA field athlete of the year. Those are Jesse Williams’ accomplishments. But it’s not what defines him...

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In the News: Landry Jones

From birth, Landry Jones seems to have been groomed to play football and play it at a high level. However, despite setting several school records for the storied University of Oklahoma football program last season as a freshman, when he filled in for Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Sam Bradford, Jones didn’t get lost in all of the glitz and glamour that comes from playing big-time college football. Sure, Jones (6-foot-4, 219 pounds) has aspirations of playing in the NFL like anyone who plays for a major college football program...

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Finishing Strong

“As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist fulfill your ministry.” II Timothy 4:5

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In the News: Andy Dalton

One morning this season TCU quarterback Andy Dalton received a text from his dad, Greg. “God says that He is with us in the midst of pain,” the text began. It continued, “Weeping may last for a night, but a shout of joy follows in the morning. God is able to cause something good for the bad for those who love Him and follow Him. Thank God alone for the things He alone can do.” Texting to Andy is something Greg does every morning. This time, though, the text dealt with the death of Andy’s grandmother...

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Overcoming the World

“Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’” Hebrews 13:5

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Musings: Tebow, Calvillo, Uh-Ohs and the Nicest in the NFL

"Musings" is a column-like blog written by Sports Spectrum Managing Editor Brett Honeycutt. It covers current sports issues and how they relate biblically. *Tim Tebow is now the starter of the Denver Broncos…again. But I know that news in Tebow Nation is about as old as who won last year’s Super Bowl. Denver announced it on Tuesday after Kyle Orton’s abysmal game this past Sunday. I’m a fan of Tebow. And, yes, it’s because he’s a Christian. But it’s really because he stands for something. He stands for Christ in the midst of adversity, and he is bold in his witness. No matter what team you root for in the NFL, you have to like someone like Tebow if you’re a believer in Christ...

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Living for God

“Moses said to the LORD, ‘O Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.’‘The LORD said to him, ‘Who gave man his mouth? Who makes him deaf or mute? Who gives him sight or makes him blind? Is it not I, the LORD? Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.’” Exodus 4:10-11

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Starting Strong and Finishing Strong

“Then David sent messengers to get her. She came to him, and he slept with her. (Now she was purifying herself from her monthly uncleanness.) Then she went back home.” II Samuel 11:4

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Airing it Out -- The Whole Story

It was a great story and most of the major print media outlets like ESPN.com, the Associated Press, The New York Times, L.A. Times and Yahoo Sports picked it up and wrote about it. Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw and his new bride, Ellen, went to Zambia on a goodwill trip to help orphans by building a schoolhouse and providing education for them...

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