Stephen Copeland

Three Colors and Forty Years - A Softball Tournament Makes an Impact for Christ

It’s a cool, Saturday morning in late August at Botetourt Sports Complex in Roanoke, Virginia....

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FROM THE ARCHIVES: Stephen Curry - The Year That Changed Him

This story appears in the October 2012 issue of Sports Spectrum Magazine. Support our ministry and subscribe...

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From the Archives: In the Clear

Life for professional baseball players isn't as easy as it may seem — especially for those with families at home. Astros pitcher Collin McHugh is no stranger to this truth.

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Devotional of the Week: The Potter and His Tools

“Then the word of the Lord came to me: ‘O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter has done?’ declares the Lord. ‘Behold, like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel.’” Jeremiah 18:5-6

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From the Archives: Multiply

With all that the NBA has to offer for young potential basketball stars, many college athletes choose to cut their careers short to enter the NBA Draft. Tonight, with the 2016 NBA Draft getting underway, will be no exception...

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From the Archives: Breaking Free

Back in 2011, before Simpson had earned any victories on the PGA Tour, he was caught in a trap. Not a literal sand trap, but a metaphorical, mental trap. He was taking a somewhat passive approach in his golf game — using his faith in God as an excuse...

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What Christians can learn from Kobe and Peyton

his is what makes anyone great at their profession or passion. The artists keep creating, understanding that there will always be something else for them to pour their soul into...

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Devotional of the Week: 'Continue in the Grace of God'

The spiritual journey does not end at baptism or after praying a prayer or upon converting—rather, continuing in the grace of God is something we can do forever...

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Devotional of the Week: Spirit Over Logic

Tim Noakes, a South African professor who has run in over 70 marathons and ultra-marathons, once said, “Your body will argue that there is no justifiable reason to continue. Your only recourse is to call on your spirit, which fortunately functions independently of logic...."

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NBA Closeup: Jeremy Lin

Through the email prayer requests, fans weren’t only given specifics on how to pray for Lin, but the emails also gave insight into how Lin felt, how he thought and how he believed God was moving...

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Drowning the Noise: Indiana coach Tom Crean learns to cope with criticism

The demand for success at Indiana is as high as those five banners. It is good to expect greatness, but it can be maddening to be imprisoned by expectations. Some might say that Hoosier Nation swings back and forth between the two like a pendulum. Indiana University head coach Tom Crean stands amidst the noise—the swinging pendulum—with the future of Hoosier basketball on his shoulders...

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Another Angle: Entering another level of learning

In our Winter 2016 print issue of Sports Spectrum, I wrote a story about Sara White, wife of NFL Hall of Famer Reggie White, one of the most renowned outspoken Christians (nicknamed “The Minister of Defense”) to ever play in the NFL...

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Another Angle: Rooming with New York Jets punter Ryan Quigley

In this issue of Sports Spectrum, we featured New York Jets punter Ryan Quigley in...

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Chosen: Carolina linebacker Thomas Davis is making the most of his time on, off the field

Thomas Davis sits in the quiet of his Charlotte, North Carolina, home, wearing a silvery,...

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Reggie Remembered: Family of late Hall of Famer Reggie White reflects on journey through grief

It is December 8. Eleven days before Reggie White’s birthday. Eighteen days before the 11th anniversary of his death...

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Another Angle: How counseling saved my career

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to write. In grade school, I wrote a three-part series, probably 200 pages long, about flying dogs and cats that were at war with one another (it actually turned out to be kind of a gruesome tale, with backstabbing and blood and death, and I’m sure my parents were at least a little concerned)...

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NFL Closeup: Ryan Quigley reflects on roller-coaster journey to NFL

Ryan Quigley found himself at a crossroads. After a successful four-year punting career at Boston College, Quigley, undrafted, had an opportunity to make the Chicago Bears roster during the 2012 preseason...

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Devotional of the Week: Learning through Discouragement

“Now those who were scattered because of the persecution that arose over Stephen traveled as...

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Another Angle: Does God Care Who Wins?

After the Green Bay Packers 27-17 victory against the Seattle Seahawks in Week 2 of the NFL, quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ post-game comments made headlines across the country. When asked about the win, Rodgers responded, “And then getting help from God. I think God was a Packer fan tonight, so He was taking care of us...”

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In The News Closeup: Caleb Castille's unorthodox journey to acting

Caleb Castille was playing football, following in the footsteps of his father and older brothers...

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Sylvia's Song: UNC women's basketball coach Sylvia Hatchell's fight with leukemia

Fifteen years ago, Sylvia Hatchell and her husband, Sammy, nailed a sign to the big oak tree next to the blueberry patch on their 200-acre property in the mountains of Asheville, N.C. The sign read...

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Devotionals from Fall 2015 print issue (Week 13)

SERIES: FROM THE EDITOR, LESSONS FROM THE EDITOR'S DESK Monday: “I have fought the good...

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Another Angle: Cheapening the Brand

The other day, I was listening to The Dan Patrick Show on the way to work, as I usually do, and Patrick was interviewing Jim Parsons, who is most known for his endearing role as “Sheldon” in The Big Bang Theory. Patrick was talking to Parsons about the new Broadway play he was starring in called “An Act of God...”

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Home Again

Heather Dobbins sits inside Enzo Martinez’s Salt Lake City apartment and holds his baby daughter, Arriana, for the first time. It’s the summer of 2013, and Dobbins has traveled all the way from Rock Hill, SC, to Utah, where Enzo is playing on Major League Soccer’s Real Salt Lake, just to be with him and his wife, Holly, and meet their daughter. The fact she has traveled so far just to be with Enzo’s family is really no surprise. Dobbins has always gone out of her way to care for Enzo and his brother Alex, who is only eleven months younger than him. And she has never expected anything in return...

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Devotional of the Week: Your Favorite Course

“I hate this course.” “I never play well on this course...”

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Another Angle: The Opry Stage and Honky-Tonks

Genuine joy and passion can shine most brightly through the simplest things and most ordinary actions. I began thinking about this whenever I was in Nashville at the end of May for the annual K-LOVE Fan Awards with the Sports Spectrum staff, a weekend-long celebration centered on Christian music that incorporates some of the top bands in the industry. The weekend is filled with concerts, activities, and an awards show on Sunday evening at the iconic Grand Ole Opry House...

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Devotional of the Week: Words to Say

On May 1, it was announced that Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry would be the recipient of the 2014-15 NBA MVP Award. That evening, Curry delivered a humble, gracious, 50-minute acceptance speech at the Oakland Convention Center. The speech reflected his interview with Sports Spectrum in 2013 when he said...

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In The Clear

Houston Astros pitcher Collin McHugh and his wife’s three-bedroom, three-bathroom house in the East Atlanta Village is more than a home. It’s a symbol...

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Another Angle: The 'Performance Wheel'

In Brad Paisley’s controversial song “Those Crazy Christians,” there’s a line about going to church that says: Those crazy Christians, dressed up drivin’ down my street, Get their weekly dose of guilt before they head to Applebee’s...

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No Condemnation

Was this what Christianity was all about? Feeling crappy about yourself all of the time? Because that was exactly how Gavin Floyd felt...

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Where Are They Now? Closeup: Tom and Terry Brands

Success breeds success is the well-worn coaching cliché. But more than a cliché, twins Tom...

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Devotional of the Week: Entering 'The Zone'

"Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, 'Go south to the road—the desert...

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Another Angle: Eighteen Months Later

Dear Papaw, We were never ones to have serious conversations, were we? We liked arguing about sports and giving each other a hard time. We were expert jokesters and pranksters. You’d kid with me that I couldn’t possibly be a diehard Indiana Hoosier fan because I was born in Kentucky—my deepest, darkest secret...

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Unexpected Platform

Sitting in a Target parking lot near Clearview Mall in New Orleans, Benjamin Watson opened the Notes app on his phone and wrote something that would end up touching America...

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Devotional of the Week: Accomplishment of God's Promises

The NFL has all kinds of stories about backup quarterbacks patiently waiting to be named the starter of the team. Aaron Rodgers waited behind Brett Favre. Nick Foles waited behind Michael Vick. Tom Brady waited behind Drew Bledsoe. While they waited, they continued to work hard and perfect their craft, knowing that if they were ever given their opportunity, they would be fully prepared...

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The Life of a Prince

Fourth-year star cornerback Prince Amukamara is a prince for several reasons. First, “Prince” really is his name—it’s not an overconfident moniker he adopted. Second, Amukamara really is a prince...

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Another Angle: Meeting Norberto

The first time I saw Paraguayan missionary Norberto Kurrle was two years ago on a video screen. I was sitting in the back of an amphitheater at a church service in Roanoke, Va., when a video cued featuring Norberto and his newly adopted two-year old daughter, Anahi, sitting on his lap...

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Ben Utecht: Why the Mind Matters

"Are you ever afraid, Ben?” the reporter asks. He doesn’t answer right away. How could...

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Another Angle: Whisper of truth

I tried to enter complete solitude. It was a Saturday morning, and I had just...

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Journey of Discovery

Rashad Jennings sits inside his New Jersey home across the Hudson River. Two days before, he rushed for a career-high 176 yards in the New York Giants’ 30-17 victory against the Houston Texans in Week 3. He dedicated the game to his father, Albert Jennings, a double amputee who lost his legs to diabetes. Jennings looks down at his blank piece of paper, silent and reflective. Here he is, the starting running back for the New York Giants, in the biggest city in the country...

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Devotional of the Week: Everything is a Gift

“I will go to the altar of God, to God my exceeding joy.” Psalm 43:4...

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Obedient Servant

Gus Malzahn walks around the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tenn., at the 2014 K-LOVE...

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Another Angle: Love and labels

This summer, my roommate and I watched every United States World Cup match at a soccer pub called Courtyard Hooligans. You might have seen “fan reaction” videos from Hooligans floating around the Internet, as many of the clips found their way onto sites like USAToday.com and FoxSports.com.

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Devotional of the Week: To Glorify and Enjoy

Before one of my team’s golf matches against a big, public school in Charlotte, I gave each one of my players a notecard that read: “'The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.' Westminster Catechism, 1646”. I’m not sure if it meant anything to them. One of my players just said, “Whoa, that’s older than my dad...”

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Switchfoot's 'Joy of the Journey'

You look the most hipster out of all of us with that bike,” Switchfoot lead singer Jon Foreman laughs. I look back over my shoulder at Foreman behind me. “I don’t know about that,” I laugh, as I coast down a hill on a yellow, rusted fixie they’ve lent me from their tour bus. The paint is peeling, and the bike appears to be more silver than yellow. The bike is wobbly and the front brakes are practically non-existent...

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Because It's Better

Former college basketball coach Bob Knight, one of my favorite coaches of all time, is known for his aggressive style of coaching and intimidation techniques he would use on his players. He would oftentimes kick his players out of practice if they were not living up to his demands...

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Another Angle: Resting In Smallness

Switchfoot’s lead singer Jon Foreman and drummer Chad Butler say that their favorite thing about surfing is feeling small again in the ocean—leaving their problems on the shore, getting lost in the ocean’s infinite magnitude, and sometimes being humiliated by its waves. This idea, feeling small, was one of the underlying things they communicated in their interview with Sports Spectrum...

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Meeting The Future

Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius’s book Meditations found Clint Irwin at a perfect time. Irwin was...

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Serious Call, Freeing Cause

As reported several months ago, the Brazilian government pledged to spend at least $900 million on security for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. They said that it would be "one of the most protected sports events in history." A CNN article in 2012 said that the government plans on having one police officer per every 50 people at each soccer match and one per every 80 people at other viewing events around the country...

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Another Angle: Saltwater in the nose

I parked my car and hurried into the gas station to buy a bag of ice. It was 5 a.m., and I was running slightly behind. I had started coaching a golf team at a Christian high school in Charlotte that spring, and it was the morning of our conference tournament, our biggest tournament of the year. Though I was hesitant to accept the position, I looked back on the season and believed it might have been the best thing I had done with my life in a long, long time...

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Scars For A Cause

They are calling Group G the "Group of Death" in the 2014 FIFA World Cup, consisting of Germany, Portugal, Ghana, and the United States. Merely advancing out of the group would be an incredible accomplishment, especially for the United States. The fact that it's a more difficult road for, say, a team like the United States, almost makes the journey more exciting. The greater the pain, the more scars there are, the greater the reward...

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Brad Guzan's Unexpected Journey

Our biggest breakthrough moments sometimes come when we least expect them. In 2005, United States goalkeeper Brad Guzan had thought he played poorly in place of Chivas USA’s injured keeper. The squad finished with an abysmal 4-22 record in its first season, and Guzan believed much of it fell on him. “I was young,” he says. “I wasn’t sure I was ready mentally, physically…"

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'All In One Rhythm'

"For there are three that testify: the Spirit and the water and the blood; and these three agree." 1 John 5:7-8 The official slogan of the 2014 FIFA World Cup is "All in One Rhythm," or, in Portuguese, "Juntos num so ritmo." I love these four words. Not only is it a perfect description of the World Cup—how teams from around the world come together to participate in the sport of soccer, all in one rhythm— but it also makes me want to apply it to my own spirituality...

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Preacher In Cleats

There is an hour-long video online titled “The Integrity of the Christian Faith Pt. 1,” featuring pastor Ebo Taylor and Cameroonian soccer midfielder Eyong Enoh. The video is produced by an organization called “Sons of God Intercessory Ministries (ICWC) Europe,” and as of March 10, 2014, the video only had 64 views...

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Living conscious of God's love

I’ve dislocated my knee twice while playing basketball. What’s just as frustrating as the dislocation itself, however, is what happens to the quad muscle after the injury. It shuts down. In order to get back out on the basketball court, even after two surgeries fixed my knee cap, I had to hook an electric stimulator up to my quad multiple times a day, for several weeks straight, just to fire up the muscle again. It was as if my quad completely forgot how to function, even after the surgery...

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Multiply

  If there is one word that describes the 2013-14 Charlotte Bobcats season, it’s this:...

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Rising to the Occasion

I had the privilege of going to last year’s national championship game between Louisville and Michigan. I confess I knew nothing about either team, but as the game progressed, I was quickly captivated by a little, freshman guard on Michigan named Spike Albrecht. Albrecht, who was only averaging 1.6 points per game, caught fire from the 3-point line and single-handedly kept the Wolverines in the game. In 18 Big Ten games, he had 22 points total. In the national title game, he had 17 points in the first 11 minutes...

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Another Angle -- Fifteen hundred enjoyable feet

It doesn’t matter that I know he survived. It doesn’t matter that I know he made it. As I sit here in my office and re-watch world-renowned aerialist Nik Wallenda’s 22-minute high-wire walk over the Grand Canyon from June, I’m sure it looks more like I’m back in my high school Health & Wellness class watching a video about child birth—nervously peeking through my fingers, feeling somewhat queasy, wanting it all to be over so I can breathe again, and, like Wallenda, saying to myself...

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From Our Friends in Russia

The Opening Ceremony for the Winter Olympics in Russia also provided the opening for Christian...

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Cover Story -- Beyond A Super Bowl

Somewhere in this wacky, Super Bowl Media Day circus are lessons to be learned. This is what I try to say to myself as a superhero from Nickelodeon challenges Russell Wilson to a staring contest; a striped Waldo is wandering around and members of the media are actually interviewing him; a guy from VH1 is wearing an old, colonial outfit, or something with a bib, and I picture us having an epic sword fight that makes its way onto Pete Carroll’s podium...

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A city's whisper

New York City has a way of reminding you of the vast immensity of this world. I had never been to New York City, not until this week for Super Bowl XLVIII festivities. The closest I’d been before this week was a connecting flight at La Guardia this past fall, but the man giving me an aerial tour in the seat behind me could tell my brain got lost somewhere in the Hudson River below. For an Indiana kid who grew up with a cornfield in his back yard, NYC was a lot to handle...

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Sports Spectrum Female Athlete of the Year: Maya Moore

Does Maya Moore do anything but win? Every step, every stage, that’s all she has done. She won three state titles with Collins Hill High School in Georgia, two national titles in college at the University of Connecticut, and three years into her professional career with the Minnesota Lynx, her winning ways have not changed...

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The Mind of McCutchen

Since being awarded the National League MVP in November, Pittsburgh Pirates star Andrew McCutchen gets the questions all the time. What’s the key to success? How did you get the MVP? What makes you so calm and confident?

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Another Angle -- Deeper peace, more and more

Keep going,” my editor said. “Okay,” I replied, as I veered from turning onto the street where the Sports Spectrum offices are located. We needed to get away. It was deadline week at Sports Spectrum, which means sleepless nights, burning eyes, and a terribly strange aroma in my office that smells like Panera coffee and Little Caesars pizza. During these weeks, my editor and I often find it helpful to get out of the office and drive around...

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Devotional of the Week -- Unfathomable Grace

There were times in my athletic career that I made “working” an idol. If I wasn’t No. 1 on the team, or if I wasn’t on the varsity team, I would work harder…and harder…and harder. Somewhere, in the depths of my mind, was the thought that if I kept working, I would one day be rewarded for all I have done. I think I did this with my spiritual life for some time, too. Actually, I think we all do...

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Life 'Til Gain

Taylor Morton was a 14-year-old boy, innocent and impressionable, athletic and adventurous, a typical eighth grader whose biggest concern was sports…then maybe school…then maybe girls, whatever “girls” were. It was an Alabama April. Soon, school would be over. Soon, it would be summer. These were the summers of their youth that Taylor and his two younger brothers, Trent (12) and TJ (8) loved to conquer...

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Peace In The Walls

The office in Steve Smith’s Charlotte, N.C., home could pass as a closet in the Sistine Chapel, the arched ceiling painted in a greenish hue, clouds bleeding onto the woodwork, angels appearing to descend from their universe, a biblical story in each corner. The front left corner is a painting of Eve leaning against Adam in the Garden of Eden, representing Smith’s renewed relationship with his wife, Angie. The back left corner is of the Good Samaritan, representing Smith’s heartbeat for Samaritan’s Feet, a ministry that provides shoes for millions around the world...

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Another Angle -- Dear Coach Bliss

Coach Dave Bliss, I’m not sure when I started calling you “Coach.” It just kind of happened. I suppose it’s fitting since that’s what you are—from your assistant coaching days under Bob Knight at West Point and Indiana; to your head coaching days at Oklahoma, SMU, New Mexico and Baylor; and even now as the athletic director at Allen Academy in Bryan, Texas. You’re a coach. And you have 500 NCAA victories to prove it...

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Unfazed

Texas A&M head coach Billy Kennedy and his assistant coach, Mitch Cole, are in the team film room. Kennedy sits in the middle of the room, its theatre-seating funneling toward the screen in front of them, tables running across each row, black-and-white A&M basketball photos and inspirational quotes plastered on the side walls. Kennedy’s plastic plate from lunch, littered with crumbs and a banana peel, is sitting on the table, as he casually leans back in his chair...

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Devotional of the Week -- Mumford Prayers

I pray a lot of times while I run. There’s just something about running that puts me in a reflective, spiritual mood. It feels good to be outside and release energy after sitting in an office all day, and I feel like I’m engaging with creation, smelling the Carolina pine straw at my feet, watching the sun go down, and taking care of the body the Lord has given me...

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NCAA Basketball Closeup: Brady Heslip

There was a time when Baylor University senior guard Brady Heslip’s lifelong dream of playing...

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NFL Closeup: Case Keenum

The Houston Texans have seemingly had a revolving door at quarterback this season, but it...

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From Puppet to Platform

Dylan Thompson had strings. He moved the right way. He said the right things. He danced across the stage and nailed his lines. He was a shell of a man, a marionette that moved but had no life inside. One day, the strings broke, his body fell, and he lay all twisted up and lifeless on stage. The lights went down. And the curtains closed...

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Love Like Mountains

A reporter asks Derek McCartney if he has anything else to say. He pauses, and thinks. “I guess I just have one request,” he says. “Yeah,” says the reporter. “In the past, when people have done articles on my family, they have described me and T.C. as ‘half-brothers...’”

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One more step

Carolina Panthers long-snapper JJ Jansen looked at me from across the table. He had an intense strain in his eyes. I noticed sweat forming on his nose. His leg started to shake, causing our coffees to rattle on the table as if there was a coming storm. I looked at him, confused. “Stephen,” he said, “I have something to tell you.” “Yes?” I said...

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Faith Looks Forward

Mason Plumlee looks out over the floor at Duke University’s practice facility. It must be weird to be back—returning to campus, his home for the last four years; visiting Cameron Indoor, Duke’s 2010 national championship banner hanging in the rafters of its gymnasium that feels more like a cathedral, with its wooden steeple doors and castle-stone exterior; and sitting here in Duke’s practice facility where his new team, the Brooklyn Nets, are having training camp...

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Come Alive

So much of life seems to be a search for life. Purpose and love and happiness seem to be buried somewhere in a far-off desert. Some find it. Some don’t. But all search...

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Faith Looks Forward

Mason Plumlee looks out over the floor at Duke University’s practice facility. It must be weird to be back—returning to campus, his home for the last four years; visiting Cameron Indoor, Duke’s 2010 national championship banner hanging in the rafters of this gymnasium that feels more like a cathedral, with its wooden steeple doors and castle-stone exterior; and sitting here in Duke’s practice facility where his new team, the Brooklyn Nets, are having training camp...

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Devotional of the Week -- Know what is true of you

“Stephen,” my golf instructor told me in high school. “We’re going to make a list.” “Okay,” I said. “Of what?” “Of all the positive things that are true about your golf game,” he told me. I think my instructor knew the exercise would be difficult for me. He knew how much I beat myself up, how much I convinced myself I was worse than I actually was, how much of a pessimist and perfectionist I am...

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Another Angle -- Weekend in Virginia

As I write this, I see the Blue Ridge Mountains surrounding the softball diamonds at the Botetourt Sports Complex in Roanoke, Va. I come here every Labor Day weekend for the Interstate Church of God Softball Tournament. I don’t come to play softball. I come to write. I come to gather stories. I come to Roanoke to believe...

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Devotional of the Week -- The Experience Is Enough

I remember going to my first Indiana Pacers game at Market Square Arena with my father in first grade. The Pacers were playing the Hawks, and we sat up in the rafters, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I don’t even remember if the Pacers won; in fact, I think they lost. But the experience is what I remember. I had bugged my dad for so long to go to a game, and just being there, watching Reggie Miller, wearing my No. 31 Miller jersey and pinstripe shorts, and sitting next to my dad was enough. The experience was enough...

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Devotional of the Week -- Why a Loss of Control is Freeing

I was talking to my sister about her conference tennis match on the phone this year. She was nervous and anxious, and she needed some comfort. I told her, “Carrie, nobody works harder than you. Nobody trains better. Nobody takes more lessons. There’s nothing else you can do. Enter the match knowing that. And be comforted by that. What happens will play out, but know you’ve done everything...”

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Hollow me, breathe through

My grandpa died a few weeks ago. It was sad and unexpected, but I’m thankful I was able to see him in Indiana the week before he died. I live in North Carolina. It was my first time in Indiana in five months. Five months. I couldn’t believe I got to see him. I think about stuff like this a lot, whether things are just a coincidence or if God has His hand in our lives, whether life is unfolding or if God is in control of all of it...

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NCAA Football Closeup -- Hugh Freeze

Hugh Freeze is in for the long hall. Freeze, named head coach of Ole Miss in December of 2011, said in his press conference that the University of Mississippi is where he wants to retire. Judging from his first year on the job, Ole Miss fans probably hope his talk is true...

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In the News -- Mariano Rivera

Mariano Rivera is a reflection. And the night of the MLB All-Star game was no different. Rivera, considered the greatest relief pitcher of all time, was named the 2013 MLB All-Star Game MVP a month ago in his 19th season. It was his first All-Star MVP award in 13 appearances...

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Devotional of the Week -- Starting a New Chapter

At the end of the 2013 MLB season, the greatest closer of all time, Mariano Rivera, will hang up his Yankee uniform and retire at the age of 43. The Yankees closer for the last 17 years is still excelling at an age most players, and pitchers specifically, are long gone from the game, and he was just named the 2013 MLB All-Star Game MVP. It’s unlikely there will ever be another like him. And yet, while the watching world believes his purpose on this earth is coming to an end, Rivera believes it is only beginning...

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Resurrect your reverence

I know a basketball agent who went to the NBA All-Star game last year in Orlando. He was networking with some guys, hanging around after the game, and took a look around at his surroundings. He noticed a number of women hanging around after the game—a lot of women—and not just any women, women who wanted something. High heels. Short skirts. Tight shirts. Makeup-coated faces, like apples dipped in caramel...

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Scars and submission

"I have a strange question,” I said. “Okay,” replied Carolina Panther wide receiver Steve Smith, leaning back into the cushions of his living room sofa. Smith had just finished telling me about his visit to the Dominican Republic the week before, where he led a shoe distribution trip through Samaritan’s Feet, an organization that helps provide shoes to millions around the world who don’t have them. The unique thing about Samaritan’s Feet, I found, is that it takes a hands-on approach to their ministry, washing the feet...

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Devotional of the Week -- Prone to Doubt

Sometimes I think about all the things Jesus did and why He did them. Not just the core stuff, like rising from the dead and all, but all the little stuff. Like appearing before 500 people, or chilling with the apostles for 40 days, or all the little miracles—which aren’t really little, but compared to conquering death and defeating sin, kind of are. My ESV study Bible theorizes why Jesus did what he did: “Jesus appeared multiple times to his disciples and gave them many proofs to strengthen their faith..."

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David Robinson, Sports Spectrum's No. 1 cover boy

May/June 1992           May 1994            ...

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Another Angle -- God and Corona

I recently had coffee with the long snapper for the Carolina Panthers, J.J. Jansen. He was telling me about chapel and how more players attend during losing seasons because they think chapel, or God, will help them win. We started talking about God and prosperity, agreeing that they don’t relate. I call it “Ray Lewis Theology.” You know, quoting Isaiah 54:17 (“No weapon formed against you shall prosper”) after winning the AFC Championship...

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Devotional of the Week -- Fall in love with saving grace

I remember the summer I fell in love with golf. I was in seventh grade and my two best friends and I all had junior memberships at a small, nine-hole golf course called Hendricks County Golf Course in Danville, Ind. We played golf every day. Some days, my dad would drop us off at the course at 6 a.m. and pick us up after work at 6 p.m. One day, the three of us walked 54 holes. When I put my clubs in my dad’s trunk at the end of the day, I rode home talking nonstop, looking forward to the next day...

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Long, Lost Eden

The stars felt so close it’d be easy to think God Himself had come down from His throne. He knelt below them, his heart heavy, his mind swallowed by sorrow and sin. He stared up at the sky, the heavens his only comfort to his understanding. His skin bore a drop of blood. It slowly fell from his wound and swam down his cheek. He was dying, and he knew it...

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Devotional of the Week -- Success won't change Webb Simpson

I went to hear Webb Simpson speak at Forest Hill Church in Charlotte, N.C., one evening this past winter. He spoke transparently about his faith, family and success. The pastor of Forest Hill, David Chadwick, asked Simpson about temptations on the PGA Tour. Simpson talked about how he stepped on Tour and everyone started treating him like he was special. People wanted him to sign autographs. He had 60-year-old volunteers calling him “Mr. Simpson.” When he had his breakout season in 2011 and won the U.S. Open in 2012...

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Another Angle -- Alcoholics and mannequins

I went to an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting the other day. And yes, I understand that is kind of an interesting way to start a column. Basically, I have a friend who is getting her Master’s degree in Counseling, and she needed to observe a meeting for class, so I said I’d go with her...

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Guerrero's unchanging message

Once again, boxer Robert Guerrero has made me think about some things. I’ll begin this column by saying this: I thought he was going to win last night. I thought he was going to be the first to beat Floyd Mayweather Jr. I thought he was going to make history...

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The Art of Letting Go

Look past the call-girl cards that litter the street like confetti at Times Square on New Years, or the erotic billboards on the sides of trucks going down the neon-lit Strip, and you’ll see Las Vegas in its grace. You’ll see the fountains in front of the Bellagio dancing beneath the dry, Nevada sky, or the city calling your name as you look at it atop the Stratosphere, wooing you from below into an evening that never ends, where the casinos make promises and the liquor makes you believe them...

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Devotional of the Week -- 'God Has Something Bigger For Us'

“This God—his way is perfect; the word of the Lord proves true; he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him.” Psalm 18:30 (ESV) Boxer Robert Guerrero has one of the most inspiring journeys and stories I’ve ever encountered in my journalism career. When you look at all of the setbacks he has had (read his story here), you wonder if he’s a modern Job: destined to suffer for some of his life. The interesting thing about Guerrero is that he never got down. Even in the heat of the fire, he would tell his manager, Bob Santos, “It’s okay, Bob, God has something bigger for us.” “He never said, ‘Why is this happening?’” Santos says of Guerrero. “It was always, ‘God has something bigger for us. I know God has something bigger for us, Bob. Keep trucking. Keep trucking...’”

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Baseball and Bucks

Washington Nationals first baseman Adam LaRoche has a tattoo on his right arm; it’s a drake. LaRoche also has a son; and his name is “Drake.” On his left arm is a buck tattoo. You could say the guy loves hunting...

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Devotional of the Week -- Bubba Watson: Who is Jesus?

“He said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ Simon Peter replied, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’” Matthew 16:15-16 (ESV) Judah Smith, pastor of The City Church in Seattle, Wash., and good friend of 2012 Masters champion Bubba Watson, released a new book in 2013 called Jesus is ___. Watson wrote the foreword...

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God wins the Walrus

I was trying to sing “Jesus the Nazarene” but instead stood amazed in the presence of my own stupidity. We were at White’s Ferry Road Church of Christ in West Monroe, La., attending church with the Robertson family, the clan of redneck millionaires featured on the hit-program Duck Dynasty on A&E—and that’s when it hit me...

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Duck Dynasty, How It Almost Never Happened

Phil sits in Willie’s office at the Duck Commander warehouse. He’s telling a story, like Phil usually does. Being with him in person is kind of surreal, like you’re having coffee with a cartoon. It looks like he came straight out of your television and sat in your living room—sunglasses resting on his head, camouflage bandana and pants, as if he’s been hunting all day, and a nest of a beard you could probably turn into a winter scarf...

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Invisible No More

If you could have stood in the locker room before the fight, you would have thought an army was about to charge into battle. The energy gave you chills. The noise made your head throb. As Robert Guerrero’s team, family and friends gathered around him, howling and chanting, Bob Santos stood quietly, questioning their naivety, nervously wondering if this would go down as the biggest mistake of Robert Guerrero’s career...

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The Heart Of A Man

On Tuesday, Ben Crane and the "Golf Boys" released their second single, "2.Oh," as they continue to revolutionize the image of the PGA Tour. Our feature on Crane, "The Heart Of A Man," was published in the Summer 2012 issue of Sports Spectrum. Ben Crane was walking off the green after a birdie on the par-5 15th in the final round of the Wells Fargo Championship in Charlotte, NC...

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Stephen Curry - The Year That Changed Him

Blessings tend to make life’s imperfections dissipate like a cloud of smoke. That is, if you let them, if you focus on them, if you realize you’re blessed. If not, you’ll end up like most people, trapped in the smoky thickness with bloodshot eyes, probably coughing and complaining, your vision clouded, lacking sufficient depth and perspective...

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Life is a hard drive

Cigarette smoke sunk into my skin like cologne. I was in a random man’s garage—I think his name was Bob—and I had just met him. Bob had wrinkles in his face like he had been tanning and smoking for decades and an unbuttoned shirt that revealed his skinny, almost sickly, chest and stature. I’ve never met a mass-murderer, but if I ever do, I imagine him looking like Bob...

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Underwater

Joel Parker was on his way back from the slopes. He pounded another beer and chucked the bottle out the sunroof of his Subaru station wagon. He pressed his foot on the accelerator, his friends laughing in the backseat, anxiously peering out the rear-window to see if the bottle struck a brand new car in the dealership parking lot...

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Beauty Unseen

The drive from Lake Tahoe to Seattle is about 13 hours. The road, like a river, winds its way through an array of landscapes—mountains, valleys, forests, desert, and high plains—as if God is showcasing His most beautiful paintings. Nick Visconti is on the road, the river. He doesn’t second-guess his direction, just as water doesn’t question its current...

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Drowning Doubt

There’s a mother driving her white Ford Thunderbird down a California freeway. It’s 1994 and it’s lunch hour. It’s Orange County and it’s sunny. She’s on her way to Costco to buy groceries for her family, just a mile from her exit, when she realizes something. But it’s too late...

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Male Athlete of the Year: R.A. Dickey

It’s only fitting R.A. Dickey’s memoir “Wherever I Wind Up” was released this past March,...

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The Void

That summer, John Morris would sit in church every Sunday and feel his eyes well up. His wife would look at him, concerned. “It’s okay,” he’d say. Then she would hold his hand. But he wasn’t okay. How could he be? How can you be okay when a player kills—kills—another player? When the town you’ve lived in for 25 years—Waco, Texas—is a media circus, the center of one of the most catastrophic scandals in college basketball history? When the school you love—your employer for the last eight years—is like an exploding building, collapsing in slow motion for the entire nation to see...

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One Year Gone

There’s a stairwell that leads to a lonely apartment on Hinesley Avenue, down the street from Hinkle Fieldhouse. Rotnei Clarke, one of the nation’s top college basketball players, used to crawl up the stairs to the second floor, casts on his feet, questions on his mind, doubts flying like arrows over the walls of his soul...

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Zealous Faith

When you grow up a Zeller, you have some big shoes to fill. And it’s not just because Luke and Tyler wear size 18 and 19 shoes, respectively. The eldest brother, Luke, led Washington High School to an Indiana Class 3A championship, swooshing a miracle heave from mid-court his senior season in 2005. The middle brother, Tyler, the 17th pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, led the Hatchets to another title in 2008 and set an Indiana scoring record during his senior campaign. And to top it off, both received the illustrious Indiana Mr. Basketball award and were named McDonald’s All-Americans their senior seasons...

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Faith as Fashion

Aaron Baddeley was wearing sweatpants, a t-shirt and a backwards hat, far from his typical on-the-course attire—an Adams cap and his trendy Ogio clothing. His relaxed, boyish wardrobe (Richelle, his wife of seven years, playfully jokes that he still wears American Eagle sweatpants with a number on them, which he does) isn’t rare for the handsome 31-year-old American-Australian professional golfer...

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Training Table -- Fruit of the Spirit (Week 8)

Monday “What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you...

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Training Table -- Pro Quotes (Week 4)

Monday “Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High, will rest in the shadow...

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Training Table -- Fruit of the Spirit (Week 7)

Monday “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,...

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Training Table -- Pro Football (Week 9)

Monday “Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those...

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Breaking Free

A glimpse into the mind of the 2012 U.S. Open champion, Webb Simpson... Webb Simpson had fallen into a trap, a spiritual and psychological snare. As he stood on the putting green before the final round of the 2011 Wyndham Championship in Greensboro, NC—with a two-stroke lead, still winless on the PGA Tour with an opportunity to earn his first victory close to his hometown of Raleigh—he still had one foot stuck in the snare...

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A Distinct Path

It happened to Luke Zeller three times—the recurrence of a dream. “What do you want to do when you grow up?” a television reporter asked Luke when he was 14 years old. “I want to start a basketball camp,” he said...

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A Heavenly Future

Bubba Watson’s phone rang. His dad was calling. “If this is truth, if God is truth—you better start practicing,” Gerry said once Bubba picked up the phone. “Why do I need to practice?” said a confounded Bubba, who was having his best PGA Tour season yet. “You better practice because by the time you get to heaven, I’m going to be so good at golf...”

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Nored's journey at Butler near complete

Fearing the future can be like a small flame that ignites into a fire. But that’s a barbecue Butler University senior co-captain Ronald Nored would rather forgo. And it’s an inferno he’d rather extinguish with the lessons of his past...

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SS at the Super Bowl: Blog Entry No. 7

On Saturday morning at the 2012 Athletes in Action Super Bowl Breakfast, we interviewed four people: legendary quarterback Bart Starr, 2012 Bart Starr Award winner London Fletcher, Super Bowl XLII champion David Tyree and Baltimore Ravens quarterbacks coach Jim Caldwell. If you haven't read Washington Redskins linebacker London Fletcher's story in our Winter 2012 issue, you have to read it. That's what makes him receiving the Bart Starr Award even more impressive...because of where he's come from. In the media room, he talked about living "the NFL life" for seven years but then turning things around. And here he was receiving an award based on "outstanding character and leadership in the home, on the field and in the community." Amazing.

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SS at the Super Bowl: Blog Entry No. 6

Yes, I know the Super Bowl is over, and I've returned from Indianapolis...but we're literally swimming in content from all the multimedia we gathered from the last week. That being said, we're going to post two more blogs: this one that features four Christians talking about their faith from the Super Bowl XLVI Champion New York Giants and another one tomorrow featuring interviews from the Athletes In Action Super Bowl breakfast. The Giants featured in the video below are defensive end Justin Tuck, cornerback Will Blackmon, wide receiver Isiah Stanback and tackle Selvish Capers. Tuck, who was featured in the Spring 2011 issue of Sports Spectrum, had three tackles in the Super Bowl along with New York's only two sacks. Blackmon returned a punt for four yards and a kick for 10 yards. Stanback and Capers are listed on the Giants' practice squad...

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SS at the Super Bowl: Blog Entry No. 5

Yesterday, I had a chance to speak with the host of NFL Today on CBS, James Brown. Watch the video below...

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SS At the Super Bowl: Blog Entry No. 4 (Media Day)

One of the coolest things on Media Day, at least for me, was having the opportunity to interview other members of the media. We talked to EPSN's Rick Reilly, Fox Sports' Dan Patrick, Sports Illustrated's Peter King, NBC's Tony Dungy (yes, he’s media now), and at the media party last night at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, I had the opportunity to sit down with one of my favorite journalists, Indianapolis Star columnist Bob Kravitz. Sure, not all of them were Christians. I’m not sure if any of them were outside of Tony. But my colleague from All Pro Dad and I enjoyed asking them about something that related to faith...

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SS at the Super Bowl: Blog Entry No. 3

Monday, I had a chance to catch up with former Indianapolis Colts head coach and current NBC Football Night in America NFL analyst, Tony Dungy. To see the interview, click below.

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SS at the Super Bowl: Blog Entry No. 2

On Saturday night at the Rock and Worship Roadshow, we got a chance to go backstage and interview one of the biggest names in hip-hop, Lecrae Moore. Sure, Lecrae may not be someone we typically feature in Sports Spectrum. He's not an athlete. He's a musician. But he relates to athletics because of hip-hop's influence in the athletic sphere. He recently delivered a message for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and his event manager showed us a number of pictures from a golf round Lecrae played with Bubba Watson, who we featured in our Winter 2012 issue...

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SS at the Super Bowl: Blog Entry No. 1

Family first. I was sitting at the Marion County Juvenile Detention Center listening to NFL alum Freddie Scott speak, when I noticed one of the kids to the left of me. There were 100 kids and 35 parents gathered in the Detention Center’s gymnasium that day, but this kid in particular caught my eye. As he listened to Freddie, elbow on the table, sitting with his fellow detainees, he rested his head on his right hand. Tattooed on his right hand was the word “Family.” Eventually I noticed something else tattooed on his left hand: "First..."

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Born Again to Ride

"He’s blue! He’s blue!” George Briscoe cried, as they wheeled his son, Travis, into the operating room. “In the name of Jesus! In the name of Jesus! In the name of Jesus!” screamed Travis’ mother, Debbie, who was signing documents at the nurse’s desk. Perhaps that’s all you can say when your 16-year-old son is on his deathbed—when a typical Thanksgiving weekend in 2003 is transformed into a traumatizing nightmare—when your son is mistakenly rushed to the operating room without his oxygen tank, his life source. The doctors and nurses quickly retrieved the oxygen tank, which, at the very least, prolonged what little life he had left. “I need to talk to you,” said the anesthesiologist before the surgery...

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Learning to Swim - Jim Caldwell

There was a time when Indianapolis Colts head coach Jim Caldwell used to sink in adversity. Literally. Caldwell was five years old when he, his six-year-old sister and his four-year-old brother convinced their mother to take them to the “Big Pool,” a neighborhood pool in Rockford, Ill., with a deep end, shallow end, high dive, low dive and even a slide (probably a little better than their inflatable pool in the back yard). “We told her we’d stay in the shallow end, so we did,” Caldwell remembers. “But I was a pretty adventurous kid..."

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The Way

The last two years have been a whirlwind for Brad and Tracy Stevens. The 2009-2010 season was crazy enough, when Brad and his Cinderella Butler University Bulldogs nearly knocked off almighty Duke in the NCAA men’s basketball national championship game. Then came the 2010-2011 season when No. 8 seeded Butler made another unexpected run to the title game—the only Indiana team ever to advance to back-to- back Final Fours...

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It's A Mind Thing

“If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” Colossians 3:1-2

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The All Pro Dad Experience

This past weekend, I had the opportunity to attend the All Pro Dad Father & Kids Experience at the Indianapolis Colts practice facility with our videographer/photographer Aaron May and our networking guru Greg Arnold. We sat down with the head coach of the Colts, Jim Caldwell, and their offensive coordinator, Clyde Christensen, to discuss their work with All Pro Dad and ask them questions about their faith.

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Right Doesn’t Always Feel Good

“Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ.” Colossians 2:16-17

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Do-or-Die - Colossians 2:4-5

During this year’s men’s NCAA basketball tournament, I heard an interesting argument re- garding Butler’s postseason success. Bob Kravitz, Indianapolis Star columnist, said one of the keys to their success is their conference, the Horizon League, a conference that most likely won’t get any at-large bids and therefore must be won to advance to the Big Dance. Every game was a “must win” game and significantly affected Butler’s hopes of making the tournament. That’s why, when Butler did make the tournament, the players’ attitudes didn’t change. They’d been playing “do-or-die” all year...

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NCAA Closeup -- Gordon Hayward

Sitting in a parent seminar on the eve of the NBA draft, Gordon Scott Hayward...

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