Extreme Sports Closeup — Nik Wallenda

Nik Wallenda, who walked across Niagara Falls in 2012, recently became the first person to walk across the Little Colorado River Gorge on the Navajo Nation near the Grand Canyon on a tight rope. Wallenda, who began tight-rope walking when he was 2 years old and trains five to six hours each day, traversed a 2-inch cable that was 1,400 feet across and 1,500 feet above the twisting Little Colorado River on June 23. The historic walk, which took 22 minutes, 54 seconds, and was done without a tether or safety net, was shown live on Discovery Channel and viewed in 217 countries. “I believe God has given me a gift and a talent that can be used to bring glory to His name,” Wallenda told the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association last year. “I don’t go up there unprepared or untrained and say it’s up to God whether I make Read More

James “Deacon” White Tribute

On July 28, 19th-century standout James Laurie “Deacon” White (1847-1939) will be enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame. Some 75 years after his passing, the man tough enough to catch hundreds of games barehanded, skilled enough to bat .312 in more than 1,500 major league contests and famous enough to be part of a celebrated “Big Four” on three teams, at last is honored in Cooperstown for his diamond exploits. Some, however, will look even deeper into the character of the man. How did he get the nickname “Deacon”?  Beginning with the post-Civil War baseball boom, and playing into the 1890s, he exemplified Christian faith as a way of life and conduct. One of baseball’s first superstars, his career is well summarized by Joe Williams in Nineteenth Century Notes (Spring, 2010) published by SABR—the Society for American Baseball Research. His selection in that year as “19th Century Overlooked Legend” Read More

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)… Continue reading

Another Angle — 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… Continue reading

From the Archives — Masterful Performance

With a 5-under 66 in the first round of The Open Championship at Muirfield, Zach Johnson has put himself in early contention to win his second major championship. Read our “From the Archives” story on Johnson after he won his first major in 2007…

For many golf fans, the final round of the Masters Tournament in Augusta, Georgia, is the high holy day of professional sports. It’s a chance to worship all things green and beautiful in the aptly named Cathedral of Golf.

But for 2007 champion Zach Johnson, his stunning victory on April 8, was a chance to win the most prestigious of golf tournaments, the Masters, while worshiping the true Master…

Click here to read the rest of our story on Zach Johnson from our July/August 2007 issue. Continue reading

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…” Continue reading

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)… Continue reading

Devotional of the Week — Time to Choose

Early in sports seasons, it’s not uncommon for teams to struggle to find their true identity. The basketball team can’t figure out whether to play up-tempo or more half-court. A football team with outstanding running backs gets infatuated with its quarterback and relies too much on the passing game, before finally realizing it needs more of a balanced attack… Continue reading

Uncommon Challenge