Where Sports and Faith Connect.

Monthly Archives: December 2013

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...

This issue features stories on Washington Redskins running back Alfred Morris, Detroit Lions defensive lineman Israel Idonije, Carolina Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith, and University of Alabama safety Taylor Morton. Our columns also touch on a variety of issues. Managing editor Brett Honeycutt writes about former LPGA Tour golfer Betsy King and following Christ in his column "Airing It Out," and staff writer Stephen Copeland writes about the peace displayed by a man on a farm and Steve Smith in his column "Another Angle." Log in here to view the magazine before it arrives in your mailbox. Not a subscriber? Subscribe to Sports Spectrum here.

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...

Ever since Henry Ford’s first Model T hit the streets in 1908, automobiles have fascinated the American public. We’ve been transfixed by Beetles, GTOs, Corvettes, Ferraris and Hummers. We still talk about the cars (sometimes more than the actors) from our favorite movies and TV shows: Marty McFly’s DeLorean, Bo and Luke Duke’s “General Lee” (a Dodge Charger) and Steve McQueen’s 1968 Ford Mustang GT fastback from Bullitt, to name a few. Time to add a silver 1991 Mazda 626 to the list...

On Oct. 4, 1890, Philadelphia outfielder William Ashley “Billy” Sunday (1862-1935) played his final Major League Baseball game. Traded from the woeful Pittsburgh Alleghenys, who finished 23-113, to the National League Phillies for a late-season pennant run, he batted .261—but stole 28 bases in 31 games (with 84 overall)...

As an athlete, I always placed great emphasis on sports in my life. Sports began to consume me. I played softball in high school and college, and my softball performance started to determine who I was as a person. It was the center of my universe, a universe that ultimately came crashing down...

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...

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...

Perhaps anytime a writer spends a considerable amount of time with Tim Tebow, the storyline is going to be clear. Tebow's faith is going to be prevalent. Thomas Lake's feature in Sports Illustrated is no different. "I’ve never found my identity in who I was as a football player," Tebow told Sports Illustrated. "I found my identity in who I am in Christ. And when you find your identity as a Christian, then regardless of your status, or your fame, or your popularity, or your position, that never changes…"

Ask Chris Paul about his first year as an NBA player and he just smiles, shakes his head slowly, and says softly, "Unbelievable." Who could disagree? Although Paul was a consensus first-team All-American as a sophomore at Wake Forest, leading he Demon Deacons to their first No. 1 ranking in school history, hardly anyone projected him to have the type of instant impact he enjoyed in his first season as a professional. Just like his basketball skill, it is a personality and a lifestyle that can be traced back to his North Carolina home--and a background where everything began with and depended upon family and faith...

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