Airing it Out — 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 who was homeless (that any person or school would have to ask permission to help indicates how misplaced our priorities are in today’s society). First, the NCAA’s quick response of letting Boise State know the school could help this young man gave me hope that all decency and common sense hasn’t been lost in this world – especially the world of “big-time” college football. And second, that the willingness of the school and the commonsense approval by the NCAA showed that the most basic of Jesus’ teachings can be learned or Read More

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. Says Foreman in our feature story, “To be able to stare back at the shore and remember how small you are and to gain that kind of perspective and see all of your problems down there on the shore, and realize, wow, this is a much bigger world than all the text messages I’ve been dealing with, the problems I’ve been having in the studio or on the road.” What always amazes me is that God often speaks to me through the people I interview. Maybe He knows I isolate myself far too much working on projects, that I beat myself up when they don’t get finished, and that it’s hard to Read More

Life In The Fast Lane

Peace eluded reigning Olympic and world 100-meter track champion even after she became a Christian, but now she has a “living faith” that keeps her grounded despite her wealth and recent success on the track. Pryce, Jamaica’s two-time Olympic gold medalist (100 meters, 2012 and 2008), five-time World outdoor track champion (2009, 2013 in various events) and 2014 World indoor track champion (60 meters), is running on the track and field circuit all over the world this summer. Despite her hectic schedule and long stretches away from her home in Kingston, Jamaica, she makes it a priority to spend time with God every chance she gets. “One thing I carry with me is my Daily Bread everywhere I go,” says Fraser-Pryce. “On my phone is my Bible. I have plans on my phone, and it gives me a reminder every day to read my Bible. When I’m in Italy, I Read More

Beyond The Field

Chargers’ wide receiver Vincent Brown is anything but your typical NFL player. Off the field, the down-to-earth Upland, California, native is at home in jeans and Converse playing the drums with the energy of a teenager! On the field, the fourth year player is one of quarterback Philip Rivers’ top targets. During the 2013 season, Brown played a pivotal role in helping San Diego reach the playoffs, pulling down 41 receptions for 472 yards. The Bolts didn’t advance past the third game of the playoffs, but for Brown, the entire experience was thrilling. The season served as a huge comeback year after limited playing time his rookie year in 2011 because of a hamstring injury—and then suffering a broken ankle during the 2012 preseason. “God really got my attention [with the ankle],” shares the 25-year-old. “Taking away football shifted my thinking to put me on the right track—that football is Read More

Heart For Haiti

During the NFL off-season, most players spend time vacationing with their families, participating in charity golf tournaments, and renegotiating contracts. New York Jets wide receiver David Nelson does something a little different during his time away from the gridiron. In fact, a lot different! After a life changing missions trip to Haiti in the spring of 2012, Nelson and his two brothers founded the orphan ministry I’m Me. The organization is raising up a generation of fatherless children to find their true identity in Christ, in the midst of a third world country suffering from destruction and hopelessness. He spends up to two months of the offseason in Haiti, and most of his free time stateside is spent running the organization, networking, speaking, and planning group trips. “When we give them a hug, for some of them, it’s the only hug from a father figure they’ve gotten,” says Nelson. “I get emotional thinking about it. There are some talented, incredible children, but there’s no Read More

Closeup Tribute — Louis Zamperini

On July 2, the world lost a true hero and true example of Christ: Louis Silvie “Louie” Zamperini. He was 97. Zamperini was born Jan. 26, 1917, in Olean, New York, to Italian immigrants who spoke no English when they came to the United States. In 1934, as 17-year-old, he set a world interscholastic mile record (4 minutes, 21.2 seconds), and two years later, as a 19-year-old at Southern Cal, he earned a spot on the U.S. Olympic track and field team by tying American record holder, Don Lash, in the 5,000 meters at the U.S. trials, and becoming the youngest to ever make the team in that event. Zamperini ran in the 1936 Berlin Olympics, finishing eighth, and two years later set the collegiate mile record in 4:08. Less than 7 years later, he was fighting in World War II, where he became a POW in one of the Read More

Closeup — Chelsea Baker

Like fishing stories that morph each year when aging anglers add several inches and pounds to their “big catch,” Chelsea Baker’s story seems to get better with age, as well. The only difference is that her story is true. Baker, who was featured in Sports Spectrum three years ago for dominating the baseball diamond with her knuckleball, is now a rising senior at Durant High in Plant City, Fla. where she is playing on the high school baseball team – yes, a baseball team with all boys. She had a solid season throwing her knuckleball, recording 3 wins, 0 losses, 3 saves, 1 complete game, while giving up only 3 hits and 3 walks in 19 innings. Her ERA? A stunning 0.74. However, what happened June 23 at Tropicana Field in Tampa is something she’ll likely remember longer than those statistics. She threw batting practice to Major League Baseball’s Tampa Read More

In The News — Paul Westphal

Paul Westphal has seemingly come full circle. The well-traveled player and coach has been an NBA All-Star (five times) and coached the NBA All- Stars (twice), he has played and coached in the NBA finals, and he has been an NBA assistant coach and head coach. Now, he’s coaching again – this time with the Brooklyn Nets and as an assistant coach under Lionel Hollins, who played against Westphal in the NBA, coached with Westphal when both were assistants with the Phoenix Suns, and served as an assistant coach under Westphal when Westphal was the head coach in Phoenix in the early 1990s. The news of the 63-year-old Westphal’s return to the NBA (he was last in the NBA as the head coach with the Sacramento Kings in 2012) was announced on July 10 on his Facebook page, which is maintained by his wife of more than 40 years, Cindy. Read More

Closeup Tribute — Aeneas Williams

15-year NFL career with the Phoenix/Arizona Cardinals and the St. Louis Rams was fruitful for Aeneas Williams. Williams, who played cornerback and free safety, was selected to eight Pro Bowls, six All-Pro teams, the NFL 1990’s All-Decade Team, the St. Louis Rams 10th Anniversary Team, the Arizona Cardinals’ Ring of Honor, as well as being named the Bart Starr Man of the Year (1999) for exemplifying outstanding character and leadership in the home, on the field and in the community. On Aug. 2, he will add one more award to his list: Pro Football Hall of Fame. But his life hasn’t been all about football, especially since he retired in 2004. An ordained minister, Williams, along with his wife, Tracy, started Spirit of the Lord Church in St. Louis in 2007 after sensing God’s leading to start a ministry. That aligned with what he told Sports Spectrum for a story Read More

Closeup — Derrick Brooks

Longtime Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Derrick Brooks was never concerned with the awards he earned during his star-studded 14-year career. His main focus was spiritual. However, the awards kept coming and continued six years after he retired in 2008 with news that he would be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Aug. 2, in Canton, Ohio. With his induction, he will join fellow Hall of Famers Mike Singletary, Lawrence Taylor and the late Reggie White as the only four NFL players who have ever earned NFL Defensive Player of the Year, won a Super Bowl and been named to at least 10 consecutive Pro Bowls. In 2009, when he heard that statistic, he told Sports Spectrum that he was humbled, but that his sights were set much higher. “The fraternity I want to be a part of…is in heaven,” Brooks told Sports Spectrum for a story that Read More

Uncommon Challenge