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Sports Spectrum

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The putt only covered 15 feet, but it seemed more like 100 to the gallery gathered at the eighteenth hole at Pinehurst No. 2 on that early Sunday evening in June 1999. It traveled uphill, broke ever so slightly to the right...and slipped gently into the cup. Payne Stewart, wearing his trademark knickers and argyle socks, hoisted the ball up to the heavens. The crowd roared. And for the second time in his career, Stewart was crowned champion of the U.S. Open--the most prestigious event for American golfers. The victory would be his last on the PGA Tour. Four months later, on October 25, 1999, Payne Stewart entered the gates of heaven after his private jet plowed into a dirt field in Minot, South Dakota, taking the lives of Stewart and three business associates. His death at only 42 years old shook the golf world and the entire nation...

“…being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6 When everything is on the line, when everyone is watching, when you or your team are counting on you for the next shot or the next play—this is the situation that true competitors always dream of and want to participate in. As a golfer, I dream of sinking a slick, downhill, 20-foot putt on the 18th hole at Augusta National to win the Masters Tournament by a shot. No matter the sport, we all want to finish strong. We want to always be able to look back in time and say that we did our best and put it all on the line in certain situations.

Almost 1,000 foreigners have played in the Japanese professional baseball leagues since 1951. Venezuelan-born Alex Ramirez is the only one to have achieved 2,000 career hits in Japan, and he is not shy about giving credit to God for his success. Ramirez joined the Tokyo Yakult Swallows of Japan’s Central League in 2001. He went on to become arguably the best foreign player in Japanese baseball history, playing 13 seasons for three teams...

The scene is repeated, over and over. A new spectator has decided to come watch the motorcycles race, on a dirt-surfaced oval track. Eighteen of the high-powered bikes roar off of the line, sending plumes of dust and dirt in their wake. Inches apart, sometimes even closer, the riders slide through the turns. Accelerating down the straights, they repeat their battle in the next turn...

Our April 2014 DigiMag is now available for viewing. Log in here to view. To receive 12 issues of Sports Spectrum magazine a year, subscribe HERE. This issue includes exclusive feature stories on Anthony Tolliver, Cody Zeller and Luke Ridnour of the Charlotte Bobcats. It also includes an in-depth feature on one of the best players in Japan's professional baseball league, Alex Ramirez. Managing editor Brett Honeycutt writes about what Steve Masiello’s situation at Manhattan College can  teach us about humility, mercy and second chances. Enjoy.

This issue is Sports Spectrum's largest undertaking and likely our most important edition since the magazine began in 1985. Not because of the amount of stories we are giving you, our readers, about athletes playing the world's most watched, and arguably the most popular sport, but because of the potential impact this issue can have on others around the world. That potential impact is made possible because the 2014 World Cup issue is being produced in 14 languages and will be used by ministries all over the world during the World Cup -- through the internet, via mobile devices and also on the ground as the World Cup is being played...

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