From the Archives — Center Stage

Many didn't think the Saint Louis Cardinals would be in the playoff hunt without Albert Pujols, but the Cards are once again contending for the playoffs, and Carlos Beltran is having his best home run season since 2007, the third best in his 15-year career, and has tallied his most RBIs since 2008. This story was published in the July-August 2005 issue of Sports Spectrum. It would make perfect sense if Carlos Beltran were just a little uncomfortable in New York. Actually, it’s strange that he’s not. Suddenly, he’s one of the biggest names in the biggest media market in the country. When he pulled on a Mets uniform before the first day of spring training, he had about 15 reporters watching his every move—a stark contrast to the scene a year ago when he was playing the final year of his contract in Kansas City...

From the Archives: Reggie White

Reggie White was a 13-time Pro Bowler, 2-time Defensive player of the year, a Super Bowl champion, and a Hall-of-Famer. The "Minister of Defense" recorded 198 sacks in his career and is one of the best defensive players to ever play in the NFL. But his outspoken nature to boldly proclaim his faith is what separated him from many others. He passed away in 2004, but his life's impact continues to touch people today. He was featured in many issues of Sports Spectrum from over the years. Here is an excerpt from his feature in our special Super Bowl XXVII issue from 1993, when White played for the Philadelphia Eagles: Life as well as football is often a game of inches and big plays in which players lead by example. White will be the first to tell you that to be a leader in the game of football you also have to be a leader in the game of life. White has earned huge levels of respect in the NFL, but it's nothing new...

From the Archives — God and Goals

Lying in bed for two months with a broken neck, 18-year-old Ricardo Izecson dos Santos Leite made a list of 10 goals. Nevermind the fact that he was uncertain to ever play again after fracturing his sixth vertebra at the bottom of a waterslide. And forget cautious optimism. These were audacious dreams even for a boy raised on the soccer mania of Brazil...

From the Archives — Betty Cuthbert

Betty Cuthbert—the Olympic champion Australians have fondly tagged “Golden Girl”— has always loved to run fast! She was born (along with twin sister) in 1938 at Merrylands, Sydney, no more than 10 kilometers from the site of the 2000 Olympic Games. As a child, she would win all her school races, even beating the boys—and her teacher encouraged her to join an athletics club. From 13 on, she was winning New South Wales state championships, yet without the fuss and hype that would accompany such success today. In fact, a hallmark of Cuthbert’s career has been her loathing of publicity...

God’s Plan

Despite injuries his first two seasons, Tyler Zeller's faith and trust in God remained strong, and on Thursday, the middle Zeller was selected 17th overall in the NBA Draft by the Dallas Mavericks. Sports Spectrum's feature on Tyler was published in the Fall 2011 issue. Most Christians are of the firm belief that God does indeed have a plan for each of them and that they can claim the promise of Jeremiah 29:11 – a plan of hope and a promising future...

From the Archives: Josh Hamilton

Not twice or three times but eight times Josh Hamilton went to drug rehabilitation—and not once did his trips lead to recovery. With no place to go and a court order preventing him from going to his own home where his wife Katie, along with his daughter and stepdaughter lived, he arrived on the doorstep of his grandmother, Mary Holt, at 2 a.m. after a drug binge. He had lost one-fourth of his weight from a 6-foot-4-inch frame that today carries muscled, can't-pinch-an-inch 240 pounds. "I had nowhere else to go," said Josh, "but something clicked in my head. My grandmother had always told me I could come to her for any reason, at any time..."

From the Archives: Friends In Deed

Former managing editor of Sports Spectrum, Dave Branon, wrote "Friends In Deed" for SS's November 1999 issue about David Robinson and Avery Johnson's unique friendship. Imagine having a nice leisurely breakfast at your local International House of Pancakes when the glass doors swing open and in walk two of the most famous basketball players in Texas. It happens once in a while in Stafford, Texas, outside of Houston, when the urge hits David Robinson and Avery Johnson to go out for real food among the real people. "That's one of our favorite spots," says Robinson, who lives outside of San Antonio. "When I go down to Houston to visit Avery, we go to IHOP and get breakfast. We go when Avery treats me..."

From the Archives – Kirk Cousins

The NFL Draft starts on Thursday, April 26 and former Michigan State quarterback, Kirk Cousins, will be hoping to hear his name called by an NFL team some time in the early rounds. In our story about from the Summer 2011 issue of Sports Spectrum, Cousins talked about his future in the NFL. “Ultimately, the whole NFL thing and the future in general, whether you are playing in the pros or just your future, whether you’re an athlete or a college student in general, most of us don’t know what’s going to happen in the next few years." “It’s a little bit scary because I’m the kind of guy who likes to have a plan and likes to have things laid out." “We have to trust in the Lord’s plan and we have to walk with Him and honor Him and trust Him...

From the Archives: Reggie White

SS: What's your biggest dream after football? Reggie: I want to be used by God. To bring people into the Kingdom. And I pray more and more every day that God will give me, Sarah, and my children more of a compassion for people. A compassion for one another, a love for Him, and I believe that once He gives us even more love for Him, we'll be more and more compassionate to people. And yet we'll be more determined not only to share the gospel with them, but also to live the gospel out. And to be able to use our time and resources to help people who are in need. SS: How would you like people to remember you in terms of a football player and a person? Reggie: For people to remember my life, Sarah, and me, as people who loved God. I want people to be able to say to my children, "You know that your mom and dad were a woman and a man after God's heart." I want my grandchildren to be able to say that to their children. That's the legacy I want to leave. I want people to say that Reggie and Sarah were a man and woman of God. That would mean more to me than anything...

From the Archives: Meb Keflezighi

At 36-years-old, Meb Keflezighi won the Olympic marathon trials last weekend. Keflezighi's story below was featured in the Winter 2010 issue of Sports Spectrum. Nearly two years ago Meb Keflezighi couldn’t walk. Even moving around in his bed required help from loved ones. His predicament was the result of a fractured hip he incurred Nov. 3, 2007, at the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials in New York City...

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...

From the Archives: Michael Redd

Michael Redd already had the best preparation an NBA player could get for the upcoming season. Now it seemed appropriate to carry out the proper celebration for the gold medal Team USA won in the FIBA Americas tournament. Redd, an All-Star guard for the Milwaukee Bucks, was certainly in the perfect place--Las Vegas--to indulge in the party as well. Casinos were to his left, nightclubs bouncing into the wee hours were on his right, and everything else was in between. So what was the dead-eye left-hander doing to celebrate the moment? "I'm up in my room playing some dominoes, beating up on my man Rick Davis," Redd said with a chuckle. So much for the juicy nightlife. Then again, Redd has always been more about storing his treasures elsewhere...

From the Archives: Aaron Rodgers

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers may not have the Hall of Fame numbers that predecessor Brett Favre has, but he has succeeded in winning over diehard fans who mourned Brett Favre’s controversial exit prior to the start of the 2008 season. These aren’t typical football fans either. Packers fans actually own their hometown team, boasting more than 112,000 local shareholders, and enthusiastically endure sub-zero temperatures in the stands at Lambeau Field. They also wear their game gear to church on Sundays...

In The News: Albert Pujols

The invitation came in the mail one day, and 24-year-old Shawn Hoskin was all aflutter for weeks. He had been invited to the Pujols Family Foundation’s annual autumn prom, the jackpot of all invitations. Every October the Pujols Family Foundation – the charitable organization established by St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols and his wife Deidre in 2005 – holds the prom for teenagers and young adults with Down syndrome. Albert and Deidre have a daughter, Isabella, with Down syndrome, and they wanted to use their resources to make a difference in the lives of others with the same condition – like Shawn. In the days leading up to the event, Shawn got more and more excited. It was all he talked about to his parents. The day of the prom came, and Shawn got a shoe shine, a haircut and a bow tie. His father Ron chauffeured him to the prom in the family Cadillac, used only on special occasions. Then Shawn abandoned his dad in favor of the dance floor, but Ron didn’t mind a bit...

In the News: R.A. Dickey

New York Mets pitcher R.A. Dickey took a no-hitter through 7 innings Saturday vs. Philadelphia before Phillies outfielder Shane Victorino recorded a line drive base hit to left field. Dickey finished the day with 7 IP, 3 H, 1ER, and 1BB and no decision. The Mets went on to win the game 2-1. This was Dickey's last start on the year for the Mets, and it wraps up another solid year for the knuckleballer. Dickey finishes the year with a losing record (8-13) but a very solid ERA of 3.28, which is first among Mets starters. I had a chance to speak with Dickey in spring training, and the story was featured in the Spring 2011 issue of Sports Spectrum. The knuckleball. It dips and dives, darts and drops, and is the most unpredictable pitch in baseball. It seemingly takes a wild journey before reaching its destination to the plate. No one knows exactly where it will go. The batter doesn’t, the fielder doesn’t, even the catcher, and most importantly the pitcher, aren’t exactly sure where the ball will land...

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