Where Sports and Faith Connect.
Devotion of the Week

Devotion of the Week

In 2004 Bill Self left Illinois as head basketball coach and went to Kansas. He later won a national title in 2008. Illinois then hired Bruce Weber, former coach at Southern Illinois University, to replace Self. Since Self stressed offense and Weber stressed defense, the first year was difficult for the returning players, adjusting to a new coach and new coaching style…

At DistinXion camps, we start our first character lesson by telling a story of a contractor that builds a house that will eventually become his retirement gift. Any contractor will tell you that in order to have the best-built house, only the best materials should be used. Similarly in sports, most coaches will advise that if you want the best team, you should recruit the best players. However, in Psalm 118, we are told that a rejected stone is turned into the capstone...

Different isn’t always easy. Remember the Jamaican bobsled team in the 1988 Calgary Olympics? Seems like an oxymoron, right? Jamaican bobsled? To cement their involvement in the Olympics, a movie, Cool Runnings, was made about their exploits. The foursome of Devon Harris, Dudley Stokes, Michael White and Nelson Stokes...

PGA golfer Tiger Woods once said, "Everyone knows what the Masters is, even if you're a non-golfer. People know what Wimbledon is. They know what the Super Bowl is. There are certain events that people just know about." That's true. Some events are just known, especially the Super Bowl. As Christians we know about certain events that have taken or will be taking place, with one of them being the rapture of believers. However, I think we take it for granted that everyone knows...

Tony Dungy, in The Jersey Effect, talks about the struggle for athletes once they finish their career. It’s a struggle because, once sports are taken away, they wonder what their purpose in life is. When sports are taken away, they lose meaning in life. If you’re an athlete, is this true for you? If you’re not an athlete, what is the one thing in this world that you feel gives you meaning and purpose? How would you feel if it was taken away?

Winter Olympics great Eric Heiden was very practical in his view of gold medals. In essence, they’re nice to look at, but not very useful. “I’d rather get a nice warmup suit. That’s something I can use. Gold medals just sit there. When I get old, maybe I could sell them if I need the money,” said Heiden, winner of five gold medals at the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, N.Y. He understood the triviality of the medals, which are much like the trivial nature of wealth or stockpiling things because we just have to have them. When it came down to it, Heiden needed equipment to train more than he needed the medals. And when it comes down to worldly things compared to spiritual things, we should see the disparity between the two and store up treasures in heaven. As Matthew 6 says, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also...”

Baseball is a simple game. Throw strikes. See the ball and hit it. There are three outs, per team, per inning and nine innings in a game. Teams that play well together are usually successful. Team unity is enhanced in the clubhouse by energetic leaders like Orlando “Cha-Cha” Cepeda, who led the St. Louis Cardinals to the World Series in 1967 and 1968. It can also be augmented by quiet leaders like Carlos Beltran, who leads by consistent performance and is there to be an example and mentor to younger players...

Who won the Super Bowl last year? How about two years ago? Three? Four? Five? Six? Seven? If you could name each Super Bowl champion from the last seven years, I would be impressed. But my guess is that recalling the Super Bowl winner from two or three years ago was a struggle. Most people, outside of Indianapolis Colts fans, have forgotten that my teammates and I won a Super Bowl in 2006. That was six years ago...

Tony Romo has undergone a spiritual transformation the last few years (which we talk about on pages 40-43 of this issue). During that time, he has been mentored by godly men, gotten married, become a father and has seen what's most important in life. "One thing as I grow into a husband is being a spiritual leader of my family, my wife and the people I surround myself with," Romo told Sports Spectrum. "I heard John Wooden, the UCLA basketball coach for all those years, once said success is peace…"

Fresno State quarterback and Heisman Trophy hopeful Derek Carr said his faith in Christ was the No. 1 thing in his life. “You can ask anyone who knows me, that’s the first thing they should tell you, and if they don’t, then I’m not doing the right thing,” he said. “Derek Carr is not the Fresno State quarterback. First of all, he’s a Christian and then he’s the Fresno State quarterback; that is what’s the most important thing to me, to be noticed as a Christian first and a quarterback second...”

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