It doesn’t matter that I know he survived. It doesn’t matter that I know he made it.
As I sit here in my office and re-watch world-renowned aerialist Nik Wallenda’s 22-minute high-wire walk over the Grand Canyon from June, I’m sure it looks more like I’m back in my high school Health & Wellness class watching a video about child birth—nervously peeking through my fingers, feeling somewhat queasy, wanting it all to be over so I can breathe again, and, like Wallenda, saying to myself… Continue reading →
New York City has a way of reminding you of the vast immensity of this world.
I had never been to New York City, not until this week for Super Bowl XLVIII festivities. The closest I’d been before this week was a connecting flight at La Guardia this past fall, but the man giving me an aerial tour in the seat behind me could tell my brain got lost somewhere in the Hudson River below. For an Indiana kid who grew up with a cornfield in his back yard, NYC was a lot to handle… Continue reading →
“Okay,” I replied, as I veered from turning onto the street where the Sports Spectrum offices are located.
We needed to get away. It was deadline week at Sports Spectrum, which means sleepless nights, burning eyes, and a terribly strange aroma in my office that smells like Panera coffee and Little Caesars pizza. During these weeks, my editor and I often find it helpful to get out of the office and drive around… Continue reading →
I’m not sure when I started calling you “Coach.” It just kind of happened. I suppose it’s fitting since that’s what you are—from your assistant coaching days under Bob Knight at West Point and Indiana; to your head coaching days at Oklahoma, SMU, New Mexico and Baylor; and even now as the athletic director at Allen Academy in Bryan, Texas.
Carolina Panthers long-snapper JJ Jansen looked at me from across the table. He had an intense strain in his eyes. I noticed sweat forming on his nose. His leg started to shake, causing our coffees to rattle on the table as if there was a coming storm. I looked at him, confused.
“Stephen,” he said, “I have something to tell you.”
As I write this, I see the Blue Ridge Mountains surrounding the softball diamonds at the Botetourt Sports Complex in Roanoke, Va.
I come here every Labor Day weekend for the Interstate Church of God Softball Tournament. I don’t come to play softball. I come to write. I come to gather stories. I come to Roanoke to believe… Continue reading →
It was sad and unexpected, but I’m thankful I was able to see him in Indiana the week before he died. I live in North Carolina. It was my first time in Indiana in five months. Five months. I couldn’t believe I got to see him.
I think about stuff like this a lot, whether things are just a coincidence or if God has His hand in our lives, whether life is unfolding or if God is in control of all of it… Continue reading →
I know a basketball agent who went to the NBA All-Star game last year in Orlando. He was networking with some guys, hanging around after the game, and took a look around at his surroundings.
He noticed a number of women hanging around after the game—a lot of women—and not just any women, women who wanted something. High heels. Short skirts. Tight shirts. Makeup-coated faces, like apples dipped in caramel… Continue reading →
“Okay,” replied Carolina Panther wide receiver Steve Smith, leaning back into the cushions of his living room sofa.
Smith had just finished telling me about his visit to the Dominican Republic the week before, where he led a shoe distribution trip through Samaritan’s Feet, an organization that helps provide shoes to millions around the world who don’t have them. The unique thing about Samaritan’s Feet, I found, is that it takes a hands-on approach to their ministry, washing the feet… Continue reading →
I recently had coffee with the long snapper for the Carolina Panthers, J.J. Jansen.
He was telling me about chapel and how more players attend during losing seasons because they think chapel, or God, will help them win. We started talking about God and prosperity, agreeing that they don’t relate.
I call it “Ray Lewis Theology.” You know, quoting Isaiah 54:17 (“No weapon formed against you shall prosper”) after winning the AFC Championship… Continue reading →
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and inspire people in their faith through the exciting and challenging world of sports.