Saltwater in the nose

I parked my car and hurried into the gas station to buy a bag of ice. It was 5 a.m., and I was running slightly behind.

I had started coaching a golf team at a Christian high school in Charlotte that spring, and it was the morning of our conference tournament, our biggest tournament of the year. Though I was hesitant to accept the position, I looked back on the season and believed it might have been the best thing I had done with my life in a long, long time… Continue reading

Switchfoot’s ‘Joy of the Journey’

You look the most hipster out of all of us with that bike,” Switchfoot lead singer Jon Foreman laughs.

I look back over my shoulder at Foreman behind me.

“I don’t know about that,” I laugh, as I coast down a hill on a yellow, rusted fixie they’ve lent me from their tour bus. The paint is peeling, and the bike appears to be more silver than yellow. The bike is wobbly and the front brakes are practically non-existent… Continue reading

Multiply

If there is one word that describes the 2013-14 Charlotte Bobcats season, it’s this: multiply. Two seasons ago, they won seven games (during a lockout-shortened 66-game schedule). Last season, they won 21 games (of 82). This season, they finished with 43 victories (in 82 games), six times their amount of wins in 2012 and double the wins from a season ago. They’ve gone from the punch line of jokes on sports talk shows across the country to becoming a serious threat around the league, as they went on a 20-9 tear after All-Star Break and defeated some of the NBA’s best teams, in part because of a stifling defense that allowed the fourth fewest points in the league. One year before Charlotte reclaims its “Hornets” name, the Bobcats have already created a buzz in the Queen City, advancing to the NBA Playoffs for the first time since 2010. No matter Read More

Another Angle — Fifteen hundred enjoyable feet

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

Another Angle — A city’s whisper

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

The Mind of McCutchen

Since being awarded the National League MVP in November, Pittsburgh Pirates star Andrew McCutchen gets the questions all the time.

What’s the key to success?

How did you get the MVP?

What makes you so calm and confident? Continue reading

Another Angle — Deeper peace, more and more

Keep going,” my editor said.

“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

Life ‘Til Gain

Taylor Morton was a 14-year-old boy, innocent and impressionable, athletic and adventurous, a typical eighth grader whose biggest concern was sports…then maybe school…then maybe girls, whatever “girls” were.

It was an Alabama April. Soon, school would be over. Soon, it would be summer.

These were the summers of their youth that Taylor and his two younger brothers, Trent (12) and TJ (8) loved to conquer… Continue reading

Peace In The Walls

The office in Steve Smith’s Charlotte, N.C., home could pass as a closet in the Sistine Chapel, the arched ceiling painted in a greenish hue, clouds bleeding onto the woodwork, angels appearing to descend from their universe, a biblical story in each corner.

The front left corner is a painting of Eve leaning against Adam in the Garden of Eden, representing Smith’s renewed relationship with his wife, Angie. The back left corner is of the Good Samaritan, representing Smith’s heartbeat for Samaritan’s Feet, a ministry that provides shoes for millions around the world… Continue reading

Another Angle — Dear Coach Bliss

Coach Dave Bliss,

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.

You’re a coach. And you have 500 NCAA victories to prove it… Continue reading

Uncommon Challenge