Another Angle — One more step

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.”

“Yes?” I said… Continue reading

Faith Looks Forward

Mason Plumlee looks out over the floor at Duke University’s practice facility.

It must be weird to be back—returning to campus, his home for the last four years; visiting Cameron Indoor, Duke’s 2010 national championship banner hanging in the rafters of its gymnasium that feels more like a cathedral, with its wooden steeple doors and castle-stone exterior; and sitting here in Duke’s practice facility where his new team, the Brooklyn Nets, are having training camp… Continue reading

Faith Looks Forward

Mason Plumlee looks out over the floor at Duke University’s practice facility.

It must be weird to be back—returning to campus, his home for the last four years; visiting Cameron Indoor, Duke’s 2010 national championship banner hanging in the rafters of this gymnasium that feels more like a cathedral, with its wooden steeple doors and castle-stone exterior; and sitting here in Duke’s practice facility where his new team, the Brooklyn Nets, are having training camp… Continue reading

Another Angle — Weekend in Virginia

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

Another Angle — Hollow me, breathe through

My grandpa died a few weeks ago.

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

Another Angle — Resurrect your reverence

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

Another Angle — Scars and submission

“I have a strange question,” I said.

“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

Another Angle — Alcoholics and mannequins

I went to an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting the other day. And yes, I understand that is kind of an interesting way to start a column.

Basically, I have a friend who is getting her Master’s degree in Counseling, and she needed to observe a meeting for class, so I said I’d go with her… Continue reading

Another Angle — Guerrero’s unchanging message

Once again, boxer Robert Guerrero has made me think about some things.

I’ll begin this column by saying this: I thought he was going to win last night. I thought he was going to be the first to beat Floyd Mayweather Jr. I thought he was going to make history… Continue reading

Uncommon Challenge