Winners and losers

Winners embrace hard work.
They love the discipline of it, the trade-off they’re making to win.
Losers, on the other hand, see it as punishment.
And that’s the difference.

Lou Holtz


(Hammer throw: DeAnna Price (263-6), Brooke Andersen (255-0),
Gwendolyn Berry (241-2) )

Quick…
Who won the gold medal in this week’s US Track and Field trials
for the women’s hammer throw???

Yeah…
I thought so…you didn’t know.
And I confess, I didn’t either.

But chances are both you and I knew who came in 3rd.

And that is the real shame here.

We knew who came in 3rd because she created a stink.
A national televised stink.
All because she had to put her rear on her shoulder when hearing the
National Anthem being played.

Why is that you ask?
Well, it seems she’s an ‘activist athlete.’

Yeah, I didn’t know it was a thing either.

She’s not a fan of our patriotism.
She’s not a fan of our flag nor of our Nation’s anthem nor of our
Nation in general.

And yet she wants to represent said Nation…
the same Nation she’s not so much a fan
of in the 2021 Olympics in Tokyo.
Go figure.

Once upon a time I ran high school track, I was a captain of our team
and later, once I was teaching, I was a high school girl’s track coach.

I understand sports and I understand training and I understand
being on and being part of a team.

Team is bigger than self.
What one represents is greater than self and sometimes,
it’s even greater than team.

Self is all about just that, self.
It’s a ‘look at me’ mentality.
It’s a ‘I’m going to use this platform to express my personal agenda.”
Personal agendas on a team tend to make things really crowded.

But you know what…folks don’t care so much about an athlete’s personal agenda
as much as they care about that athlete’s individual ability and skills.

Recently, I was watching a show about college sports.

A sportscaster was waxing poetic over the allure that college sports
seems to hold over those who follow it.
That of both students and fans.

The sportscaster was focusing on college football since that was what
the program was about, college football.

He spoke in terms of a religious sort of draw that college sports holds
over folks.

Be that good or bad, I got it.
I understood what he was talking about.

He explained that we all need and want something greater than ourselves
in order to bring us together…we yearn for something to unify us.
That’s an underlying human desire.

In an increasingly secular society, this sportscaster noted that
college sports often fills that bill.

As society moves further away from its religious roots, it seeks
something else to fill that void…something tangible to cling to.

And so again, for good or bad, our sport teams draw us in.

They unite us in ways that other things can’t.
We find ourselves having a common focus with a common goal.

It matters not our color, gender or creed, nor of our bank account
degree, GPA or political affiliation…
our team is our unifying focus.

We get behind said team in solidarity as we cheer it on.
We pine when it loses and we may even cuss it, but when it wins,
we win.

We don our school colors, we carry our flags, we sing our school’s song.
We lock arms with complete strangers as we chant our team to victory.
And we cry upon one another’s shoulders when we lose.

We feel the same way about our Olympians.
They are the best of our best.
They are the pride of our Nation
And in turn they unify our Nation.
They help us to forget the bad in the country and in the world.
They give us all something greater than our worries and misery
they give us a new focus and something we can cheer for.

It’s as if we can forget the reality around us for two weeks every four years.
(two years if when we count both Summer and Winter Olympics)
We band together while we huddle around a television at home, school, at work,
or in a bar.

It is that famous thrill of victory and that painful agony of defeat
all of which we viscerally and collectively feel…together.

So when an athlete opts to veer away from the focus of the game,
we have a hard time getting on board.
Our focus is of the timing, the height, the length, the speed, the execution,
the millisecond of time that separates gold from silver, or bronze from
loss.

We try desperately to will our athletes on to victory.
In part because they represent each one of us.
Theirs are our own vicarious goals and hopes.

So I have very little patience with an athlete who opts to use an athletic
platform as a political platform—in the the most recent case, it
was a literal matter of a podium.

There is a time and a place.
Standing on a podium is not the place for one’s personal agenda..
it is not the time for a raised fist or a turned back.

It is a time of respect.
Respect for something much greater than self.

It is a time for a nation to celebrate and not a time for one to snub
that very nation nor the very people who have cheered said athlete on to
that platform.

Winners or losers—I suppose we all choose.

For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world.
And this is the victory that has overcome the world—-our faith.
Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that
Jesus is the Son of God?

1 John 5:4-5

Herschel for President!!!

“Not to question you, Mark, but do you know what the organization stands for?
Besides saying, Black Lives Matter.
Because I say one of the things that we have to address is Americans’ lives matter.”

Herschel Walker


(Herschel Walker circa 1981/82 / UGA / Julie (Nichols) Cook)

HERSCHEL WALKER FOR PRESIDENT!!!
It was a chant often heard ringing throughout Sanford Stadium in Athens, Georgia on any
given fall Saturday during the early 1980s.
It was a time when both football and Herschel were each king in my small world.

I actually took that rather grainy little picture of Herschel…
it was either the spring of 1981 or 1982, I can’t exactly remember.

My sorority was hosting a 24-hour rock-a-thon in order to raise money for
the international medical organization Project Hope.
We were rocking all night, having raised various pledges for our time and effort spent rocking.
Campus celebrity Herschel Walker came by to sit and rock awhile in hopes of boosting our pledges.
Hence the picture.

If you’re any sort of college football fan, then you know the name
Herschel Walker.

His time playing football for the University of Georgia is the stuff
of legends.
He won the Heisman Trophy his junior year and he helped the college
win a National Championship in 1980.

Athletically, Herschel was a track star, a football player, an NFL player,
a United States Football league player, an Olympic bobsledder as well as a boxer…
and it should be known, he’s still not finished.

So I won’t go into his lengthy and legendary biography here, but just know that
I have the utmost respect for Herschel.

And I have that respect not because he’s from my home state.
Nor because we went to college together.
Nor because he was and is an incredible athlete.
But because Herschel, like many of us, had demons.
Herschel fought those demons through his faith in Jesus Christ–
he has been very public about his battle and his victory through Christ.

I caught a news story yesterday that Herschel and Mark Cuban had got into a bit
of a tit for tat the other evening during a FOX news special hosted by Harris Faulkner.

Cuban is the owner of the Dallas Mavericks basketball team and has been very
vocal in that he will paint Black Lives Matters on his basketball court
and will allow and support his players in expressing themselves however they may
so choose during the coming season.

Herschel, however, questions the logic behind such as he wonders if Cuban,
as well as many others, truly understand what Black Lives Matters actually represents.

Herschel noted that “One of the problems I think that we have
is a lot of these sensitive topics we don’t want to address,
you know, we don’t want to address these sensitive topics
so what we try to do is water them down and try to shout people down,”
Walker told host Harris Faulkner on the special
“The Fight for America” on Sunday night.

“To say that you’re going to put BLM [Black Lives Matter] on the field or on a jersey,
well some people may not believe in BLM,” the Heisman Trophy winner continued.

“For myself … there’s no doubt BLM is important,
but American lives are important. …
The organization of BLM, I’m not sure what they stand for.
And so how could an NFL say we want to support BLM or we’re going to do this here
without having the players to say what they want?
Because you cannot put that on a player who may disagree with it.”

Cuban disagreed with Walker but I for one agree with Herschel.
Do those such a Cuban, who are jumping on the bandwagon, truly know and
understand what BLM means or what it stands for?
Do they realize it is a violent organization rooted in Marxism?
Or do they really care?
Is placating the mob more important than exercising real knowledge?

I for one do not want sports to be so politized.
The National anthem and flag brouhaha was just the starting point…
now we have more anthem issues with the addition of a “black” anthem
and we have teams, players and owners who want to politize their
sport…

Sports in the US has always been a unifier and not a
divisive tool.
So now we might as well just say so much for simply loving the game
for the mere sake of the game.

The notion of games, fun, hard work, competition, bragging rights, etc have
been traded in for something much more sinister.

I’m just glad that we still have a few steadfast voices such as those of
Herschel, along with those other voices of average men and women,
each who question the bandwagons and the pushing of agendas down the throats
of both players and fans despite the fact that not all stand in agreement
with the current direction, we seem to be headed.

So yeah, thought-filled and thoughtful rather than angry, emotional, and reactionary.

Yep, Herschel for President…

https://www.foxnews.com/media/herschel-walker-mark-cuban-black-lives-matter-nfl-nba

Prayers for the Ukrainians

Violence is like a weed – it does not die even in the greatest drought.”
Simon Wiesenthal

For evil to flourish, it only requires good men to do nothing.”
Simon Wiesenthal

DSCN3833

This is a very old, very tiny Russian Icon.
It is just a tad bit larger than a postage stamp.
I found it in an equally small antique shop tucked away in a small alley in the ancient hill town of Cortona, Italy, one summer, several years ago.
The small image of Christ the Pantocrator is hand painted and very detailed to be so small but difficult to capture with a camera as much of the detail is lost.
The sterling silver covering, the Riza, or риза meaning “robe”, is not intended merely to protect the underlaying painting, as is often the common assumption, but rather is an added bit of reverence or veneration.

After being the guest at large for the past three weeks, the world has most recently departed Sochi, Russia happy, pleased, as well as relieved. We were welcomed into what is a massively vast country, which for so many of us, for so very long, has been steeped and shrouded in dark mystery. Those of us who have lived through the inception, duration and eventual fall of the tangible walls of a bitter cold war, delightfully enjoyed this most recent and uplifting visit. A large exhaled collective breath could be heard reverberating across the world as the extinguishing of the Olympic flame signaled not only the closing of this year’s games but it also signaled the closing of the possibility, of what so many believed to be inevitable which thankfully had not taken place after all— that being an act of terrorism.

With the unifying events of the Olympics being played out in living rooms around the globe, a more sinister fog hung heavily in the air, seeping its way eastward from the neighboring unrest playing out in the Ukraine. Ukraine, which in fact translates to “borderland,” shares not only its eastern border with its massive overshadowing neighbor Russia, but the inextricably intwined bond of a people bound by language, religion and blood. For years the relationship between the two countries has been tenuous and strained as Ukraine has woven in and out of life under Czarist Russian rule, Soviet rule, eventually turning sovereign neighbor. Yet now, as the world waits and watches, the disturbingly new question begs to be asked if Ukraine does not currently play the part of occupied nation by that of a much larger hostile nation?

As the very fluid events unfold faster than I can type, we, the world hold our collective breath fretting what may be next, not only for the Ukrainians, but for us all as well. We see the faces on the news of people just like you and me—men, woman and children caught in the middle of a power play of political ideologies. The rhetoric escalates as European and American leadership dicker over roles of responsibility. All as the situation seems all too familiar, with actions from the past demigods unfolding as if in a stop frame slow motion camera. The once massive growling grizzly portrayed under the banner of a red hammer and sickle snidely nicknamed “Uncle Joe” sweetly gave way to the childlike cuddly teddybear of the Olympics.

What we must cautiously remind ourselves of today is that all wild animals, even those tamed circus bears and sweet Olympic teddybears, still remain wild at heart, naturally demonstrating tendencies of reverting back to the unpredictable ways of their wild nature. We wonder which bear Vladimir Putin claims for Russia.

May we all pray for a peaceful resolve to the very dangerous and fluid situation in the Ukraine.