NFL

Thoughts on Life & the Super Bowl (or, #StopEatingTheBananaPeel)

Hello world.

The Super Bowl was last night. Boy, was that boring. What a let down! Even as a fan of Seattle (from the Northwest), I was still bored. As a die-hard Peyton Manning fan? Ugh, I could barely watch it. What’s worse, after it was over, the game permeated all my thoughts: brushing my teeth, dressing in pajamas, tossing and turning in bed, eating a midnight snack.

Poor Peyton Manning, in my brain like a mouse. Not just Peyton but his great year and his team—all the records they broke. Then I thought about the Monday Morning Quarterbacks, the anti-Peyton crowd, who with newfound passion will argue again whether or not Peyton Manning is “good.”

Finally, I feel asleep. It was peaceful. Honestly, I don’t remember much. However, when I woke up, the first thing I thought about was Peyton Manning. Poor Peyton Manning. What a miserable soul we both are.

Then it hit me.

Why the Hell am I still thinking about Peyton Manning?

It scares me, that a professional sport has this much power over me, my thoughts, my disposition. If the Broncos would’ve won (or at least competed), I would’ve, potentially, showed up for life in brighter spirits.

Let me repeat that.  (more…)

Baseball for Beginners #KillMeNow

Batting average. ERA. RBI. Sacrifice hits. On base percentage. Good Lord. I never knew the game of baseball required so many prerequisites.

I haven’t been watching baseball very long, if you couldn’t tell. About this time, every year, I find myself jonsing for a good team to root for (the short NFL season always burns me). So, why not baseball? It’s worth a shot, I suppose.

Like any good tale, I needed a hero—a team, something, someone, to root for.

Since I’m moving away this summer, I’ve decided to pass on any California team in favor of my future home state—New York. I’d love to be able to go to a game or two. My friends, the ones who watch baseball, they threatened to disown me if I became a Yankees fan. This left me the Mets.

So, now I’m a Mets fan. (At 22-29, I’m wondering what I signed myself up for).

ExSPECTATON

The Philadelphia game I watched was so slow, TV commentators discussed their favorite restaurants in town instead of calling the game. Consequently, I now know more about diners in Philadelphia than I do baseball.

It’s been a great season for the young Mets pitcher, Matt Harvey. I think… Everyone seems to talk about how good he is. “They” even say he is undefeated. It seems, if the Mets keep losing, then obviously, he can’t be; apparently, I’m missing something here. (I’ve since found out why).

Spectating seemed easy at first: a pitcher, a batter, some bases. Home runs are good. But no. Oh no. There’s more. Much, much more.

Here’s a couple quotes fromHow Baseball Works,” to give you an idea of what I mean.

“A sacrifice does not count as an at bat, but the hitter may be “credited” with an RBI (so a hitter can be credited with a sacrifice and an RBI, but has no base hit and no at bat recorded.”

I see…

 “On Base Percentage is similar to batting average but includes appearances which led to walks and times a hitter was hit by a pitch. It is calculated by adding Base Hits, Bases on Balls and Hit by Pitches, and dividing by the sum of At Bats, Bases on Balls, Hit by Pitches and Sacrifices.

Ummmm…

These stats and rules, they just keep going and going. I’m the type to want to understand what I watch, so it’s been a little overwhelming. This is what I’ve got: home runs, as we’ve discussed, are good, .300 is a good batting average, the lower ERA the better—though I still don’t completely get ERA.

My preliminary understanding, though quite small, has already given me a much more enjoyable watching experience, I must admit. It can only get better from here, right?

The Curve

The crazy stats, the info, the rules, it’s caused me to wonder something. Is baseball so boring that we created stats just to give spectators something to do in the stands? (Or the commentators something to talk about?)

Don’t get me wrong, baseball has been growing on me. I actually quite like it. As of this writing, the Mets have won 5 in a row, including 4 straight against the Yankees. So that’s nice. Could this be the start of something big?

Also, I’ve decided to start my own baseball stat. It’s called, WOB. (Wife on Board). How many games will I get my wife to watch? Here’s the math: Innings watched divided by games, multiplied by watchable games divided by wins/loss record. It’s currently zero.

Oh well, there’s always next year.

Any tips for a beginning baseball spectator?

When God Rigs Football Games

There’s no doubt the word apartheid holds a certain a sting to it. Regardless, there are bits and pieces of existence in our world that require strong laws of separation, say: apple juice and chocolate milk, wine and liquor, George Clooney and Batman.

Many believe religion and politics are best kept apart. In fact, most would swear by that belief. I don’t hold strong opinions on that matter per say, though religion and sports, well, that is a separation I’m fond of.

YES, sports. More so, the NFL. No, no, not Tebow. But more so Ray Lewis. 6a00d83451d77869e20147e051cf35970b-320wi

The 2012-2013 NFL season was a haven for Ray Lewis retirement talk; there’s no doubt that the Baltimore Ravens linebacker, who played seventeen seasons and finished with two championship rings, is one of the greatest. So yes, the NFL gave him a microphone throughout the season every chance they got.

And what happened? Ray gave the glory all to God, just about every time he spoke. Now that is pretty cool, I have to admit. It takes bravery, from any religion or faith, for a person to speak their heart in front of anyone. And in front of the entire world? Well that takes balls… footballs.

So what’s the problem?

Ray’s message of God culminated after his win at the Super Bowl, when he was on the podium in front of millions of people around the entire world and declared: “When God is with you, who can be against you?”

Well…

This comment stirred up a few things in me. To help process the good and the bad, I thought I’d make a good ol’ fashioned blog breakdown.

1. Does God Rig Football Games? This might sound ridiculous, though Ray Lewis is suggesting otherwise. The God of the universe, of Abraham, Isaac, and Joseph, breaks bookie bets? Is he a Baltimore fan or just more of an AFC guy? What does that say about the 49ers?

2Like the ancient greeks, are we creating our own gods? You could argue that Raw Lewis is not praying to Yahweh, but rather Mahweh: the God of Football Favor. I don’t say this to tear down the guy, like I said, I really do respect him. But we need to get serious about who we claim God is, and His mission. We take our eyes off the prize—of furthering the Kingdom through serving and loving others—and place them onto a football field. Personally, I may or may not have prayed to Fantweh: the God of Fantasy Football once or twice.

3. If someone earns a pedestal, can they say whatever they want? Yes. Definitely. There is a double standard here; I feel that if I were in Ray’s shoes, I would be doing the same thing, but instead protecting the rainforest or freeing enslaved children that harvest cacao for Hershey’s. My point is that when you earn your spot, your soapbox, you’ve earned the right to speak your mind even if you have no idea what you’re talking about. It’s up to the receiver to filter words and decide on the speaker’s expertise.

4. Maybe Ray is right. Does God love Ray Lewis more than any of the other player on any other team? I don’t know. It’s a possibility I guess. I don’t want to assume I know the details of God’s design. Though, if God was rooting for the Mr. Lewis, you would assume he’d be retiring with seventeen championship rings instead of two.

Maybe there is something larger at work than I know of. I could just be jealous that the Ravens cut me in the practice squad. (That never happened).

What I do know, is that it’s easy to quote scripture but harder to eat it. We need to be careful about who we claim God is and let God claim us. See, there are plenty of gods going around these days and if we’re not careful, we may latch on to something less than eternal, less than love.