FCA impacts Illinois schools

Nice story in the Belleville News Democrat (Il) about the impact FCA is making. One of the better stories I’ve seen done on FCA.

Josh Hamilton
This is a column by the Fort Worth Star Telegram’s icon Randy Galloway about Josh Hamilton and some of the doubts that are starting to surround him and his consistent injuries.

Bowden speaks
Not Bobby, recently ‘retired’ Florida State University football coach who has some time on his hands now a days, but son Terry who came out of retirement and is now coaching at University of North Alabama. Bowden shared with this crowd the importance of parenting.

Unsung hero
Seems to be a nice book about an East Carolina University’s baseball coach who many not have heard of, but he had a big impact on those around him, although his time on this planet was way too short. Here is a nice video clip from a newscast about the coach and the book. This is a Youtube video about the coach and his legacy.


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If you want to read all of Tim Ellsworth’s Olympic stories, go to this site: http://bpnews.net/BPCollectionNews.asp?ID=166 .

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BP Sports editor tells about covering Olympics

Hallelujah! Winter Olympics are over. I did watch the tail end of the hockey game Sunday, but that was about it.  Winter sports make me cold.

However, I got to ask a few questions of some one who covered the Olympics for Baptist Press Sports, aka www.BPSports.net. Tim Ellsworth went North and covered the Frozen Games. Here’s a little background on Ellsworth.

Tim Ellsworth lives in Jackson, Tenn., where he serves as director of news and media relations at Union University. He also serves as editor of Baptist Press Sports. He is the author of “God in the Whirlwind” and co-author (along with Scott Lamb) of an upcoming biography of Albert Pujols, to be published by Thomas Nelson in the spring of 2011. He and his wife Sarah have three children.

Now, onto the questions. 

What’s it like covering the Winter Olympics?
It’s a tremendous honor for Baptist Press to entrust me with the responsibility of reporting from the Winter Olympics. This was my first Winter Olympics experience (I was in Beijing in 2008 for the Summer Olympics), so I at least had some basis for comparison. The city of Vancouver was alive with festivity, the streets were packed with people and the stereotypes of “friendly Canadians” are more than just stereotypes — they’re true. Most of the people I encountered were friendly and helpful. Vancouver itself was a great city, and the drive from Vancouver up to Whistler in the mountains was one of the most beautiful trips I’ve ever taken.

What’s the biggest difference in covering Winter and Summer Olympics? (Yes, I confess, in retrospect, that was a dumb question.)
I didn’t have sweat pouring off my body in Vancouver like I did in Beijing.

What story from the Olympics inspired you the most?

Probably Chad Hedrick’s story. Chad is a U.S.speedskater who won three medals in Turin in 2006, and had a reputation for being somewhat mouthy, brash and abrasive. He was known as the “Paris Hilton of speedskating” for his active nightlife. But in recent months, the Lord has done a work of grace in Chad’s life. He and his wife were baptized a few weeks ago, and on the top of the blade of his skate he wears the letters “CGIM,” which stands for “See God in me.” He’s a different man than he was four years ago.

What scene from the Olympics will you always remember?
It’s hard to boil it down to only one, but the Opening Ceremony in both Beijing and Vancouver will always stand out. I’ll never forget the 2,008 Chinese drummers on the floor of the Bird’s Eye counting down to the start of the Olympics in Beijing. In Vancouver, the snowboarder jumping through the Olympic rings was pretty neat. In both ceremonies, I was struck by the parade of athletes from all the different countries. Both times it made me think how there’s coming a day when the Lord will gather together those He has redeemed from every tongue, tribe, people and nation for a grand and glorious day of celebration.

How hard was it transitioning from your biography you are writing on Albert Pujols to covering the Olympics for Baptist Press?
It wasn’t too bad. I had a definite stopping point in mind on the book, and was able to get to that point before setting the book aside and focusing my efforts on the Olympics for a couple of weeks. And even though I’m not in Vancouver anymore, I’m still doing some coverage of the Olympics for BP — so I think the greater challenge is going to be getting back into book mode after the Olympics are over this week.

I was going to post all of the stories here one by one, but that’s too much trouble. Just go to www.BPSports.net and check it out. He did a GREAT job.

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Inspiritional stories come from frozen tundra (Olympics)

Some would say I’ve sinned, since I haven’t watched one moment of the Winter Olympics! However, I’ll be the first to tell you there are some very inspirational faith-based stories to come out of this frozen gala north of the border.

From where I’m sitting out here, in my Winter Olympic snob seats, I think that speedskater Chad Hedrick might be my favorite story. 

He really began his walk with Christ between the games in Torino, Italy and Vancouver, Canada so writers are writing about the the difference that Christ has made in his life in those years. Even Hedrick has said he wasn’t the man he should have been. “I probably did some things I shouldn’t have previously,” he said in several interviews.

Randy Sumner, a recovering broadcaster with a GREAT Christian blog, www.wordtotheword.com had this to say about him. “Frankly he was obnoxious and tough to like at all even while winning,” Sumner wrote in this story.  (Make sure you poke around his blog a bit, it’s worth the visit.

Today, four years later, that “obnoxious and tough” character has done a 180-degree turn, where he comes across as very loving and humble, obvious in this Youtube video made by his Salt Lake City pastor.

Here’s a nice story from the Houston Chronicle that tells about his spiritual journey and about he and his wife losing a baby.

Cindy Klassen
Here’s an Olympian who’s Olympic dreams were smashed, and now she’s one of the most decorated Canadian Olympians ever. However, speed skater Cindy Klassen says it’s her faith, not her 7 medals that define her. This is a GREAT Youtube story about her. Here is a story from Canadian Christianity about her.

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Organizations try to spread the word at Winter Olympics

The world’s eyes are on Vancouver for the Winter Olympics, at least according to NBC, who’s broadcasting the international sporting showdown. A number of Christian organizations are stepping up to share their faith to athletes and visitors from around the world. From my limited poking around, it looks like the organization that is really on the forefront is called More Than Gold. Here’s their website. Here is a story from Charisma magazine that tells you about what More than Gold, and a few other organizations, are doing.

Meanwhile, Southern Baptists are also making a push across the border in support of the event. This story is about SBC missionary Derek Spain, who’s a chaplain at the Athletes’ Village. The story also gets into details of Spain and bobsledder John Napier’s relationship, and how Spain helped Napier deepen his faith with Christ. Here’s where he shares how Christ helped him through the loss of his father. And here’s a NBC profile about Napier where he shares his faith, and a little bit about his future, where he’ll be going to Afghanistan.    This is a nice story about how Napier helped the U.S. bobsled director quit smoking.

If you just want some athletes sharing about their faith, go to www.beyondtheultimate.org.

And Beliefnet has some inspirational quotes and such up at their Olympic site.

If you’re getting the shakes because you’re missing college football, here’s a story from Nebraska about how some of the athletes are going around the state sharing their faith.

Tony Dungy
Here’s a nice, in-depth story on Tony Dungy and his impact. Sorry, I meant to post it three weeks ago when it originally came out

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Links and a little editorializing

I’m not sure what to think about this Christianity Today article. One thing I know for sure, Shirl James Hoffman, author of Good Game: Christianity and the Culture of Sports (Baylor University Press, 2010) is a very smart man. The present-day professor has also been a football player, referee and coach at different points in his life. I agree, the emphasis we put on sports is out of whack in our culture, and sometimes in our faith, and he points to many examples of this taking place. However, he puts spotlights on all of the negatives, but not on any of the positive outcomes of sports, or examples when athletes put their faith before their sport or when the playing fields develop the players’ character.

Mr. Hoffman might say that I’m wrong for doing this site because I put too much focus on sports. However, it’s my claim that there are many positive stories from the sports fields that can a) inspire us b) help us deepen our faith or just c) teach us. Would our time be better spent in the Bible? Maybe but I’m not really sure that God is calling us to a life of solitude, sitting on top of a mountain chanting.

Mr. Hoffman’s very long article (about a 15-minute read) should be read and thought about by all sports fans. It’s up to you to agree or disagree. You might be like me, agree with parts and disagree with others. Thank goodness we have people like Mr. Hoffman in Christendom who makes us think. Check out this Bible study that is designed to go with it. 

Tebow hysteria
Mr. Telander, a fellow who’s a pretty solid writer out of Chicago, has had his fill of Tim Tebow. Sounds like he and Mr. Hoffman should hang out for a bit. J Meanwhile, this Las Vegas writer lauds Tebow for staying true to his beliefs. Please note I’ve pretty much ignored all of the hysteria around Tebow this week, the Senior Bowl and the Super Bowl commercial. If you can’t get enough Timmy T coverage, go check out our friends at www.tebowseyeblack.com.

Wyoming’s Grace Bible
Little Grace Bible College out of Wyoming has a slightly different perspective on sports, that Mr. Hoffman may appreciate. “These men know that I don’t care what type of basketball players they are when they leave here,” Bailey said. “I want men who are good husbands, good fathers, good employees. Everything is geared around that, and I don’t care if we go 0-32.” However, they haven’t been going 0-32 but won a national title last year.

Dolphins chaplain
Looks like our friend Art Stricklin is at the Super Bowl, he did a story on the Miami Dolphins chaplain who is excited about the opportunities he has this week.

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Two faith-based stories from ESPN

Is Kurt Warner done? In this well-written piece by ESPN’s Rick Reilly it sure sounds like it. Then, there’s this nice story by ESPN’s Melissa Isaacson about White Sox reliever Bobby Jenks. Fans and teammates are seeing a difference in the big reliever and he s aid there’s a reason why. “Then this last year, I came to Christ and that was a big influence on my life.”

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