Showing posts from February, 2010

The Worst Soccer Injury Ever?

At the risk of seeming like a sensationalist, I am going to publish to following video of a scene from a British Premier League soccer match. This took place over the weekend in a match between Arsenal and Stoke City.

VIEWER'S DISCRETION ADVISED! The leg injury shown on the video is perhaps the worst I have seen in a sporting event -- as bad, if not worse than Joe Theismann's terrible leg injury 20+ years ago. You can't see anything too gruesome on the video, so don't worry.

Perhaps this should put to rest silly statements that soccer players are always faking their injuries. I'm sure there are moments when players stall for time. But let it be known that soccer is as violent as any major sport on the planet.

The injured player in the video is Arsenal's rising teen star, Aaron Ramsey. The guilty party -- who subsequently received a red card -- is Stoke City's captain Ryan Shawcross, an English star who will represent his nation in an upcoming international …

Hockey at the 1998 Nagano Winter Games

As the Winter Olympics wind down, the hockey finals loom as one of the few remaining major events. I'm not a huge hockey fan -- just someone who likes to follow the major events. And the hockey tournament at the Winter Olympics is as big as it gets.

For years, professional players were banned from competing in the Olympics. This always ticked off Canada, the US and Western Europe. The rule itself wasn't so bad as was its interpretation behind the Iron Curtain. The Soviets had an "amateur" team that played together constantly. Since the premier Soviet players could not travel or sign lucrative contracts with the NHL or other professional leagues, these "amateurs" had no choice but to play on the Soviet team. There was a professional league within Russia, but the best players were always kept on the military payroll where they could play nonstop for the national team. The "Miracle on Ice" in 1980 was truly a miracle when the American team of true ama…

Remembering Eddie the Eagle

He could soar like an ostrich. His glasses gave him super fogged-up vision. He finished in dead last. But he was the hit of the '88 Calgary Winter Olympics.

Eddie "the Eagle" Edwards was actually a decent downhill skier from Great Britain who nearly qualified for the '84 games in Sarajevo. Wanting desperately to be in the Olympics, he switched to ski jumping. The British ski jumping team was nonexistent, so he was able to qualify as his country's lone representative.
Prior to Eddie, no one had been crazy enough to jump in the Olympics who wasn't already a world class jumper. Eddie changed all that. With his unorthodox style and short jumps, he became a cult legend. President Samaranch, head of the IOC, even referred to him in his closing speech -- the only time an individual athlete has been named in a closing ceremony.
Eddie translated his fame into a career in broadcasting and show business back at home. He has also been a successful pitch man for numerous com…

Norway's Loss Was Canada's Gain

The 2006 Winter Olympics were in Turin, Italy. Many of us were focused on downhill skier Bode Miller, whose notorious partying and flippant attitude left him with no medals. Others were watching the ice hockey or figure skating -- the glamor sports.

Not many probably paid much attention to cross country skiing. Almost no one here saw the women's sprint relay, where Canadian skier Sara Renner was leading halfway through the race. When her pole snapped, she thought it was over. Three skiers passed her, including the Norwegian who was in position for the bronze.

Out of nowhere, someone stuck a pole out for her. The merciful gesture came from long-time Norwegian ski coach Bjornar Hakensmoen. He happened to be close by. The Norwegians had emphasized "fair play" and sportsmanship as key values for their skiers. So he didn't think twice about offering Renner his pole.

Although Hakensmoen's pole was 7 inches longer than Renner's own, she managed to catch up and finish …

Follow up to Tebow's Super Bowl ad

Okay, so I don't get it. What was the big fuss about Tebow's commercial? Political correctness is absolutely out of control if people thought that commercial was out of bounds. Truth be known, most of the folks who were wringing their hands about a pro-life commercial were relieved to see the soft message of Focus on the Family's 30-second spot. It had prime placement just after the start of the game. Here is one of many places you can see the clip:

There is a new "controversy" surrounding this commercial. Get this: Some are saying this ad promotes violence toward women.

Okay. I'm no big supporter of groups like Focus on the Family. In James Dobson's last years there, the group became way too politicized for my liking -- telling people which candidates to vote for and the like. It all sounded way too moralistic and big-brotherish for me. But I love this commercial. It's an understated approach that Christians should be proud of. It tells a story without…

Tim Tebow's Super Bowl ad

Isn't all the "furor" about Focus on the Family's pro-life ad a bit crazy? The ad will star Tim Tebow and his mother. She has a real pro-choice story, one where she chose to give birth to her child over the advice of a doctor. Why is this genuine story so bad? Clearly, it's not.

I love the column written in Tuesday's Washington Post by Sally Jenkins. She personally favors the pro-choice policy, yet she applauds this ad as a healthy part of public discourse. And she excoriates groups like the National Organization for Women who reveal their intolerant stance in discussions like this one about Tebow's ad.

You may or may not agree with Tebow's method of wearing his faith so visibly on his shirt sleeve. Contrast his style with that of Colt McCoy who is equally passionate about his faith but much less obvious about it. But you have to admire Tebow's passion and devotion. In my opinion, the church needs all kinds of gifts, styles and ways of working.

For w…

The Prophecies of Isaiah 40-55

I've been trying to live in Isaiah's world this week. By Isaiah, I mean Isaiah the prophet from the Hebrew Bible. And to be more precise, I am thinking about the section of the book's prophecies that come from the 6th century BC. That's chapters 40-55. This part of the Book of Isaiah deals with Judah's return from Babylonian captivity.

Isaiah the prophet lived at the end of the 8th century & start of the 7th century BC. During his lifetime, the northern kingdom Israel was permanently dismantled. He served as a prophet to many nations, though his primary role seems to have been as prophet to the Judean kings who ruled in Jerusalem.
Hezekiah is the king we most associate with Isaiah. Hezekiah is known as a good king, largely because of two great prayers. First, he had a terminal illness. He prayed for God to extend his life, and Isaiah brought the word of 'reprieve' and healing from God. (See Isa 38). Second, he prayed for help when the armies of Assyria t…

Eastern Congo's Genocide

The effects of Haiti's earthquake have been heart wrenching to follow. The nation that barely functioned before the earthquake is a total wreck today. Thankfully, massive relief efforts are underway, even if the obstacles are enormous.

While North Americans have been opening their pocketbooks for Haitian relief, another darker tragedy has been playing out for much longer. The killing, rape, kidnapping & genocide of innocent civilians committed by bands of Hutu militias has claimed more than 30 times as many lives as the Haiti earthquake. 5.4 million people have died there since April, 2007.

But very few people are talking about this ongoing catastrophe. Nicholas Krystof of the New York Times refers to this as "the most lethal conflict" since World War 2. He wishes a tsunami or earthquake would strike just so that the world might start paying attention. You can read his op-ed piece by going to

My cousin J…