Apr 30, 2008

A little baseball update...and soccer

My son Nathan is playing in the 8 year old machine pitch league in Alabaster. The team started off well going 5-1 and in first place. In the last week however, we have dropped 3 of 4 and are now 6-4. We lost a heartbreaker last night to a team that has only won 1 or 2 games prior to last night. We came out and scored early, taking an 11-3 lead at one point. However, many mental and physical errors let them back in the game. In addition, in 2 innings we only scored 2 runs total and left about 4 guys on base. In the end, we lost 15-14 on the last play of the game.

On the positive side, Nathan is raking the ball at the plate. In the last 4 games, he is 12-14 with 3 doubles, 1 triple, and 1 hr. He's also driven in 13 rbi's in that time. Last night he was 4-4 with a triple, a hr, and 4 rbi's. For the season, Nathan is batting .722 with 2 hr's, 2 triples, 7 doubles, and 24 rbi's. He's a future clean-up for the Diamond Dawgs!

My son Drew is playing soccer this year. His team has won 4 games, lost 2, and tied 2. Drew has not scored a goal, but plays real good defense and like to defend the goal. He's gotten better as the season progresses, but still needs to be a little more aggresive. The main thing is that he likes playing and his favorite part is the snack afterwards! Drew's last game will be this Saturday.

Apr 27, 2008

Sorry for the absence

Lots happening. It's a busy time. Here are a few things happening lately...

- Nathan, my 8 year old, is playing baseball (machine pitch). His team is 7-3 and in first place. We had a slight 2 game losing streak this week, but broke out of it Saturday.
- Nathan's batting .680 for the year through 10 games. He's had 7 doubles, 1 triple, and 1 hr. He's also had 20 rbi's.
- Drew's playing soccer. His team is 3-2-2. Drew's trying hard. Hasn't scored a goal yet, but has a couple of assists. He plays pretty good defense. He spends a lot of time chasing the ball.
- I am hiring a new assistant at work. My ministry assistant the last couple of years, Jodi, went to work in our preschool department. Thanks for all your service Jodi.
- I'm behind in my reading for my next and final doctoral seminar in May. I'm reading books on missional churches. Some fascinating stuff and should be a good seminar.
- Alison and I have started a new small group with three other couples. It's going really good right now. We're in the beginning stages and are getting to know each other. Great conversation and good spiritual dialogue right now. We didn't meet tonight, and I miss doing so.
- I'm frustrated with the Red Sox this week. Had a great week last week, but lost 5 games to the Angels and the Rays. Come on Sox!
- I'm more frustrated with the MSU baseball team. Horrible pitching and bad losses abound. Legendary Ron Polk announced his retirement at the end of the season. The fanbase is looking for a big name coach to replace him.
- I still think Joel Osteen is dangerous.
- I still think Oprah's more so.
- My throat hurts with all this pollen stuff going on.

That's about it for now. More to come.

Apr 14, 2008

Curses...Foiled Again (Why are the Yankees sweating the Red Sox so much lately)

Yankees Unearth Hidden Red Sox Jersey from New Stadium

NEW YORK — A construction worker's bid to curse the New York Yankees by planting a Boston Red Sox jersey in their new stadium was foiled Sunday when the home team removed the offending shirt from its burial spot.

After locating the shirt in a service corridor behind what will be a restaurant in the new Yankee Stadium, construction workers jackhammered through the concrete Sunday and pulled it out.

The team said it learned that a Sox-rooting construction worker had buried a shirt in the new Bronx stadium, which will open next year across the street from the current ballpark, from a report in the New York Post on Friday.

Yankees President Randy Levine said team officials at first considered leaving the shirt where it was.

"The first thought was, you know, it's never a good thing to be buried in cement when you're in New York," Levine said. "But then we decided, why reward somebody who had really bad motives and was trying to do a really bad thing?"

On Saturday, construction workers who remembered the employee, Gino Castignoli, phoned in tips about the shirt's location.

"We had anonymous people come tell us where it was, and we were able to find it," said Frank Gramarossa, a project executive with Turner Construction, the general contractor on the site.

It took about five hours of drilling Saturday to locate the shirt under 2 feet of concrete, he said.

On Sunday, Levine and Yankees CEO Lonn Trost watched as Gramarossa and foreman Rich Corrado finished the job and pulled the shirt from the rubble.

In shreds from the jackhammers, the shirt still bore the letters "Red Sox" on the front. It was a David Ortiz jersey, No. 34.

Trost said the Yankees had discussed possible criminal charges against Castignoli with the district attorney's office.

"We will take appropriate action since fortunately we do know the name of the individual," he said.

A woman who answered the phone at Castignoli's home in the Bronx on Sunday said he was not there.

A spokesman for Bronx District Attorney Robert Johnson said Sunday he did not know whether any criminal charges might apply.

Levine said the shirt would be cleaned up and sent to the Jimmy Fund, a charity affiliated with Boston's Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Along with that, New York will send a Yankees Universe T-shirt, which is sold to benefit Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.

"Hopefully the Jimmy Fund will auction it off and we'll take the act that was a very, very bad act and turn it into something beautiful," he said.

Apr 12, 2008

Hello from the Passion Conference

Hello everyone. Checking in from Atlanta and the Passion Conference. We're at a dinner break and will be heading back for the closing session in a few moments.

The conference kicked off last night with Chris Tomlin leading worship and Louie Giglio bringing an incredible message about the heartbeat of Passion. He read an emotional series of entries from the journal of a girl named Ashley who met Christ through a roommate who had attended the Passion 07 conference last year. In the course of about 14 days from the simple testimony and life of one girl, Ashley went from non-believer to embracing the gospel of Christ. The evening was closed by David Crowder Band.

This morning we were led in worship by Charlie Hall. Francis Chan brought an awesome message about the power of the Holy Spirit and his role in our lives. WOW! The afternoon session was led by DCB and Louie. Louie challenged the attendees to understand that not only is suffering a reality of life, it may be the thing that God uses to leverage the truth of the gospel through our lives. He finished Ashley's story that he started the day before with a gut-wrenching series of e-mails. I won't ruin it for you. You need to get the dvd.

About to head back in a few moment for the evening and final session.

P.S. Currently the Sox are losing to the Yankees 2-1 in the 6 but two are on and Big Papi is coming up!

Apr 9, 2008

'Nuff Said

Apr 3, 2008

State of the Nation in Starkville

One of the frustrating things about being a fan of any team is whenever you begin to have some success only to have that success deflated by negative momentum. That frustration is exasperated when you are the fan of a team that consistently is fighting to sustain any positive momentum like Mississippi State. I have bled Maroon and White since I was a kid. I still remember the exhilaration in 1980 when the bulldog football team beat the #1 ranked Crimson Tide in Jackson. I remember the 1985 Diamond Dawgs of Clark, Palmeiro, Brantley, and Thigpen. I was thrilled at the Final Four basketball team of 1996. However, every time we make positive momentum, we seem to endure issues that slow down the momentum and keep us from being an elite program.

The Good
- MSU Football just finished an 8 win season and a Liberty Bowl win despite being picked by every "expert" in the nation to finish last in the SEC West.
- Last year's Diamond Dawgs defeated a good Clemson team to earn a trip back to Omaha for the first time in almost 10 years. (Unfortunately, there were two and out.)
- The MSU basketball team just won the SEC West for the 4th time in the last 6 years and had a great run after starting very poorly in the non-conference schedule.
- The MSU softball team is ranked in the top 25 and is doing very well.
- The "Big 3" sports have three excellent coaches: Football - Coach Croom has built a program the right way; emphasizing discipline, character, and sportsmanship. It has been a long road, and a lot of struggle, but it has paid off. Rick Stansbury has led the Bulldogs to the longest streak of continued success in basketball that I can remember. Even when the Dawgs are picked to finish near the bottom because they lost a lot of personnel, they overachieve. Coach Ron Polk is a baseball legend whose 30 year career is one of the tops in all of college baseball history.

Now, The Bad
- The underachievement of the basketball team at the beginning of the season and the loss to Georgia in the SEC Tournament cost the basketball Bulldogs a higher seed and put them up against #1 seed Memphis probably too soon in the tournament. All of a sudden, losses to Miami of OH and South Alabama meant a lot more.
- Last week, 2 key football players, Michael Brown and Quinton Wesley, were dismissed from school and the football team for an on-campus incident. Brown is arguably our best offensive lineman. Just when it seems that character is paying off at MSU, 2 bad apples cast a shadow on all the other young men who have worked hard for this program.
- MSU all-world player Derek Pegues was arrested in March for a suspended driver's license and open container of alcohol.
- Stud linebacker Jamon Hughes was suspended earlier this spring for an undisclosed incident.
- A couple of weeks ago one of the top recruits on Mississippi for next year, Chris Garrett, removed his early commitment to MSU and is now going to LSU. Garrett is a life-long State fan but obviously felt like his best chance for success was in Louisiana and not in Mississippi. Ouch!
- Last week Scotty Hopson, a top basketball recruit, removed his early commitment to MSU and changed to Tennessee. No doubt the success of the Vols this year had a lot to do with that. Tennessee has a lot of positive momentum right now.
- Last week legendary coach Ron Polk announced his retirement from baseball. He has long been frustrated and fighting with the NCAA for many of their foolish procedures and the negative effect these decisions have had on college baseball. He now feels its time to get out of the game. Many have secretly hoped he would have retired earlier. Now there will be a divided fanbase on who should be the next coach. Polk and some others think its time for Tommy Raffo, a loyal assistant, to take the helm. Others want a top-notch coach like John Cohen from Kentucky, Bianco from Ole Miss, or a host of others. No matter who is hired, some will not like the choice.
- The sports staple in Starkville, MSU Baseball, is currently 13-15 and has only won 2 SEC games. They've been swept by Baylor and South Carolina, lost 2 games to North Florida, lost 2 to Georgia and Ole Miss, and have only won against teams they should beat like UAB and Austin Peay. It looks like a sad ending to a great career for Polk.
- Who's running the Athletic Department? Outgoing AD Larry Templeton has handed over the reigns to Greg Byrne. However, this transition has not been very smooth and now we have to wonder who is going to hire the baseball coach? Also, MSU president Doc Foglesong has announced his resignation after only a couple of years, ending a not very popular tenure. Now we have to get a new president and stabilize a volatile athletic department.
- MSU is consistently at the bottom of the SEC on the amount it can set aside for athletic budget because of it's size and the lack of financial support it can generate. This is made worse when MSU fans get aggravated by loses on the field and problems with coaches and players. Most SEC schools spend twice what State does and some spend over three times. These schools usually have larger facilities which translates to larger fan bases and more revenue.

Now, I am not a "doom and gloom" MSU fan like many of my bretheren. I am concerned about some of these negative things that have taken place recently. I only hope that we can turn some of this around. I don't know if football can survive a return this year to a 3 win season after last year's magic. I have complete faith in Coach Croom and his staff to work it out. However, I am also concerned that there is a lot of negative momentum in my beloved Starkville these days. I hope that positive news starts coming out soon.

Apr 1, 2008

I have absolutely nothing to say about this

After 2 Weeks, Fate of Two-Faced Girl Uncertain

She's been hailed by villagers as the reincarnation of a Hindu god, but after 2 1/2 weeks, the survival of the little girl born with two faces remains uncertain, according to a report from ABCNews.com.

Still unnamed, the infant was born in the village of Saini in India with polycephaly, which means she has one body with two heads — complete with four eyes and two mouths.

Video: Baby Hailed as Hindu God.

"At first I was a little bit afraid," Vinod Kumar Singh, the 24-year-old father of the girl, told ABC News. "But then I accepted whatever God gives."

Many in this part of India consider the girl to be the reincarnation of Ganesh, the Hindu god who is half person and half elephant, according to the report.

So far the family has resisted medical treatment, M. Ashmosd, the resident medical officer of nearby Saifi Hospital, where the girl was born, told ABC.

"I've told them we're ready to do the CT scan for free. But they have ignored me," he said.