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The Curse of Bad Body Language

The Curse of Bad Body Language

About 8 years ago, when I was coaching our son’s 13 year old rec basketball team, we had a kid, Jessup, on the team who had obviously never played basketball. Worse, his body language told me that he had no interest in playing basketball. I judged the kid quickly, and harshly. As a coach, I was required to play everyone a minimum of two full, uninterrupted quarters (at least half the game). So, every game, in the first and third quarter, I would put Jessup in and hold my breath. We played an aggressive, press defense, and it required that…

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Ninja Perfection and the Mercy of Merton

Ninja Perfection and the Mercy of Merton

Holy guacamole! It’s a powerful and disarming thing to see the law of perfection fulfilled before one’s eyes, as all of us who tuned into American Ninja Warrior the other day did. No one in six seasons had completed the full (insane!) obstacle course and won the competition… until now. The fact that the winner, Isaac Caldiero, not only works as a carpenter busboy but comes out wearing a Jesus costume, well, I don’t think that was an accident. Neither was it an accident that the following excerpts from Thomas Merton’s essay, “The Climate of Mercy – For Albert Schweitzer”,…

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“Cheaters vs. Rapists” – The Rise of “Shrill” in the American Sports Fan

“Cheaters vs. Rapists” – The Rise of “Shrill” in the American Sports Fan

Gosh, we used to just call it Patriots vs. Steelers. Likely back then, there were players on both sides who were guilty of breaking the rules, and of sexual assault, but we didn’t know what we didn’t know. So we just thought we were watching a football game. That’s what I chose to believe last night when I hung out with some buddies to play Team Trivia and watch the Pats and Steelers. One of the trivia teams named their team “Cheaters vs. Rapists” in honor of the Tom Brady/Ben Rothlisberger QB match up on opening night. I suppose you can…

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Jordan Spieth: There’s No “I” in Golf…Huh?

Jordan Spieth: There’s No “I” in Golf…Huh?

I’ve always had respect for the players and coaches in any sport who use the first person plural when they’re interviewed after a win, and the first person singular when things went poorly for them or their team after a loss. Derek Jeter was like that, so were Steelers QB Terry Bradshaw and Buc’s Super Bowl winning coach Tony Dungy. That vantage point is counter-intuitive. To sit at your locker in front of a reporter after a loss and continually answer every question with “I…..” after a loss, but  “We…..” after a win, is a discipline that very few in…

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Fight, Flight, and Appeasement (in Little League): A Legal Interlude

Fight, Flight, and Appeasement (in Little League): A Legal Interlude

Check out the “Interlude” from Mockingbird’s latest resource, Law and Gospel: A Theology for Sinners (and Saints), available here!

The Law, on most every occasion, draws a line of distinction between the is of life and the ought. The Law is the demarcation of the life we should have—the life we long for—and our own obstructions preventing us from getting there. It is for this reason that our response to the Law is almost always counterproductive.[1]

Imagine you are twelve years old again, and you love baseball. All your heroes are baseball players, all your extracurricular time is spent either with a ballglove…

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Ballistic for Justice? Yeah, I Get It

Ballistic for Justice? Yeah, I Get It

I can’t roll the videotape, but I’m pretty sure that our middle child’s first fully formed sentence (somewhere south of age 2) was “That’s not fair!”  It was likely because her older sister had a bigger juice cup. It was sobering for me, because I learned something about her in that moment that was probably going to be inevitable about at least one of our kids, but I didn’t want to resign myself to say the words out loud so early in her life. They came out though, albeit involuntarily. “She’s just like me. Damn.”

Clarity of that truth reared its…

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England's Jo Potter (L) consoles teammate Laura Bassett after she scored an own-goal in the last minutes of the game giving Japan the win in their semifinal match at the FIFA Women's World Cup at Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton, Canada on July 1, 2015.   AFP PHOTO/GEOFF ROBINS        (Photo credit should read GEOFF ROBINS/AFP/Getty Images)

The Upside-Down Notion of an “Absolute Hero”

This week’s sports post comes from Mockingbird contributor Jonathan Adams:

Like (I’m sure) many of us, these past few weeks I’ve been dutifully doing something that I literally never do – watching women’s soccer on TV. I’ve been watching the US matches in the World Cup. I don’t claim to know much about soccer, but I concluded after watching the US in their semi-final match against Germany that (to my very untrained eye) the US team is a “team”. They communicate well and seem to have each others’ backs. They’re super fun to watch. And yes, I may have a pink…

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“When I Run, I Feel His Pleasure”, and Sometimes I’m Just Pleasant

“When I Run, I Feel His Pleasure”, and Sometimes I’m Just Pleasant

I was talking about the film “Secretariat” with a friend recently, and I remember him saying “I’m not really into horse movies”. That made me laugh. It’s like saying “I’m not into books about turtles”. It just seems to be an odd thing to be averse to. Anyway, I guess if I was pressed on the topic, I’d say I kind of like horse movies, Sea Biscuit, Secretariat, War Horse, and Black Beauty all come to mind. The film Secretariat came up in our conversation because we were talking about favorite movie scenes. I had mentioned that one of my…

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Steph vs. Lebron: An NBA Finals Preview

Steph vs. Lebron: An NBA Finals Preview

I’ve lived in Atlanta for the last 24 years, but all of my formative years were spent in San Francisco and Ohio.   So I’m vested in and looking forward to the Warriors/Cavaliers match up for the NBA Championship, beginning this week.  It stung a bit that the Cavs literally squashed our Atlanta Hawks en route to the Finals, but even I couldn’t deny that Lebron and company not only were the better team, but also seem to have a destiny about them.  Meanwhile, out in Oakland, the Warriors don’t look like they have a weakness, and they definitely appear to…

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Tom Brady vs. Gaylord Perry – On Doctoring Balls to Gain an Advantage, and Lying About It

Tom Brady vs. Gaylord Perry – On Doctoring Balls to Gain an Advantage, and Lying About It

Over the past few days, I’ve kept wondering if Tom Brady secretly stole Pentagon documents – the sin appears to be THAT egregious.  Scandal, thy new name (apparently) is “Deflate-Gate”.  ESPN and sports talk radio have been covering the New England Patriot ball deflation scandal on continuous loop. The story, which first broke in the weeks prior to this year’s Super Bowl, is that the Patriots’ equipment staff (per Brady’s orders) stuck needles in the team issued footballs and took the air pressure below NFL mandated levels before the 2015 AFC Patriots-Colts Championship Game. The suspicion was originally raised by…

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No Room in the Nosebleeds for Dre Kirkpatrick

With Mother’s Day in the rearview, time to shift our sights, and how better to do so than with this wonderful, tearjerking story from Bengals cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick, ht BB.

Eight Must-See 30 for 30s: A Magazine List

Eight Must-See 30 for 30s: A Magazine List

Another list from Issue 4, this one covers all that the sports world could not leave behind:

It would seem that the reach of ESPN’s 30 for 30 project surprised even ESPN. One might have imagined that a selection of human-interest stories and documentaries from the nether regions of the sports world could have some cult potential for the multitude of fans out there, but people are almost always surprised to know that there are more than just 30 of these documentaries under the franchise’s belt. They are also not 30 minutes long, another misconception. No, the reason for the name 30…

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