Wednesday, December 07, 2016

When Christmas Hurts


For many, the approaching reality of Christmas is not ALL childhood bliss and candy cane memories. It can often be a bittersweet time. And I think the older we get, the more we see the reality of the holiday. Each year brings the truth of those who are absent and those who have departed.

My mom read a very sad Christmas story to us almost every year when we were children about the little match girl. Each year I hoped that she would be saved in the end.... but her version was always ended in sadness. I stared at those same pictures..snow, cold, and a poor girl who never found one person to take her in and warm her life.

I recently re-read the classic published by Hans Christian Anderson in 1845

Here is the summary of the story in Wikipedia:

On a cold New Year's Eve, a poor young girl tries to sell matches in the street. She is already shivering from cold and early hypothermia, and she is walking barefoot having lost her shoes. Still, she is too afraid to go home, because her father will beat her for not selling any matches, and also as the cracks in the house can't keep out the cold wind. The girl takes shelters in a nook or alley and sits down.
The girl lights the matches to warm herself. In their glow she sees several lovely visions, including a Christmas tree and a holiday feast. The girl looks skyward and sees a shooting star; she then remembers her dead grandmother saying that such a falling star means someone is dying and is going to Heaven. As she lights the next match, she sees a vision of her grandmother, the only person to have treated her with love and kindness. She strikes one match after another to keep the vision of her grandmother alive for as long as she can.
After running out of matches the child dies, and her grandmother carries her soul to Heaven. The next morning, passers-by find the child dead in the nook, frozen with a smile on her face, and guess the reason for the burnt-out matches beside her. They feel pity for her, although they had not shown kindness to her before her death. They have no way of knowing about the wonderful visions she saw before her death or how gloriously she and her grandmother are now celebrating the New Year in Heaven.

 
So, the question is WHY did my mom read that story to us year after year, despite us desperately crying NO like we all do when whining about a request we see as torture?
My mom understood that while it was a sad story, but it wasn't a tragic story. 
In a home of some Christmas regrets, there was a deeper truth that was beyond me in the moment, but it took root and faithfully bore fruit in my heart many years after my mom passed away.
In fact, I think the beauty and application of that truth is lost on us if Christmas is just getting everything on our list.
'Getting everything' wasn't the Christmas past I remember. We always got some GREAT things, but it wasn't an overflowing bounty. And in my eagerness to try out the new shiny toy tucked behind the tree, I never noticed that mom and dad never really got anything for themselves.
My mom cried every Christmas when she finished the story, another reason I probably fought it like the plague.
But her tears came from more than the genuine love she had for people without means.
Christmas reminds us of the painful times, it is lament of the loss of childhood innocence, and it can be hard and cold in a world of darkness and loneliness.
But the little girl has a smile on her face in the end. What is that about?
True hope is one that carries us beyond the darkest day of human existence.
If death is the end, then Christmas is, in a sense, an empty celebration. Gifts disappear...... do you remember what you got last Christmas? The one before?
But Christmas is about a gift that came wrapped in poverty and darkness...but caused the angels to sing in exalted praise.
The birth of the Christ-child unleashed violence and over 2,000 years later bombs still fall on children in places like Aleppo and we still wipe away tears of pain and regret.
But there is a warm welcome waiting for those who walk to the other side clinging to the simple but glorious promise of why the Child came to earth.
My mom is not crying this Christmas.. her body is perfect, her home is full and warm. She is basking in eternal joy and sunshine.
Neither is Granny, neither is Lee, neither is Terry..... neither is Mr Stegall or Coach Farris.
So yes, I sometimes cry at Christmas....but that is OK with me....  the gift that God gave I will never forget....
If that is all He ever gave me, I would still have reason to praise His Holy name for all eternity.
But He gave me grace upon grace, a beautiful family, and we will have some great times very soon.
AND because of Jesus .... I know that this is just a small taste of what is to come.

Merry Christmas everyone!



Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Analysis of an "Upset"- Chris Peterson's Dramatic Win in 2007

Chris Peterson became a hero coach to me in 2007 when he guided Boise State to un undefeated season and the unlikely upset of Oklahoma 43-42 in one of my all time favorite bowl games.

As an offensive coach, I was very impressed with Boise during their entire run of success. The offense in those days had an entirely different look and feel to what I was seeing week to week. Peterson developed a system of personnel groupings, shifts, and motions with picture perfect execution and courageous play calling.

I wondered a lot about 'how' Boise was getting what seemed to be a very complex system installed during NCSS mandated practice hours... a college coaching friend of mine asked, 'how many NCAA officials are going to show up in Idaho?" but there was a part of me that gave Peterson the benefit of the doubt.

So, when Boise upset Oklahoma that year with the famous pass and lateral and the 'statue of liberty' 2 point winner in overtime, the legendary status of a coach and his ability to slay the giant were cemented in place.

So, it was a lot of fun to go back and look at that game drive by drive.

Even though it was two different teams and a decade ago- would this game show a blueprint for how Peterson might do it again? This time taking his Washington team to play Alabama?

Oklahoma was formidable... I mean, Adrian Peterson was their RB of all things and he only ended up with 77 yds rushing!

HOW THE UPSET HAPPENED?

Oklahoma got down early in that game. BSU threw a double move on 1st down on their first drive on 1and 10 and then recovered an Oklahoma fumble on the +9 going in and it was 14-0 early in the game.

Oklahoma cut it to 14-10 with less than 3 minutes to go in the half, but BSU snuck in a screen (missed tackle) that put them up 21-10 aT HALFTIME.

It got ugly in the 3rd Q when Boise returned a pick 6 for points.

But then.... OKLAHOMA RALLIED TO PUSH AHEAD 35-28 with just 1:02 left in the game.

BSU was facing a 4th and 18 with 18 seconds left in the game when they executed to perfection the dig and lateral trick play. Peterson kicked it to tie in regulation.

Oklahoma scored in their 1st possession in OT and kicked the PAT. Boise scored in OT and ran the now famous "Statue of Liberty" trick play to win the game.

It was an electric finish?

ANALYSIS OF AN UPSET

I don't know if I believe in 'upsets'.... most of the time, the best team wins.

But, there are times, a superior team loses... but most often it is death by suicide.... If Alabama loses, they will have beaten themselves.....

CAN WASHINGTON BEAT ALABAMA?

Yes....

Coach Peterson will have a great game plan... he has a LONG time to install it.

He will use fast motions, he will shift, and Alabama can get confused at times on defense.

He will script all of the best plays against Alabama- squirm routes versus inside LB's- play action posts, 50/50 balls against the Alabama corners.

He will work hard to dial up some run plays.

I don't think Washington can stop the downhill run.

But even then, it will take Alabama making mistakes.... kicking game miscues, fumble, int, and penalties... all possible in the realm of college football.. for Washington to win.

WILL WASHINGTON BEAT ALABAMA?

That is a different question.... I say NO.

The Tide has some advantages.. playing in the Georgia Dome... experience in the playoff games... really good players at every position.

My pick: Alabama 35 - Washington 10

The Alabama 'surprise' will be power run game from the very beginning and play action to Ridley.

The X-FACTOR

My only caveat to my predictions will stay the same as it has been all year- a healthy Jalen Hurts. If Hurts gets Hurt, Alabama can still find a way to win.. but all bets are off at that point.

I've been pretty good this year on my picks.... but I wouldn't bet on it...LOL

Saturday, December 03, 2016

Our Biggest Unbelief

Amazing, troubling, beautiful, divergent, vibrant, exciting, fragile, global, isolated, discordant, mesmerizing..... our current world...

It is the speed of the process that captures my attention. 

Before cell phones and internet..... things were slower
Before cars and telephones...things were slower still
Before electricity and railroads.... things were even slower

All human elements have always been in place.

When I read Shakespeare- the humans are the same: a life of laughter, shame,  mourning, desire, doubt, self expression,  accomplishment, conflict, gratitude,  guilt, and death. The same is true all the way back to Plato and Homer, AND the Bible.

It is the pace that is different. Humans are human, sin is sin, life is life, beauty is beauty, pain is pain, war is war, prosperity is prosperity and so on.

The amenities are better- knowledge build upon knowledge- technology upon technology, medical advancement upon medical advancement... that has exponentially added to the speed and comforts. I am thankful for that. George Washington did not have Advil or a modern dentist!

No matter the change, no matter the pace- the deep problems remain.

Questions of life
The Reality of death
The pain of suffering
The thirsts of the heart: peace, significance, relationship, comfort, love, and security... still not fully quenched.

But the biggest issue is unbelief.

Now, as soon as I say 'unbelief', it causes an immediate assumption that I am referring to God.

But that is not the starting place of prescription.

No, that is not the problem at all.

The journey away from promise and hope does not begin with a loss of faith in God.

The wandering begins with a loss of a healthy skepticism of self.

Here is the first verse we do not believe:
For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. I Corinthians 13:13
This verse if often overlooked and often disbelieved.....

The very fact that it is right at the end of the great 'chapter of love' in Paul's letter is quite striking to me.

The speed of information and the glossy nature of advancing technology hides a startling fact- we do not and can not know all of the information... nor do we have a right to do so.

This bothers us... immensely... enough for some to abandon the only hope of rescue on a sinking ship in the storm of disillusionment, depression, and doubt.

It is hard to convince a man with a mental illness that he is not seeing the real picture.

But the Bible tells us as honestly as it can- that our views are distorted, our wires are crossed, and our nature is prone to error.

We cannot know God as He is... He is beyond us... He is incomprehensible. It is like trying to get a newborn baby the grasp the theories of relativity.

When we reject this notion, a seed of tragedy begins to sprout.

"'Knowledge' puffs up, but love builds up."

If we exalt our knowledge... our opinion... without any filter of self-suspicion we obtain a license without  a regulator of love and humility.

This knowledge is dangerous... it becomes self centered, self confirming,  and self trusting.

Before long we are not being considerate of the conditions of others... we cannot see life from their circumstances.

The reason pride is so deadly is that it ignores truth... it ignores God, refuses Him, and rejecting Him when His views conflict with ours.

"if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, . . . but have not love, I am nothing" (1 Cor. 13:1-3).

 This effects all of us... the religious, the agnostic, the educated, the simple.....

If your only source of confirmation is you or the small circle of self confirming 'sources' that flood your on-line inbox.... be careful... be very careful... deep inside you know you can't really trust the outsiders.... but I am challenging you to consider ONE MORE STEP... what you really can't trust is YOU.

And the first route out is a willingness to humble yourself and open up to the Creator.

As I close on this, I want to one last time, refer to Rosaria Champagne Butterfield... I like her a lot.

The reaction to her story reminds me of how everyone would respond to the real Jesus if we met Him- no one would be comfortable around Him, but His love draws you in regardless.

Do you know her story? A former professor of English and women's studies at Syracuse. Went to a reformed church for a time while standing firm in a culture of feminism and lesbianism. For many Sundays she would leave the bed of her lesbian lover and carefully consider the words of Scripture. The wrestling match in her soul raged.

But through it all, she began to see the real problem. The real problem wasn't worldview, or same sex attraction, or intellectual problems with the existence of what seemed to be a hypocritical God.

The real problem was her pride.

As she writes in her mesmerizing book: Openness Unhindered

In the LGBT community, the opposite of pride is self-hatred. But in the Bible, the opposite of pride is faith. Was pride keeping me from faith, or was pride keeping me away from self-hatred? 

And what she said a few sentences later is the point of this blog post....

"This was the first of my many betrayals  against the LGBT community: whose dictionary did I trust?"

She had a talk with herself in the mirror one morning...

"Who am I? Am I an atheist? Am I a lesbian? Do I have to have a category? 

The strongest sense of self I had at the time was my lesbian identity, but even that was pieced together by a jumble of things.

If Jesus could split the world asunder, divide the soul and the spirit, judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart, could he make my true identity prevail?"

"Who am I? ... (but then she asked the question of humble submission) "Who will God have me to be?"

If you are reading this... did you get hung up on a word?... did your red flag of angry opinion rise?

Do you trip over words like God, Bible, Lesbian, LGBT in angst or anger?

Settle down for an instant and listen....

Whose dictionary are you going to trust?

And my challenge is to do something you haven't done in a long time.... read the Bible, in a quiet and submissive spirit.

Read it in a thoughtful long section.

Read the Book of Colossians or Philippians... read a long section of the Book of John. Don't read it in an effort to judge it... read it in a longing for love and direction. The voice of your Father isn't angry.. it is a tone of understanding and love. He LONGS for you.

Let God have a chance to re-wire your thinking.

And what you may realize is that you are letting the speed of information cloud your eternal perspective.

Our biggest unbelief is our inability to understand that left alone, we will soon become the god of our own life. And we are incapable of steering that ship.

That happens to believers as well.... you can miss the story of Rosaria on both sides. You can be angry at God on the left... or you can throw stones at the sinner from the right.

Stop demanding to know it all immediately... quietly walk with the Master on a journey and let His light lead the way.

You cannot read the roadsigns with any GPS of this world.

Follow HIM!



Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Not Your Average Thanksgiving Post

On the day before Thanksgiving 2016, I wanted to write what has been the biggest impression on my heart. And it is very different than most Thanksgiving expressions, but no doubt this has been my deepest rumination.

Throughout my life, people have often referred to me as 'religious' or 'deeply religious' and, to be quite honest, I have never liked the term. And close observation of my life would cause one to re-evaluate that assessment.

As I read the Bible I see quite a different analysis. I am Adam, standing quiet as a loved one is drawn to disobedience. I am Moses, disobeying clear commandments because they seem trivial. I am Esau, selling my spiritual inheritance for temporary and meaningless contentment. I am Jacob, having to meet a person with my same sins to understand the pain it causes in others. I am Saul, refusing to wait on God's provision in haste and arrogance. I am David, growing stale in comforts of life and quenching the early passions of the shepherd boy who only had the Lord, which was more than enough. I am Nicodemus seeking him at night because I can't see the truth in clear light. I am Peter, making bold pronouncements while the Lord just shakes His head and rebukes me for a lack of understanding and faith. I am James and John, arguing about glory with no clue about the cost of following the example and commands of Jesus.

But today... I am so thankful!

I am thankful that God exists and that He has told me over and over what kind of God He is. He is loving and merciful. He is understanding and gracious.

I am thankful that He has clearly communicated and demonstrated the only truth that really matters. He not only told me He loves me, He has proven it in space, time, and history. Anyone die for us lately?

When I am lying down in a mess of my own making, He scoops me up and wipes me off and hugs me again and again. As I have said before, I am no man looking God in the eye and debating the complexities of existence. No, I am a foolish toddler, stumbling around in awkward self absorption and minuscule understanding.

He is big enough to solve all of my questions and problems. He is powerful enough to hold all of the complexities and issues of the globe.

His generosity includes the gift of His Spirit Who conditions my heart to see and respond in gratitude.

No, I am not religious. I am one big sinner.

But I am also Son of the King, Child of the Master of Everything.

On top of that, He has showered me with grace upon grace, mercy upon mercy, benefit upon benefit. Walking along with a beautiful wife and children is just one of many, many special blessings in my life.

So I praise Him in thanksgiving and rejoice in the freedom of perfect peace and love.

Today is a new chance to grow a little more in that grace and love.

It would be of great benefit to love and serve others...... instead of just myself.


Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Bama vs LSU: Take Your Heart Medicine- The End Will Be Wild

Football is such a strange game... you have to keep in mind "it's all about the match-ups".

Some teams and schemes are just a strange fit.

Every play becomes a fascinating combination of variables: Down/ Distance/ Field Position/ Momentum/ Fatigue/Belief/Trust/ Weather/ Noise/ and the crazy physics of a football (velocity, angular momentum, and gravity)....



sometimes  it is strength vs strength...sometimes weakness vs weakness... sometimes strength vs weakness.

To predict outcomes is (almost) ludicrous.... especially in the stranger brew of night time SEC football.

But I have spent some time analyzing both teams... and here is my analysis...

TWO WEEK PREP

Having two weeks to prepare for a big game will never be neutral.... it will be evident EARLY ON if the off week was good or bad for both teams. My guess is that both teams will be rested and ready to go.

The bigger issue of the off week is prep time for coaches.... I believe you will see very detailed game plans put in place from both coaching staffs. These guys know each other very well. The only risk you have at times is a potential to do too much scheme wise and have mess-ups trying to execute with speed and a lack of confusion.

LOSS OF JACKSON

My biggest concern is how Alabama adjusts to the loss of Eddie Jackson- no doubt the athletes there will be phenomenal...but I expect LSU to find out quickly if the safety can fill and tackle and, if he does that well, how susceptible is he to play action?

The good news for Alabama is that they have had two weeks to work on both of those. They can do some safety swapping based on formation and can have built in coverage help.

Make no mistake... losing Eddie was a big loss for this team. A lot of guys will have to step up to try and fill that void.

TEXAS A&M

I wanted to mention a little bit about Texas A&M... they had a terrific game plan vs Alabama, and had it not been for great offensive execution and the defensive TD- that game was going to be a nail biter.

I was very surprised to see the Aggies play almost the whole game with two high safeties and only 6 run defenders. But after some thinking it later made sense. If Texas A&M made Alabama run the ball, they hoped their two outstanding DE's would make enough good plays to prevent long drives for points. That slows the game down, holds down scoring, and has it tight in the 4th quarter and pressure begins to mount on an undefeated #1 team.

The fans don't help here BTW- there were some in my area that were almost depressed or either angry at Kiffin for struggling in the red zone (the murmuring sucks the energy out of the home team noise advantage)...but that's how A&M played it.. Once the field gets constricted a 6 man box becomes an 8 man box because of the depth of the safeties. This is the bend but don't break effect.

What hurt the Aggies was that Alabama executed their run game VERY well, taking the DE's out of the game by reading them instead of blocking them.

WHY SATURDAY NIGHT WILL BE WILD

I predict LSU will not follow the Aggie defensive plan. I predict you will see a run heavy box and Cover 1 and even some 0.... it will be a full pressure package hoping that attack, intensity, and noise will make it hard on the OL to protect.

LSU believes they have the athletes on defense to run with Alabama.

The problem with that attack is that it becomes 'feast or famine'- you can create negative plays and turnovers... but the offensive good plays aren't 1st downs..they are TD's.

I think LSU will be able to do the same... a lot of 3 and outs... but also a lot of explosive plays. The reason Guice #5 scares me more that Fournette #7 is his ability to bounce wide with quickness.

This will NOT be a 9-6 knuckle grinding game.... this will be a relatively high scoring game.

And will come down to mistakes.....

WHY I GIVE BAMA THE EDGE

The QB spot is the only real difference. And I hate to create early controversy for the Iron Bowl... it is the same in that game.

A healthy Jalen Hurts..... will be the difference in Baton Rouge and the Iron Bowl. Hard to believe I wrote that regarding a true freshman.

His ability to run puts that one more element in that attack that finally stretches the defense too thin.

A mobile QB tires down a defense...

I give Saban, Kiffin, and Sarkisian HUGE props for adding zone read and RPO's in such an effective way to this offense.

I see two explosive plays by Ridley and one or two by Stewart as being the difference.

But there will be negative plays and some 3 and out drives.... will the team stay focused and execute when the momentum is opposite their direction? It will be a GREAT test...  one a championship team must weather if they are to accomplish their goals.

THE ACHILLES HEEL.. OR RATHER......FOOT

Bama's biggest weakness is consistency in FG kicking versus the two major teams left on their schedule... That guy needs all the support and encouragement we can give him. And he is our guy regardless.

So here is how I call it:

Bama 31- LSU 24
don't sleep on Miss St by the way- late game pull away
Bama 34- Auburn 19 (if Hurts is healthy)

Both games will be back and forth until the 2nd half.... this team will have to compete...no one is going to give it to them.

In the end.... it's just a football game.... LOL

The fans in Crimson are pretty spoiled..... try and enjoy the journey....


Saturday, October 22, 2016

This Election is Going to Go Bad and Why That is OK

Spending time writing on this blog on the election is the last thing I want to do. You can imagine the responses I get on my bloviations on religion....why add politics to the soup of my misery!?


My favorite posts to write are about Coach Bryant, football, or fishing- I actually feel popular!

But it is too hot a topic and too close to a reality- and knowing my little voice is a drop in a sea of insanity..... why not?

Our candidates for president are our fault.

Let me be more truthful.... our choices are my fault and yours too.

You may love your candidate, go vote and good luck. Now back to the rest of the sane people, let's be honest, you are going to cast a vote in a few weeks based on who you hate more or less than the other one.

In Alabama, I'm considering NOT voting for president. I could write in Nick Saban or Jumangi... it won't matter... In Alabama- a red,red, red state.... NINE electoral college votes will all go to Trump and you can take that to the bank.

The same can be said for Vermont on the blue side. If I were living in Vermont (now, Coach Woody McCorvey told me never to live in a town where they don't sell Sunbeam Bread)....coaching football..... I would at least consider not pulling the lever in this mess because no matter what I did, Vermont will cast all THREE votes for Clinton.

I will cast my vote for the down ballot candidates.. but as of this second- I just can't do it for President. There ain't a choice among any of them, Gary Johnson included that I feel can lead our nation. If I were in a swing state- yeah I probably would have to pick the less to two bad options. So my leaning right now is I'm not going to...but it no moral stance...if I am honest.....it is a cop out.

(NOTE: I WROTE SOME OF THIS BEFORE THE 3RD DEBATE- I WILL SAY THAT THE ABORTION ANSWER MAY HAVE FINALLY TIPPED IT FOR ME AND PROBABLY SHOULD)

If there is a disadvantage to the electoral college- it is that it looks like my vote doesn't count...I know, I know... it does... but the way I see it voters in Ohio, North Carolina, and Florida are picking him or her.

Back to our fault. And I will add one more controversial notion.... our fault and God's judgment. Before you get too hung up on this.... God's largest category of consequences, wrath, judgments, penalties.... is simply letting us go our own way. The penalty is contained IN the results of the choices.

BUT- He is not a "I told you so person at all"- but He told us what would happen and we do it anyway. He is ready to forgive me and you right now...

NOT ME... if I were God I would be much meaner about it.

Israel is living history about what happens when a nation forsakes God and His righteousness as their guide and truth.

For behold, the Lord GOD of hosts is taking away from Jerusalem and from Judah support and supply, all support of bread, and all support of water; the mighty man and the soldier, the judge and the prophet, the diviner and the elder, the captain of fifty and the man of rank, the counselor and the skillful magician and the expert in charms.
And I will make boys their princes, and infants shall rule over them.

 and the result?.......
And the people will oppress one another, every one his fellow and every one his neighbor; the youth will be insolent to the elder, and the despised to the honorable. For a man will take hold of his brother in the house of his father, saying: “You have a cloak; you shall be our leader, and this heap of ruins shall be under your rule”;
in that day he will speak out, saying: “I will not be a healer; in my house there is neither bread nor cloak; you shall not make me leader of the people.”
For Jerusalem has stumbled, and Judah has fallen, because their speech and their deeds are against the LORD, defying his glorious presence.
(Isaiah 3:1-8 ESV)

 Now, I can hear the Joker frown at me and say "WHY..... SO..... SERIOUS?"

I can hear the media elites moan... "Another fool with a dystopian view"

And if you know me at all you know I will never give up hope.

But the best way to get on the right road is a real, honest evaluation of painful truth.

I hope you hang with me just a bit (might get worse before it gets better... but it is going to be OK).

OK- so WHY is this our fault? Because, as a whole... in our society:



  • SCREENS TELL US OUR TRUTH NOW.... NOT READING/MEDITATING/ ATTEMPTING TO APPLY GOD'S WORD TO OUR LIVES AND COMMUNITIES

  • OUR PERSONAL OPINIONS WILL NOT CHANGE IN THE LIGHT OF FACTS

  • OUR PERSONAL OPINIONS MATTER MORE THAN ANY OTHER AUTHORITY

  • FACTS ARE LOST IN A VAST OCEAN OF UNSUPPORTED TRUTH CLAIMS RETWEETED AD NAUSEUM OVER OUR SCREENS

  • LEISURE/CONVENIENCE IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN SOCIAL JUSTICE

  • ENTERTAINMENT HAS REPLACED WORSHIP AS OUR DEEPEST LONGING 



let me illustrate just one of these.....

WHY WIKI LEAKS BECAME WIKI FIREHOSE AND IN THE END, WAS LIKE POURING DASANI INTO A CESSPOOL.

I'm no fan of wikileaks... but wikileaks is what happens when elites decide that they can have two lives...personal and private.

I posted about this before.... right after Jesus condemns hypocrisy IN LUKE 12 he says:



I don't know Assange, Snowden, definitely don't know ANONYMOUS...  but I just can't help thinking their motives are just to upset the applecart... maybe anti-globalists... who knows?

I can't justify their morals... at the same time..what we have seen over the last few months and weeks is beyond disturbing... the attitudes and actions and deceit is shameful.

Now, before you go and call me a sour grapes republican who is just crying in my cheerios because Mrs. Clinton is going to win.... I'm just as disgusted with attitudes and actions in Trump.

No moral high ground here....... on either side... and I will say again.... in me as well.

BUT---- in the long run...does wiki-leaks matter?

If your Newsfeed is anything like mine it goes like this:

table for sale- 25 likes 2 comments

Meme with a crying' Michael- 600 likes and re-tweets

400 million cast sent to Iran- 1.5 k likes

fainting goats video- 3.8 K likes

a nasty virus disguised as my best friend' request for money who is trapped in Sri Lanka (skip)

my liberal friends latest- "I hate Trump" article from of 35 pro-liberal news feeds - 4 likes- 500 nasty replies

my conservative friends latest 'Lock up Hillary" rant from 45 pro-conservative news sites- 100 likes- 300 nasty replies written by 10 people (I am in Alabama)

Chuck Norris meme- 7.5 k likes

Bible verse- 35 likes

And I can go on and on

The counter to the Wiki-Leaks e-mails has been interesting to watch:

1) You get underlings to fall on their sword
2) You attack the illegal acquisition of such material
3) You question the accuracy
4) You just let it go away... as all social media posts do... lost in a sea of meme's and media

Regardless...... we have some mess here- the private opinions and actions of our elites do not match their public reality TV personas. And there is NO MORAL RESPONSE. We seem to have lost our ability to blush or act rightly from moral outrage.

OK- One more dark point before I turn on all the lights I can.....

The Federal Government looks nothing like the Constitution that it is supposed to be ruled under.
The Church looks nothing like the Bible that it is supposed to ruled under.

And my biggest fear is that we have a significant electorate that is unwilling to be ruled at all.

This is a net result of federal mandates that attempt to force what the federal government sees as universal imperatives for a very diverse people.

When I look at our massive, over regulating, over reaching over taxing, over spending Federal government - I get VERY CONCERNED.

My view of Government looks like this-  BOTH DEMOCRATS AND REPUBLICANS:

POTUS- picking some laws to enforce and some to ignore- and writing his (or her) rules along the way

SCOTUS- a laboratory to experiment with societal ethics based on legal philosophy, not law.

CONGRESS (I call VOTE-US) - the group that runs for power and raises money 365 days of the year but does NOTHING ELSE 

This next election will be the most challenging attack on the American Constitution that has ever happened. The problem is that the fundamentals of the Constituition rest on the amazing balance of power that is prescribed therein.

We are all mixed up.

Can any candidate we have now fix it? Is it fixable?

Quick election analysis and comment then some good news... I promise!

TRUMP- He might win. I know that sounds absolutely insane from some of you pro and against. If he does, it will be because social media has replaced traditional media as the primary info source of the American people. The only example you need to see the possibility is the Brexit vote. If he does win, he will look like a genius...tapping into populist anger and pulling in record ratings as a Jerry Springer gunslinger ready to 'drain the swamp'.

If he does.... the legitimacy of the election will be fought on every level imaginable. I have found it quite humorous regarding the outrage of the left because Trump has hinted to casting doubt of the election if he loses. Really? Outrage? It will be played by BOTH sides...I promise. My fear is that the Trump blowback has a big probability of being violent in some places. My guess is that he will have to call out martial law to settle the thing down which will only play into his negative reputation.

CLINTON- Likely winner in my opinion. The machine is wide spread and powerful. But she will have a hard time leading as well. I see potential, terrible acts of rebellion against her as well.

Wiki-leaks and Comey ended up damaging her as a leader (of course her actions as well).

Can I mention something about Comey?... he really hurt us.

I am in charge of discipline at my high school.

Let's say I walk through my lunchroom one day and right out in the middle of that crowded lunchroom a student stands up and says, in front of his peers, "Hey Jay, bring that bald head of yours over here and talk some football."

I am immediately facing a very difficult issue-

Had he kidded with me privately (or in a very small group)... I might have a chance to correct him... I might know that he really didn't mean to be disrespectful... I might say, "Hey Jimmy- I like you, but when you call me by my first name, it convey's disrespect...whether you meant it or not. Also, I am fine being bald, but to use a teacher or administrator as the butt of a joke can seem disrespectful as well. If you do it again, I might have to give you some tough consequences... I could do so now.. but this is me giving you some mercy, knowing that you likely won't do that again...let's talk some football...OK?" Let me be clear here... some would tell me that even then, I was not wise in holding back consequences, because it may NOT have helped Jimmy...it might enable him to do it again after he has forgotten that this is a big deal (respect for authority is a BIG deal). If he does it again, I have no choice but to give him MORE punishment because he has directly disobeyed a very clear instruction. Sometimes a little mercy can unintentionally lead to a worse consequence.

But, I have a problem.... he didn't do it privately... he did it in front of everybody. And now I have an unfortunate situation... to go 'light' on him now could send an unintended message that does not adequately dissuade that behavior in the future. (This is where I usually get two negative reactions... "You're making an example out of him" AND "A deterrent isn't as effective as you think it is"- my response is to the first - NO the vicarious experience of others is a secondary motivation.. not primary and to the second, deterrence beats no deterrence for most normal humans)

Back to Jimmy- as much as I don't want to, I'm going to have to have him come in my office, explain why he has to be punished whether he intended to be disrespectful or not. The rule of law has very sharp and sometimes cruel teeth.

When Comey gave Clinton a break, he made a judgment... but he is not a judge. He took it up, criticized her (and I think damaged her) and gave her a pass. I do worry about her intent anyway..not to break the law, but to keep her actions in secret.

Jimmy got a suspension, he will come back and we can talk football and there is still some control of the rule of law in my lunchroom.

Clinton got a pass.... And I think we will suffer for that one for years.

Both parties after this election will have to re-think how they ended up with such poor candidates.

In my opinion, had the no shows in the republican primaries stepped out earlier and whittled the field, there might be a better candidate.

And on the democratic side, someone had to at least try to derail the machine, like Obama did in '08, you would have a more legit leader.

In my opinion- Joe Webb would have beaten Trump in the largest landslide in U.S. history.
Rubio would equal that versus Clinton.


Ok- so this was way too long... here is the light....

God is good and He is in control. Period

Politics will never save us.... but Jesus has already made that possible.

I still love our country and will pray for her.

I will yield to my government... but I will be more active than ever in the things I believe. I have been way too passive. The constitution is a good document and the American experiment is worth fighting for.

I am also going to work hard to keep promoting 'Whatever is Worthy' campaigns... we have to throw off our bickering and strive for unity.

IMPORTANT HERE: I hope I show love, compassion, and true patience..hearing to ALL my social media 'friends' who completely disagree with me. You know who you are!

When the Apostle Paul wrote the following words... the world was in worse shape... believe me..

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:1-8 ESV)

I still believe... how about you?



Monday, October 10, 2016

Third Saturday- Orange and Crimson Memories


There is something really special about the Alabama-Tennessee football game, traditionally known as the 3rd Saturday of October ( yes, I know it isn’t ALWAYS that). This game fits into the pageantry of the fall- when the leaves turn color, they seem to display orange and crimson as decorations on this great event. A cool crisp autumn day with an azure sky helps make this as good as it gets in college football.

Now that the broadcast colors are so good- I think it would be cool to have both teams wear their home colors in a game one day.

I wanted to reflect on why this game is special to me.

Special History- Coach Bryant’s and David Cutcliffe’s Influence

Weren't these pictures corny?
When I got to Alabama in the Fall of ’82, I discovered quickly that Tennessee week was very important to Coach Bryant. Back then, it was a very classy rivalry. Coach Bryant had great reverence for General Neyland and spoke fondly of him on many occasions. Coach Bryant’s emphasis on special teams had a lot to do with General Neyland. I also came to learn that a football catch-phrase “Riverside” (used to tell the offense and defense to change directions and begin going the other way) came from Coach Neyland and was in reference to the Tennessee river that flowed next to the practice fields.




It was also in the Fall of ’82 that my connections to Tennessee began. As I went to Alabama, my high school coach, David Cutcliffe, took advantage of a risky opportunity to join Coach Fulmer’s staff in Knoxville. It wasn’t surprising to me when I learned that Coach Cutcliffe had been instrumental in helping with a game plan that allowed Tennessee to upset Alabama in Birmingham the next season.




This was a note Coach Cut sent me during his time at Tenn


When I started coaching in the fall of 1991, it was Coach Cutcliffe who took great interest and time to help me. From 1993 until 1998, I spent at least a week in Knoxville during either spring practice or summer camp and had the privilege of attending coaches meetings and watching hours of game film. Coach Cutcliffe began teaching me pass concepts and his staff helped me improve our offensive system and pass protections.


This is an awkward picture for my Bama fans
The staff and atmosphere in Knoxville during those years was full of energy and personal warmth. When you consider Coach Fulmer's and his staff in those days.. It is a true ‘who’s who’ in college coaching: John Chavis, David Cutcliffe, Randy Sanders, Woody McCorvey, Trooper Taylor, Dan Brooks, Pat Washington, and I also loved talking to Condredge Holloway.


It wasn’t long before my friends and family weren’t real happy with my appreciation of UT orange. I was working their camps, showing their cut-up videos to teach our offense, and was telling folks about being in meetings with Coach Cut and Peyton Manning.

And Tennessee was having its way with Alabama during that time.


I always found it interesting that we won our 1st state championship at Briarwood(1998 and 1999) about the time that UT won the National Championship in 1999. Coach Cut left for Ole Miss and my time in Knoxville was ending.


t wasn’t long after that that the rivalry turned bitter. I know some inside information about the Eric Locke recruiting saga that was the seeds of that anger. It was unfortunate that fans and talk shows spun that up and for a time, it was harder to tell who Alabama fans hated more… Auburn or UT.

Thrilling Games and Long Streaks

Any research on the series shows long streaks:

1971-1981- 11 straight by Alabama

1986-1994- 9 straight by the Tide

1995-2001- 7 straight by Tennessee

and currently, Alabama holds a 9 game streak going into this Saturday.
Who could ever forget the 1990 game in Knoxville when Tennessee was set to win it with a FG. It was a 6-6 tie with only 1:45 left. Alabama blocked the kick and the ball bounced in such a way, that it was Philip Doyle kicking Bama to the 9-6 win on a 48 yard FG as time expired.

Another memorable FG block in 2009 when Mt Cody saved the unbeaten Tide against the Vols coached by Lane Kiffin.



THE VICTORY CIGAR TRIVIA


In the 1950's, Coach Jim Goostree began the after game cigar.

It was not spoken about a lot during the early years because the NCAA has a ban on tobacco products

 Since, 2005, Alabama self-reports a violation to the NCAA of their tobacco ban if the Tide wins the game.



ANALYSIS OF THIS YEAR'S GAME

I have watched both teams as close as a TV fan can. I was really concerned about this game because of how tough Tennessee played in Tuscaloosa last year.

For some reason , UT hasn't been dominant- though their 'will to win' in unquestioned. They have fought back from big deficits all year.

I think the weakness in UT is their offensive line. And while the opponent's defensive line is fresh, UT struggles to move the ball.

I think the big comebacks are a result of good scheme adjustments, and the defenses getting fatigued as the games move on. I'm also still convinced that signal stealing is an unrecognized factor in SEC games.

For Tennessee to win, the Alabama offense will have to turn the ball over. Is there a game in the future where Jalen Hurts looks like a freshman QB? If it were to happen this week, the crowd noise and momentum could be huge.

WHY I PICK BAMA

I think Tennessee is a beat up team right now. I think their injuries and lack of depth puts them at a big disadvantage.

WHY I THINK IT DOESN'T MATTER

My boldest prediction is that this game is meaningless... I expect both of these teams to play again on December 3rd in Atlanta with the winner getting a bid to the playoffs.

As a fan, I'm hoping Alabama has to self-report TWO NCAA violations this year.


Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Unusual Passage for Unity- I Corinthians 8



Paul was inspired to address many issues as he wrote a letter to the believers in Corinth in A.D. 55. 

He was in Ephesus at the time, but his heart and prayers were on the struggles that were threatening the church he planted in a strategic city during his 2nd missionary journey.

The church was not flourishing.... it was floundering in a pagan culture and seemed full of problems.

In reading the two letters that Paul sent (and always wondering about a third one), it seems to me that Paul's greatest desire was for believers in Jesus with vastly different backgrounds to find unity within their diversity.

If somehow they found a common faith and common core and a common bond... they would be able to make it through the other important struggles of the day.

I find I Corinthians 8 to be an interesting study on principles of unity.

As we come to the beginning of these points, it is important to notice the lead-up....

'Called to be saints together"... 1:2

"I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment." 1:10

"I have applied all these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, brothers, that you may learn by us not to go beyond what is written, that none of you may be puffed up in favor of one against another."
4:8

"I say this (teachings on sexual immorality and marriage, contentment in the Lord) for your own benefit, not to lay any restraint upon you, but to promote good order and to secure your undivided devotion to the Lord." 7:35

So here we are in I Corinthians 8-

And Paul has been working through the issues.... division, pride, factions, theological disputes, sexual immorality (likely a common practice in pagan temples and trade guilds- part of career/social expectations) and now we come to idolatry and eating the meat that was sacrificed to pagan idols (and now available in the marketplace at a bargain price).

But the over-riding principle is a call to unity and the foundational truth that it requires:


Now concerning food offered to idols: 

Paul is doing double duty here.... Biblical thinking on a current issue, but having a goal of unity.

The general idea is.....  UNITY WITH DIVERSE CONVICTIONS

A LACK OF UNITY IS, ULTIMATELY, A LACK OF HUMILITY
we know that “all of us possess knowledge.” This “knowledge” puffs up, but love builds up. If anyone imagines that he knows something, he does not yet know as he ought to know.

As he did earlier in the letter, Paul sees the root of divisions as pride. And the quickest cure is a self-killing embrace of humility.


UNITY IS MOTIVATED BY LOVE

But if anyone loves God, he is known by God. 

Humility and love go hand in hand. And without love, we cannot know God because He is love (I John 4:7,8).

UNITY REQUIRES TRUTH.... BUT SOMETIMES WE HAVE TO SWALLOW IT

Therefore, as to the eating of food offered to idols, we know that “an idol has no real existence,” and that “there is no God but one.” For although there may be so-called gods in heaven or on earth—as indeed there are many “gods” and many “lords”—yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist. 

UNITY REQUIRES PATIENCE - WAIT FOR MATURITY

However, not all possess this knowledge. 

The ultimate truth... if all idols are false gods and not real... there is no real issue here. This meat is neutral... BUT JUST BECAUSE THIS IS TRUE does not mean that some at Corinth had learned that truth....



UNITY WITHOUT A VIOLATION OF CONSCIENCE
But some, through former association with idols, eat food as really offered to an idol, and their conscience, being weak, is defiled. Food will not commend us to God. We are no worse off if we do not eat, and no better off if we do. But take care that this right of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak.


UNITY WITHOUT CONDEMNATION


For if anyone sees you who have knowledge eating in an idol's temple, will he not be encouraged, if his conscience is weak, to eat food offered to idols? And so by your knowledge this weak person is destroyed, the brother for whom Christ died. Thus, sinning against your brothers and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ.

UNITY BECAUSE I SURRENDER MY RIGHTS FOR THE SAKE OF OTHERS AND THE SAKE OF CHRIST

Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble.

WHERE DOES THIS LEAD?

As Corinthians moves on- Paul keeps these principles in mind as he continues to warn against sinful attitudes and practices.

Ultimately, he leads to a higher way... a higher law.. a law of love. One that should carry us all to eternity.

These principles do not change in the 2nd letter to the Corinthians, but the tone is more joyful. The 1st letter is harsh but the 2nd one seems to indicate that the discipline was fruitful.

APPLICATIONS AND QUESTIONS FOR US IN THE 21ST CENTURY

  • Do I desire unity? Does it mean enough to us that I would be willing to give up my rights for the sake of the gospel and for others?

  • Am I willing to be patient and not offend the immature believer until the Lord grows them up a little?

  • What is my attitude toward others who do not agree with me?

WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IN OUR CULTURE IF THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST WORKED FOR, LONGED FOR, AND PRAYED FOR A SPIRIT OF UNITY IN HUMILITY AND LOVE?




Thursday, September 15, 2016

Whatever is Worthy Day- April 8

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. - Philippians 4:8


Dear Friends,


We live in a day where almost every day is national (something) day. I’m not sure who decides those things… But I AM ASKING A HUGE FAVOR!


I want as many people who would consider doing so- join me in making April 8 (4/8) as Global ‘Whatever is Worthy Day".


I want the only inspiration to be one of Paul’s final exhortations to the Church in Philippi as he found even good aspects of his imprisonment in a Roman prison.


What do we do on April 8th?


We want to saturate the World Wide Web, social media, the radio waves, the television news and entertainment world, the world of art and sports and business… With stories that lift up things that are true…. honorable...just...pure...lovely...commendable….highlighting excellence...proclaiming things that are worthy of praise.


Here are the requests/principles


  1. Not everyone will participate and some will use the opportunity to do the opposite….. And the first way we ‘win the day’ is to not return or respond in kind. This is not a time for trolling...this is a day of grace.
  2. Plan ahead- think about ways you can do this all day! From Midnight to 11:59 PM in every time zone. We have plenty of time and energy to deal with issues and pain and negativity… But I want you to consider how to minister to people who are in pain. Turn a mess into a miracle.
  3. Please be authentic. The only thing you may be able to do is to try to think about these things. The worst thing we could do would be to REQUIRE anything. Let’s agree that we are not going to accuse or condemn any perceived lack of enthusiasm or participation.
  4. Sure- we should be like this ALL the time...but is there any problem to find a day to dwell on goodness, mercy, and grace.
  5. I have no idea how this will go…. But I'd one person is encouraged by this beautiful verse of Scripture… I will consider it a joy to try.


Ideas?


A website? I did create a facebook page …. https://www.facebook.com/worthyApril8/


A place to post testimonies or stories from the day?


National Empanada Day is April 8- a food holiday and national all is ours day.. These are positive days… I think we are still good… Celebrate!


What is April 8 is a poignant day of sadness for you? Even more so to ‘think’ on ‘whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise’


Suggestions?
Love-serve-forgive- intentional acts of mercy and kindness- write a note of encouragement- say ‘thank-you’ to all who serve you…..
Eat a meal with joy… Write a list of blessings… It is endless…...


So…. Re-tweet- share- pray……

This year. April 8, 2017 will be on a Saturday….. Let’s get the ball rolling.

Thursday, September 08, 2016

The Voltron Force- 30 years Ago- Part 3- The Rise Of Voltron

There was no question that we were going to do the team again in 1986.

To be honest, it was refreshing to get back to just playing for fun... almost like being a kid again.

I think most innocent fun is best when there is a child-like quality to it. And speaking of 'child fun', it was about that time we got hooked on a cartoon called 'The Voltron Force'. For a few years it was 'General Hospital' and "Late Night with Letterman'.... but the new show (along with Miami Vice) was Voltron... and we grabbed a chance to watch it every time it came on.

So when we registered the team... we had new colors and a new identity... The Walk-offs 2.0 was now "The Voltron Force'.

We actually had team jerseys (t-shirts) with a Voltron Print on the front.



SNOPES: TRUTH! VOLTRON ENERGY IMPACT ON THE  REAL FOOTBALL TEAM

Ray Perkins' 1985 season was successful... the Van Tiffin kick against Auburn and fun Aloha Bowl win over USC had people feeling good. Few would have predicted that 1986 season would be Coach Perkins' last at the helm.

Despite denying rumors to the contrary... Coach Perkins resigned on December 31 to take over at Tampa Bay. Bill Curry would be the head coach at the start of the 1987 season.

So this is going to be doubted... but the fun and draw of the Voltron Force was putting serious pressure to keep even some scholarship players from joining us. Some of it was the leftover feelings from some of the old Coach Bryant players that they had been shunned in favor of the new Coach Perkins recruits.

One of our Voltron players (name withheld for protection) could do an amazing Coach Perkins imitation. He would entertain Bryant Hall for hours with his Perkins mannerisms and quotes. (Example: Coach Perkins said the word 'great' ALL the time.. one time we counted 73 greats in a 30 minute Ray Perkins TV show.)

The most common routine was this (Voltron Force) player standing in front of Alabama players doing a hilarious Ray Perkins imitation. His final line was..."Men, as far as this rumor about me going to Tampa Bay.. my feet are in concrete." To which a current player would blurt out.. 'WELL THROW HIM IN THE RIVER!".

This became such a hit because a player ACTUALLY said it in the back of the meeting room after Coach Perkins said that quote.

I will only say this... I personally counseled a couple of 'quality playing time players' that they would be glad years down the road that they stayed in the Crimson uniforms instead of trading them for a Voltron Force jersey.

VOLTRON FORCE EXPONENTIAL GROWTH


Once the word got out that we were re-doing the team and naming it the Voltron Force... our  roster exploded with quality athletes. Former Huffman HS Viking QB Bart Knight left the football squad to add blazing speed to the Voltron Force secondary.

Before we officially registered the team, we had several former Tide players and some quality high school stars on the roster.

2nd BIGGEST MISTAKE I MADE

Ok- here is where it gets crazy.

I was working on the new playbook one night when my girlfriend (now my wife and best friend of 28 years) came and asked me if I would also coach the Phi Mu sorority football team.

She said they were desperate.. and like a fool.. I said yes. I told her I would practice with them on Sundays... have their games on Thursdays and the Voltron games were on Tuesdays for the most part.

What was I thinking?

For a while- it was incredible.

As soon as my friends found out I was coaching a sorority football team, I had 15 volunteers to be assistant coaches. I had an offensive coordinator, a defensive coordinator, a special teams coach and 12 other guys who showed up to practice to help!

But our season was quickly turned into a disaster...

Our very first game, my girlfriend was pancaked on our sideline by a huge Pi (Beta) Phi beast- she hit her head on a rock as she fell.

In one of those "there's no crying in baseball" moments- I ran to her and raised my voice....

"NO ONE ON MY FOOTBALL TEAM IS GOING TO LAY DOWN AND CRY!"

She sat up and gave it right back to me... "WELL GUESS WHAT... I'M NOT ON YOUR TEAM... I QUIT!!!"  and she did.

We were skunked and destroyed.... as I walked back into my room my phone rang.

It was the discipline chairman of Phi Mu... she called to inform me that my offensive coordinator had 'dated' at least 5 members of the team in a week's time.

So my girlfriend quit, we lost, and I fired one of my coaches in about a 4 hour period.

The team disbanded and we did not finish the season.

THE VOLTRON JERSEY

not the real jersey
Lee Clements showed us the jersey.. it had a Voltron picture on the front and had Voltron Force and our numbers on the back.

We can't remember why.. but for some reason, we couldn't get the front of the jersey done right away.. so we played the first part of the season with a blank front of the jersey. We finally got the picture on the front right before our last game... and to this day... we consider that to be the Omen that cast the winds of fortune against us!

But our jerseys were cool. When we walked on the field... most of the games were already decided.

THE BIGGEST MISTAKE I MADE

We rolled through the regular season without breaking a sweat. We had size, speed, and depth.

Mike Graham, an amazing receiver and athlete from Bayou La Batre, AL was unstoppable and we had good talent around him.

It was now time to play once again, for the campus championship versus the fraternity champion.

And based on protest work we did in the off season- the Law School was not going to be in the mix.

Our last few games, I noticed we were being scouted... and in our pride- we did not scout in return.

We went into the championship happy, fat, lazy, and cocky.

It was a nip and tuck back and forth game.

I hit Mike Graham early on a wheel route and we seemed to be rolling.

But the machine team answered every score with a score.

They were running a GREAT defense.. it was a hustling, disciplined underneath zone that made it hard for me to squeeze in some throws.

I threw an interception in the 3rd quarter... my first one of the season.

Our defense held and we were holding a slim lead into the 4th quarter.

That is when I made the worst coaching decision of my life......

We had the lead with just a few minutes left to play... and we were facing a 4th and 12.

The rules called for a team to declare on 4th down whether they would 'go for it' or 'punt'- which was an automatic 35 yard run-off.

And like an idiot- I elected us to go for it.

I called a roll-out pass with Mike Graham running a comeback at the chains.

I rolled, he cut, I threw, and it was wide.... out of bounds.

The other crowd erupted like they had won the super bowl.

Our defense came out a little dejected and the frat team scored almost immediately.

We got the ball back with very little time and... on 1st and 10 I threw my 2nd pick of the game... it was an amazing diving catch by their Strong Safety who had given me fits the entire game.

All they had to do now was run out the clock.

They snapped the ball.. the Qb held it and, instead of taking a knee, let Chris Lomabardo pull his flag.

Chris Lombardo called a time out and I saw the guys huddle.

FINDING A WAY TO WIN


The next play will go down in lore and legend.

The next play.... with just a few seconds left on the game clock...

The center snapped the ball and Chris slowly walked up.. and non-chalantly went to pull the flag.. BUT instead of pulling the flag, he tipped the football out of the Qb's arms into his arms and ran down the sideline FOR A TOUCH DOWN!!!!

I COULDN'T BELIEVE IT! We just won the game......

until the officials conferred....

and though there was no rule in the rule book... decided at that moment... that Chris had done an illegal play...

MACHINE WINS

THUS WAS THE END OF THE VOLTRON FORCE......


Mike Graham on the kick


My football playing days were officially done.

And that my friends all happened 30 years ago.... this fall.



PLEASE HELP ME COMPLETE THE VOLTRON FORCE/WALK-OFF ROSTER:

Jay Mathews
Lee Clements
Ricky Colbert
Chris Lombardo
Mike Graham
Thom Whitley
Mike O'Toole
Larry Strain
Charlie Eddy
David Lee Smith
Jim Hill
Bart Knight
Richard Woods
David Dean
Andrew Boyd