The Next Dude Perfect

Dude Perfect, have you seen this kid? (HT: Kevin DeYoung)

If you aren’t aware of Dude Perfect…


Amazing Punt Return and Pitch to Win the Game

Roughing the punter should have been called.  And perhaps the refs shouldn’t have shoved a protesting coach off the field (0:45 mark).

Life Theology

Biggest Out of Context Pet Peeve #2: Philippians 4:13

You’ve heard or seen it a thousands times. Usually in nine hundred and ninety seven of those thousand, it somehow relates to winning the tee ball MVP or Pop Warner championship trophy. Brace yourself.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Football players put the reference (Phil 4:13) on their eye black or arm bands.  Players quote it in the locker room after the game.  Fans paint it on poster board for ESPN cameras to see.

Can I be honest about something here? There are two things God cannot do: he cannot sin and he cannot make James Pruch a professional athlete. It cannot be done. It would not be good for TV ratings, nor would it be beneficial to my self-esteem.  No matter how hard I try and no matter how much I trust God for “strength,” I will never dunk over Lebron or go deep on Cliff Lee or outrun Brian Urlacher. Never. Ever.

During one sermon, Matt Chandler told his congregation why he chose to teach through Philippians for a short series he was asked to record on DVD.  He said, “One reason I chose Philippians was simply to preach that 4:13 has nothing to do with sports.”

Amen, Matt. Amen.

(If you want to find out what Philippians 4:13 is all about, I’ll save you my commentary and let you read it for yourself, in full context, here. It will only take you about 3 minutes. And if you come away thinking Jesus is gonna help your kid be all-whatever next year, read it again.)


How the Texas Longhorns Taught Me About Life

Sports can be awful for spiritual development.  But they can be beneficial (and fun!) if you enjoy them in perspective. They have the potential of being especially sanctifying for a young man who lives and dies with his team, for God uses sports to humble and teach. Anyone who has played golf knows this.

The video highlights below are of two different football games between Nebraska and Texas.  The first is from 1996. Sorry that there are actually no Nebraska highlights! Nebraska lost that game, and I about lost my religion. James Brown (no, not that James Brown) broke my heart on 4th and inches, with his infamous “roll left” for a 61-yard gain.

You see, I was spoiled.  Nebraska had lost a total of two games from the beginning of the ’93 season to that fateful December day in ’96.  Two.  I didn’t know what losing was when it came to being a Husker football fan.  This game against Texas rocked my 12 year-old world.  But thankfully, God used this game to teach me a valuable lesson. I distinctly remember my dad telling me something I will never forget. He looked me in my tear-stained eyes and said, “James, you can never put your hope in people. If you do, they will always let you down.”

The second video is from 1998. We (Nebraska) lost that one, too. Ricky Williams and Major Applewhite chewed up my Husker heart. Then they spit it out and stomped on it. I don’t remember how I reacted initially, but what I do remember was that it was Halloween. After the game, I dressed up, grabbed my plastic bag and headed out to divide and conquer the neighborhood. I came back with record-breaking candy poundage. I’d like to think my dad’s wise words were somewhere in the back of my head that night, helping me put life in perspective (because Halloween candy is so much more important than football).

This week Nebraska plays Texas again. I will enjoy watching the game, and I hope the Huskers come out on top. But if they don’t, my weekend won’t be ruined.  Sports are fun, but they aren’t life. Jesus is life, and when you finally realize that, things like 4th and inches won’t break your heart. Dad, thanks for teaching me that.

1996, Texas vs. Nebraska, Big 12 Championship Game, St. Louis, Missouri (click here to watch highlights)

1998, Texas vs. Nebraska, Lincoln, Nebraska


Maybe we should treat all our sports like the World Cup?

In America, we live and die with our sports. On any given Saturday in the fall, if the Nebraska football team loses, chances are you might find a grown man in Omaha weeping on his living room couch. If not, at least you won’t be able to talk to him until Tuesday afternoon. And so it goes with our Big 3: football, baseball, basketball.

But it’s not that way with our beloved American soccer team in the World Cup, is it?  This version of the Dream Team has American on the edge of its seat to be sure. Just this week, the US went from near elimination to winning its group and advancing to the knockout round in the first moments of extra time against Algeria. I went crazy when I “saw” the goal on ESPN’s GameCast at work. The media and the lay-soccer fan has fallen head-over-heels for them.  But what do you think this nation’s reaction would have been had Donavon not knocked in that rebounded shot? I think it would have went something like this:

Oh well. What else is on now?

Of course, not everyone would reacted that way (i.e. die-hard soccer fans like my friend Andrew, who was at the game). But most of you, if you like sports, though not soccer specifically, yet love America, would have said just that.  A sports radio talk show host said it best this week: “There’s something healthy to that kind of reaction.”

Indeed there is.  Hmmm…I wonder why?

(Note: This is in no way a knock against soccer. I think it’s foolish to jeer a sport simply because you don’t know the rules — or because your country isn’t a superpower when they compete! )