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Category Archives: Texas High School Football

Grace, Freedom and the NFL

Boy, what a firestorm! The tension and controversy in America has reached a fever pitch over the last few years to where we have arrived at today. Not long ago it was just 49’ers  (ex) quarterback Colin Kaepernick (still doesn’t have a job) who intentionally thrust himself into controversy by refusing to stand for the playing of the National Anthem in protest of what he deemed to be wrongdoings against African Americans and minorities in the United States. Well, it’s a free country….and I don’t argue the subject of free speech. But, what we do with that freedom is an entirely different topic that oftentimes reveals the character of those who might use, or misuse it.

You may wonder about the above title and question how grace, freedom and these protests could be connected. I think, in principle, they’re very connected. Let me explain; Grace is an extremely important Biblical subject. It’s a wonderful thing! But it’s also one of the more controversial topics in the church today. It’s controversial mostly because it has been miscommunicated, ….and therefore misunderstood, ….and when all that happens it can easily be misappropriated. (used in an unwise manner)

Paul, in one of his letters, said it this way, “Brothers and sisters you have been called to liberty (freedom), but don’t use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh”. More clearly put, don’t use your freedom as an excuse to sin. It’s only the unwise, or maybe innocently by the immature, who would accept God’s perfect gift of grace and then use it as an excuse to sin. That would be an undeniable, gross misuse of grace! That’s where I see grace, freedom and these NFL protests intersecting.

The freedom that we enjoy in America is like none other in the entire world. It’s a freedom that has come at an extremely costly price. Hundreds of thousands of Americans have given their lives on the battlefield, here and around the world, in the name of freedom. I appreciate that; I’m grateful for it and it’s something that I would never, ever take lightly. So, it only makes sense to me to use that freedom in a wise, mature and conscientious manner. Everybody doesn’t agree….and that’s OK. But my opinion is that those who choose to dishonor the national anthem and the flag, are thus dishonoring the nation and those whose lives were sacrificed for our freedom. It appears to be a very immature, arrogant and unwise use of something so precious….and that cost so many, …..so much.

The NFL has some unbelievable athletes; best in the world for their God-given talent and abilities. But many of these young men have been coddled, babied and catered to since they were old enough to be involved in organized team sports. It’s a historical fact that many of these athletes making millions today won’t have any of it left after their careers are over. And, if the old adage rings true that “we all have 15 minutes of fame”, it’s a crying shame that these boys are using theirs’ this way. They’re influencing another generation of little boys in a very adverse, and negative way. I wouldn’t want that on my resume’!

Someone will probably cry, “racism”; But, c’mon …..give us a break! It’s not that. It’s called patriotism, …..and it’s makin’ a comeback!

“All things are lawful, but not all things edify; all things are lawful, but not all are helpful” – Paul

The way you handle grace….and freedom will tell the world just how deep your character actually is. 

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“Loosen Up, Sandy Baby!”

“I Don’t Know How We’re Gonna Win….I Just Know We’re Going To!”

Life’s Like Football, It’s a Game of Inches

It Takes a Village to go Back to Back…..to Back to Back!

 

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“I Don’t Know How We’re Gonna Win….I Just Know We’re Going To!”

That’s the words that Dabo Swinney told his Clemson players at halftime of the NCAA Football National Championship in Tampa Monday night. Alabama, on a 27-0 run over the last couple of years, was the favorite pick by the oddsmakers. There were a lot of people who were pulling for Clemson but I don’t think many were willing to bet much on the game. The Crimson Tide has just been too tough. They’re athletic, big, strong, fast, intimidating and very well coached. Nobody has given them much of a scare for a couple of years. The closest anyone has come to beating Alabama came exactly a year ago also in the NCAA Championship by…..none other than the Clemson Tigers.

But the underdog Clemson Tigers believed! That’s what happens when  a coach,….and I’m sure an entire coaching staff, fosters confidence and a winning attitude. People want to follow a leader who thinks he’s going to win! They’ll follow someone who’s not afraid or intimidated by the conditions at hand; Someone who doesn’t cut and run when chips are down….or when the tide (no pun intended) is against them.

There’s a need for great leaders in the body of Christ now more than at any other time in history of the world. But it almost seems like there’s a vacuum; a fear or timidity to ‘stand up’ and really lead. The world is longing for those who’ll defy the odds, go against the traditional religious grain, ….if they must….and empower the multitudes to take their place in the greatest move of God the planet might ever see!

Somebody needs to stand up in the midst of the adverse conditions we’re faced with today and declare, “We’re gonna win…..I don’t know how we’re gonna do it….but I just know we’re going to!”

Oh, and Dabo’s Clemson Tigers…..they did what he said they would…in a dramatic 35-31 comeback victory….scoring the winning touchdown with 1 second left on the clock!

Some more football blogs:

All-Time Favorite Sports Franchise – Canadian, Texas Wildcats

Gun Fightin’, Pool Shootin’…and Bull Ridin’! …….and I Guess, Now, High School Football!

It Takes a Village to go Back to Back…..to Back to Back!

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Life’s Like Football, It’s a Game of Inches

I was watching a high-school football playoff game a week or two back. It was a very close game involving two really good teams. It caused me to remember what I hear sportscasters, even sports fans, say about football often; “It’s a game of inches”. There was no less than half a dozen times during that game that the ‘game of inches’ concept came into play. A couple of critical fourth down measurements when in one instance the team gained the first down by maybe three inches; another time late in the game deep in the other team’s territory the measurement on a fourth and one….was short by less than six inches and kept the team from a possible touchdown. Another time a wide receiver caught a pass in the back of the end zone with one foot down in play….but only by, maybe two inches. Those close calls were critical in the overall outcome of the game. Football really is a ‘game of inches’.

It started me thinking along the lines of how life can be much like football, in that respect, …..a game of inches. For instance, when we ‘give’ our life to the Lord something truly miraculous, and supernatural, happens. There has been a literal transformation in the deepest, eternal part of us….our spirit. But that transformation takes the rest of our lives to fully manifest. We begin to think differently about nearly everything. And those thoughts, hopefully tempered by the Holy Spirit, lead us to begin reasoning, acting and behaving differently, as well. Most of the time it’s not a huge behavior swing (could be, though!), but more so just a step at a time. You know,……. incremental change. A game of inches! But over the long haul it’s truly an amazing transformation.

It can work in the negative as well. For instance a marriage doesn’t get bad in a moment. More than likely there has been a lot of little things over a long period of time that have steadily eroded the relationship. It’s a game of inches. But, in the same respect, when a couple can agree to start to really work on their marriage it can start to turn around. It’s not a perfect science but a good rule of thumb, I think, to expect the marriage to get good again in about the same distance of time that it took to get bad. That might be years. But the amazing thing is, and I see this all the time, as soon as the relationship starts to move in the right direction both parties immediately begin to feel better about it. It’s a game of inches! I could give a dozen more examples but you get the picture.

Take yourself for instance; we’re often silently disappointed in ourselves because we aren’t growing in the Lord at the pace we think we should. I’d like to encourage you to ‘not’ get frustrated about that.

Relax a little, enjoy the journey and remember….it’s a game of inches!

Try these:

The Silver Bullet Lounge

You Got to Me Too Late!

The Thing About Unconditional Love

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It Takes a Village to go Back to Back…..to Back to Back!

Never before in the history of the UIL, (the University Scholastic League is the organization that creates rules for and administers almost all athletic, music, and academic contests for public primary and secondary schools in the state of Texas. It is the largest organization of its type in the world.) has any Texas high school’s athletic teams won back to back State Championship Titles in two separate sports. Never before, that is, until this past weekend in San Antonio when the Canadian Wildcats  won their second consecutive State 2-A Championship in basketball…..to go along with their two consecutive State Championships in football!

Consider the fact that every public school in the state of Texas competing in a variety of sports for no less than 106 years….this feat has not been accomplished. A few others came close, but just couldn’t close the deal. Understandable!!

■ Dumas: Class 3A 1961-62
■ Duncanville: Class 5A 1990-91
■ Southlake Carroll: Class 3A 1992-93
■ Everman: Class 3A 2002-03
■ Cayuga: Class 1A 2009-10
■ Idalou: Class 2A 2010-11

Last year when Canadian won their State Championship in football, and then followed that with their basketball championship, they became only the 7th team in 105 years to accomplish that feat. In the past two years they have amassed a 24-0 (Football & basketball combined!) playoff record on the way to their titles. 

The highly regarded Harris Ratings System that has been ranking every football team in Texas since 1963, tagged the 2015 Canadian team as the greatest in small school football history. In sharp contrast their basketball team got off to somewhat of a slow start this season losing two games to district rival Stratford. But they peaked at just the right moment to do what’s never been done before!

“It Takes a Village”, a book written by a certain current presidential candidate, focuses on the impact individuals, and groups outside the family have, for better or worse, on a child’s well-being, and advocates a society which meets all of a child’s needs. And while I disagree with the book’s premise that a ‘village’, or community, has more of a responsibility to raise up a child than a family (totally disagree!). I would agree that in the case of the Canadian Wildcats….it has literally taken a village to produce this amazing group of young men!

Canadian has been behind their young people (not just the athletes) maybe more than any town I’ve ever seen. That didn’t recently just start happening….It’s been going on for awhile! And while it takes a high-level of athleticism to accomplish what they’ve accomplished….it can’t do anything but help when you know you’re not just competing for a trophy….but an entire community.

I’ve written a couple other blogs about the Wildcats and each time I’ve deliberately left out the names of individuals who are the ‘standout’ athletes in terms of yards gained, or points made. I’m stickin’ with that here, too. You can look ’em up and make them heroes if you want to. Nothing wrong with that, in fact. But in my opinion, if you’re going to start recognizing individuals….you’re going to have to recognize several thousand who have had a profound effect on the success of these teams. 

So, I’m congratulating the whole Village! The athletes, of course, coaches, all the support staff, but also parents, grandparents, pastors, churches, school board, school administration, teachers, student body, merchants….and an innumerable number of fans, many of which don’t live in Canadian and never even went to school there!

The whole ‘Village’ has made an incredible investment in these teams,(if nothing more than their sheer support)…..to the degree that we all consider them “Our Team”

Click here to read Amarillo Globe News Report

You’ll want to check out my other blogs @ the Wildcats, too:

Fist Fightin’, Pool Shootin’, Gun Fightin’…and Bull Ridin’! …….and I Guess, Now, High School Football!

All-Time Favorite Sports Franchise – Canadian, Texas Wildcats

Canadian Wildcat Update

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Canadian Wildcat Update

*If you didn’t read yesterday’s post, “All-Time Favorite Sports Franchise”,….do it now!

If you did read yesterday’s post you’re probably wondering how the Canadian Wildcats fared in Friday night’s game in Wichita Falls, Texas against undefeated Crawford in the Class 2-A State Semi-Finals. The Wildcats came in a 24 pt. favorite and….you think, “How can you be this deep in this, extremely competitive, state championship race, against yet another undefeated team and be favored by that much?”. Well, again, they proved to me that maybe, just maybe they really are good enough to be ranked #2 in the nation! *(In the playoffs Canadian has outscored opponents in the first half, 214-8!!) The game was ‘virtually’ over at the end of the first quarter! (21-0) Final Score – 61-14! *Click here for game recap….or a Panhandle perspective, here.

It’s obvious that this is a team on a mission, with one thing in mind, and that’s to be the ‘repeat’ Texas 2-A State Champs! They’ll line up against a really tough Refugio team next Thursday at 10 am in Houston’s NRG Arena. It oughta be a great game. I’ll be there if at all possible. You can catch the game “LIVE” on FOXSW. Check ’em out….it could be a long, long time before you get to see another team like this one!

*Oh yeah, I almost forgot; in my opinion the ‘Game Ball’ goes to: 1) The Players, of course! Unbelievable game! 2) The Coaching Staff! Flawless! 3) The Parents! Incredible Support! 4) Canadian School Administration and Faculty! Un-doable without you! 5) The Student Body! Always doing your part, and more! 6) The entire city of Canadian, Texas! Best I’ve ever seen in getting behind a team! 7) And then all the other fans, like me, from all over who consider the Wildcats….Our Team!!

#ALLIN

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All-Time Favorite Sports Franchise – Canadian, Texas Wildcats

I guess I’m like most American males, I like sports. Something about the competition that appeals to me. On a personal note, I’m a very competitive person. I have learned over time to kind of keep it in check, if you know what I mean. And, with what I do now….there’s just not much room for competition.

I like a lot of different sports; college football and basketball (in fact college basketball is the only sport that it doesn’t really matter who’s playing…I can watch, enjoy and really ‘get into’ the game). I watch the NBA quite a bit more now since the OKC Thunder are in town. Down through the years I’ve been a fan of: The Minnesota Vikings during the ‘Purple Gang’ era; the LA Lakers when Magic and James Worthy were there; Celtics in their glory days with Bird, McHale, Ainge and others. I’ve been an OU Football and Dallas Cowboy fan forever…..but they’ve both broke my heart so many times, it don’t even hurt anymore. lol; Anytime my kids or grandkids are competing, and it doesn’t matter what sport it is, I’m all in! I enjoy that, sports wise, as much as anything.

But when I think of my favorite team to watch, (‘franchise’ might be too strong a word for HS Football) and especially at this time of year, it’s an easy choice…it’s the Canadian, Texas Wildcats Football Team. If you’re not familiar with Canadian, it’s up in the Texas Panhandle. It’s a small ranching/oilfield town. I was born in Canadian and lived in Hemphill County for 25 years. Some of my good friends have sons and grandsons playing on the team. And the team,….well it’s just about the funnest team to watch of any team, any sport, any era that I’ve ever seen. I make a regular season game or two each year and I’ve rarely missed a playoff game in the last 6 or 7 years. The Wildcats are the current 2A State Champs (basketball, too!). They’ve been ranked #1 statewide all year long and ranked #2 nationally! This season’s games have been lopsided and the starters have rarely been on the field in the 2nd half. And this is in one of the toughest districts in all of Texas with at least 4 State Champs in the past 5-6 years. (Canadian-2; Stratford-1; Wellington-1) They have overwhelmed State Ranked 3-A and 4-A teams this year as well. Example: The Texas State 2-A Game of the Week pitted #1 Canadian against #5 Albany (Runner-up State Champs last season and playing in Semi-Finals again this year!) Canadian won that game 49-0, and Albany never advanced the ball beyond the 50 yd line! They’re currently on a 29-0 run and will play Crawford  (click for info) in Wichita Falls Friday night in the State Semi-Finals. They’re a 24 pt favorite!

There are plenty of individual stars to talk about on the team (several being recruited by D-1 NCAA Teams)  but even they would be quick to tell you, “It’s not about them”. It’s the best ‘actual team effort’, any sport, that I’ve ever witnessed. As you’d guess, they’re extremely well-coached but there’s more to it than that. When I say, ‘team effort’, I don’t just think about the players and coaching staff, I think about the whole town! I’ve never seen a town get behind a team like Canadian has over the past 10-12 years. Canadian will consistently have more fans in the stands on an ‘away’ game than the other team. In their most recent playoff game with district rival, Stratford, in Amarillo…there were 6000-8000 fans in the stands. (Canadian Population: 2937; Stratford: 2073!) This is a high-school program that might just be among the very best in the nation. A program that’s produced an All Big-12 First Team & Sports Illustrated Honorable Mention All-American, Auston English, and currently has alumni in starting positions at Army, Ryan Alexander; and at Missouri, Taylor Chappel, along with several others at smaller institutions. And it’s not just another high school focused on sports they’re way toward the top when it comes to academics with at least one student accepted at Harvard.

As fun as it is to have a team like the Wildcats to cheer for, it’d be diminished in my opinion if there wasn’t a high premium placed on character. It appears they’ve done a great job in emphasizing that, too! So, you can kind of see why I like the Wildcats. You’d like ’em too if you get the chance to watch them play. But, you better hurry….they play Friday night in Wichita Falls….and then hopefully in Houston for the State Championship next Thursday.  #ALLIN

*Check this one out, too:

Tee-Ball…..The #1, Undisputed, Very Best Team Sport of ‘Em All!!

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