Sports

Leave College Football In the Hands of Barry Switzer

Growing up Saturdays in the fall meant Dad and Mom would go to the University of Oklahoma football games. They had end zone seats – the South I think. Occasionally one of us got to tag along. After Patty and I began to date, we attended a game together. The parking was crazy.

Barry Switzer was the coach, The Coach. He and my Dad are the same age.Barry was an athlete at the University of Arkansas and my Dad at the University of Oklahoma. Switzer played football. Dad wrestled. That may be as far as the parallels go except they both share and interest in helping people. Still do. Barry’s generosity landed him in hot water from time to time as he may have helped out a player or two in ways that violated the NCAA rules.

Today I wonder about the Joe Paterno quote that infuriated we Sooner fans those years ago. Read More

Super Bowl – An Alternative Opportunity for Churches in the DFW Metro

The Snowpalooza forced me to read up on news and happenings via a few iPad apps (USA Today, Huffington Post, NPR). I do not blame our paper carrier for not getting out to deliver this morning. I just wished that when the weather is perfect for delivery better efforts would be made to get the paper to the house. I am thinking of dropping the subscription.

And, uur local television stations believe we are willing to sit in front of the tele watching their employees tempt frostbite to tell us what we already know. One – it is cold. Two – traveling should be avoided. Three – it is snowing. Past that, it makes little sense to give us a variety of “cam” shots around the state testifying to what is readily confirmed looking out the window.

One of the articles I read led me to thinking about an alternative opportunity for churches in the DFW Metro when the Super Bowl comes to town next week. Read More

A Second Pair of Starbury’s

Almost a year and a half ago I read an article about Stephan Marbury and his shoe the Starbury. A month later I bought my first pair of Starbury’s for $14.98. Nearly every Friday I play with a group of guys. Initially the look on a few faces betrayed the typical, “I like your new shoes.” Understand I can afford Nike, Addidas or any other name brand shoe designed for basketball. But, when an NBA star undertakes to assist poorer families by providing a shoe he is willing to wear while playing the grueling schedule of the NBA, the issue becomes more than a matter of between brands.

For many in a status oriented culture the shoes make the player. You could say in this case the player makes the shoe. Stephan Marbury reportedly recalled the strain on families to not only put food on the table but buy the latest name brand shoe to hit the hardwood. Single mothers were especially stressed wanting to provide the latest kicks for their children.

How we spend our money does indicate what is important to us. Now I love to play basketball. Despite a cervical fusion at C5-C6, I still make it up and down the court quite well. I may not be the most adept scorer but I am no slouch on the defensive end of the court and love to rebound as well. I love shoes. I am not in the running for the Amelda Marcos award for best shoe wardrobe or anything, but I do like shoes. I do like good basketball shoes.

A couple of weeks ago I laced up my original pair of Starburys only to discover I had worn them smooth out. Nostalgically I played my last pick games with them on. Once home I retired them to the garbage bin. There was no question about what shoes I would buy. I headed over to Steve and Barry’s at Crossroads Mall and to my surprise they were having an “Everything $8.98” sale. I picked up a pair of Starbury II’s. Their maiden voyage will come this Friday. Everyone notices new shoes. I will be excited to note my new kicks we under $10. They will wear as well as any of the Nike’s I have owned over the years.

I often wonder at what point these kind of purchases could catch on among those who consider matters of justice important. I speculate over the money spent by our local basketball teams and my playing mates on Fridays. The issue is not what one can afford. The matter runs much deeper. Our spending reflects our values. If little by little many of us who consider these kinds of matters important would put our convictions where our pocketbooks, checkbooks or money clips were, think of the healthy cultural impact that could be felt.

Close to Home

She asked for prayer for her mother who expressed discouragement over the death of her sister. The issue lay in the number of her siblings left. At 82 she increasingly saw the reality of her own mortality.

Standing to officiate a funeral this past Wednesday, I could not help but think the gentleman whom we would remember that afternoon was my own father’s age. I thought of this as I read Barry Tramel’s piece (08/24/07) in The Oklahoman, “Farewell to the man who was always on my side.

Dad never said much about what I wrote. Occasionally, he would say he liked something, which was nice, and he never said anything when I ripped OU, his alma mater, which was nicer.

A quick story: When I was a kid, Dad would take us to the state basketball tournaments, sometimes drop me and my brother off, when we were old enough to navigate State Fair Arena. On championship Saturday, the whole family would go, and between sessions one year, I was probably 14, I sent the rest of the clan out to get dinner and I stayed behind to stand in line and grab us front-row seats.

I snagged some seats, fending off a grouchy old woman who claimed the seats were hers.

Later that night, between games, the legendary Bertha Frank Teague was honored by the state association. I looked at Teague and my eyes got big. “Dad,â? I said. “That’s the woman who tried to steal our seats.â?

Dad was a girls basketball fan. He coached in Norman, Noble, Strang, Longdale and Gueda Springs, Kan. You probably never heard of some of those hamlets, but they once were thriving little communities that revolved around their ballteams.

Anyway, Dad is someone who respected Bertha Frank Teague and all she did for girls basketball.

Fast forward to July 22. That’s the last day Dad talked to me. The next morning, I flew to San Antonio, and the day after that Dad fell into his coma.

July 22 is also the day we listed our top 100 coaches/contributors in Oklahoma history. I did the rankings. I put Bertha Frank Teague third, behind only Bud Wilkinson and Henry Iba.

Unsolicited, Dad said he didn’t care for the list. I asked why.

He said Bertha Frank Teague was too high.

“You don’t like Bertha Frank Teague?â?

No, he said. “Not since she had that run-in with you.â?

He was on my side until the very end.

We could only hope to invest on our children in the way Barry’s Father did.

Barry, thanks for sharing about your dad.

Season ending evaluation … Starbury’s come through just fine …

Starbury_3Leaving the gym last night after our season ending loss in the tournament Jeremy asked, "How about those Starbury’s?" Doubtless I did not put them through the rigors Marbury has or does. Yet, at the end of my first season playing in my Starbury’s I am still and advocate. They performed well even when I did not. Maybe next year I will live up to the hype I have given these shoes. Then again …