Basketball and Bobsleds
The “J.J. Meter” has been humming as of late. In last night’s 93-70 win over Wake Forest, Duke’s J.J. Redick scored 33 points (his fourth 30 plus game in a row, a Duke record) and went 4 for 7 from beyond the arc to pass former UVa player Curtis Staples’ 413 career treys and become the new NCAA career 3 point marksman. Redick is currently second on the Duke career points list behind his assistant coach Johnny Dawkins and fourth on the ACC list. He now trails all-time leading ACC career scorer Dickie Hemric by 60 points with 5 games remaining in the regular season. Barring anything unusual, he should pass both Dawkins and Hemric to further seal his legacy as one of the greatest to ever grace the hardwood at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
Redick has done a remarkable job of handling the expectations and pressures of his senior year and seems to thrive on the animosity which he generates among the “Duke Haters” across the country. If you’re still trying to decide whether to like him or hate him, then I direct you to The Sporting News’ Mike DeCourcy’s article “Whatta Devil” which makes the case that, contrary to popular opinion, J.J. is not the Antichrist.
I’m not much of a Winter Olympics fan, but I will be watching with great interest the women’s bobsled event later this week. We may not get much snow in Alabama, but did you know that along with Forrest Gump, controversial governors and great football players that we’ve also turned out a gold medalist bobsledder?
Vonetta Flowers is a graduate of another one of my alma maters, The University of Alabama at Birmingham, and already has an Olympic gold medal in two-person bobsled which she picked up at the 2002 Salt Lake City Games, becoming the first African-American to win a winter event. A former track athlete for the UAB Blazers, Flowers will bring her All-American speed to the narrow, twisting ice of Torino in the hopes of once again striking gold. She’s one of the “Yellowhammer State’s” classier exports, and we all wish her well.
Go Devils! Go Blazers!
Update: Here is another nice piece from USA Today detailing how Vonetta Flowers balances the roles of world class athlete, wife and mother to twin boys, one of whom is deaf. Hint: She leans hard on her Christian faith.
Like you, I’m not much of a fan of the winter games myself, but like I said in my latest post, there is something about going to a former Olympic venue that helps get the blood pumping a bit for an otherwise lackluster event.
Now I have two reasons to watch!
mike the eyeguy
Thanks for stopping by again and for the link to your fine post on the Olympics. I agree that the Olympic Games provide a glimpse of sorts into what “will be” someday when national boundaries dissolve and all kneel before the King of Kings.
Until then, I unapologetically will chant “USA, USA” as Vonetta, et al. strive for gold against the world’s best. I see no irreconcilable conflict in claiming “dual citizenship” (Paul, after all, was quick to claim his Roman citizenship when it offered him advantage) while on earth.
Being both a Christian and an American citizen does not produce in me the level of angst and distress that I see in many these days who seem to think that life revolves around a series of “either/or” decisions between the two. As I see it, that sets up a false dichotomy that is difficult to live out in the warp and woof of everyday living. Better to celebrate paradox–the “both/and”–and eagerly await the day when all shall be one.
I appreciate your observations on kingdom life in the already and not yet. You’ll hear no qualms here with “USA” being a part of the fabric of our life so long as it’s not the fabric of life. (Great, now I can’t get the “cotton commercial” out of my head…the touch, the feel of cotton…the fabric of our lives!)
With that said, my prayer is that we would pledge allegiance to the Kingdom of God first and our own nationality second – even abandoning our nationality when necessary for the sake of fulfilling life in God’s kingdom.
I like the way you put it,”Better to celebrate paradox–the “both/and”–and eagerly await the day when all shall be one.”
Perhaps that’s why I love the passage in Hebrews that speaks of wanderers on earth who have set out on a pilgrimage that will one day lead them home.
“…they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. And people who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own…a better country – a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them” (Heb 11:13-16).
mike the eyeguy
Amen and Ditto. I think most Christian Americans understand those distinctions and do their best to work out the kinks that come along as they move through life. I see extremes on both sides–those who blend the cross and flag to the point where American policy trumps the gospel and others who seem a little too eager to renounce their American citizenship as being imcompatible with Christian faith. Both, in my opinion, are wrong.
One thing seems like a safe bet to me. That is, neither nations nor denominations will dissolve prior to the eschaton.
Heh, and to think all this started with J.J. and Vonetta…
You never know where the discussion will lead if left to a struggling grad student whose trying to make sense of the world!
BTW, did you gain any Crimson and White leanings from your UAB experience?
mike the eyeguy
I’m leaning a little toward the Crimson and White these days, but not because of my time at UAB. I like Shula (I think he’s a class act) and the way he’s brought them back from near death. We’re mostly a Bama family when it comes to college football, although one son is a Vols fan. Needless to say, it was a long year for him.
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