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Impact Player Tony Richardson knows impact. Besides just pounding into intruding linemen to protect his backfield mate, he also seeks to make an impact off the field BY DAVID AUSTIN

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1-866-821-2971 527.52, six Issues; $36.00 outside USA for lntormallon on subscrlpllons, back Issues, discount bulk Issues, or changing your subscrlpllon address: Web site: www.sportsspectrum.com/or der/ Phone: 1·866·821·297 1 Mall: PO Box 2037, Indian Trait, NC 28079 E·mall: subscriptlonservices@ sportsspectrum.com Sports Spec/rum Radio stallon In lo-Go to l'll'll'l.sportsspectrum.com/radioflndex.hlm to fin d out where you can hear Sports Spec/rum Radio. General correspondence, Leiter to the Editor, or Writer's Query No unsolicited manuscripts, please E·mall: editor@sportsspectrum.com Mall: Managing Edrtor, Sports Spec/rum, 3000 Krall SE, Grand Rapids, Ml 49512 Permissions, Reprints Contact: Sports Spec/rum permissions r fax: 1·704·821·2669 r E·mall: permissions@sportsspectrum.com :

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; Doug Pensinger/ Getly r I Getly Images; Andrew• ___ ~~~e!n.! ~Bf~ ~ !l~'r ~o;s___ : Volum e20, Number 7 r 1 November·Oecember 2006 SPORTS SPECTRUM MAGAZINE A p1oduc1ol Sports Spectrum Publrshing

PUBliSHER Robert B. Walker pubiJSIItlflspottssptC/Ium com

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A Knight•s Tale Wherein a man named Greg Schiano comes to Rutgers University to try to restore respectability to a struggling football program BY MATTHEW woNG

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Top of the Line The offensive line for the Indianapolis Colts is anchored by Pro Bowler Jeff Saturday, a man who has much more to offer than what he does on Sunday on the Colts 0-line BY scoTT BURSON

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NBA 2007: A Heat Repeat? With Dwyane Wade and Shaquille O'Neal, the Miami Heat have a talent edge on everyone. Do they have enough team power to pull a Heat repeat? BY ROB BENTZ

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Creating A Buzz Chris Paul is in just his second season with the New Orleans Hornets, but he has already shown that he's a dangerous point guard and a helpful citizen BY JOHN JUSTUS

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Have Mom, Will Travel How do you make sure your son handles life in the NBA the way he should? Take a page from Daisy Brand's (she's Elton's mom) manual of motherhood BY DARRYL HOWERTON

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Sticking To It No active player had played more playoff games than Glen Wesley without hoisting the Cup-but now that he's been there, he still keeps the whole thing in perspective BY DAVE POND

4 2 Against the Wind

Two NFL kickers who have stood their ground against tough times, Josh Bidwell and J ason Elam talk abOUt God'S care When life isn't easy BY BOB BELLONE AND JOSH COOLEY

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Hook. Line. and Seeker Fishing was his passion and his life-until AI Lindner discovered the importance of faith and fishing for men BY TOM BEHRENS

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Power Up! pull-out devotional guide. The Sports Spectrum sports contributors for this edition are Colts tight end Ben Utecht and Kansas State hoops coach Deb Patterson.

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Focal Point With Sara White

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Heart and Soul A young girl shows her true COlOrS BY VICTOR LEE

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Countdown It's all about the numbers

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Up Close Q & A with Gary Hogeboom

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Up Next! Danielle Bishop, Dan Huling, Whitney Shaw, Matt Withrow BY JIM GIBBS

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Chalk Talk BY DEB REMMERDE

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Staying Well BY TR!SH BEARDEN

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Daddy's Girl • I arrived at the Kurt and Brenda Warner horne for an interview season-before-last on the day after his New York Giants had lost to the Chicago Bears 28-21. Kurt wasn't horne yet from practice, so I visited with Brenda and a couple of the children while the others trickled in from school. I've been around superstar athletes and their families a lot, particularly ones of strong Christian faith, so it struck me as strange what 12-year-old Jesse had name on the back of his shirt." worn to school that day. More on that later. Jesse Warner was having Kurt dragged through the door trouble figuring out who wanted about an hour after I arrived, to be her true friends and who just wanted to hang out with the looking very tired and sore. He had been sacked seven famous quarterback's daughter. That's a times the day before and had thrown a coutougher read than Dad faces against great ple of interceptions. Brenda and the childefenses each week. dren had been there. On the day of the They had sat in the Giants' loss in East Rutherford, Jesse and stands at Giants the family had heard Stadium in East Rutherford, watching the negative comments about Kurt, the whole ugly mess and hearing the fans' JESSE WARNER including some boos. The fans were eager reaction to Kurt. It was hardly an encouraging day. to see the new kid in town, rookie quarterback Eli Manning, Brenda told me that during the game she had gone to the under center. souvenir area and bought 7-yearBefore Jesse faced school the old Kade an oversized Warner No. next morning, she spent some time sizing up her next few 13 jersey to wear as a nightshirt. On the day of my visit, before hours as she was in her room Kurt arrived and after Jesse had getting ready. She wasn't sure if she was going to get a tight gone into another room, Brenda bump-and-run from her "friends" talked about the challenges her pre-teen daughter faced at or a soft zone. Disguised coverschool. Children have enough age was most likely. What should be her strategy? Probably to say of a challenge determining who little, watch carefully, try not to should be their friends without the added pressure of being the stand out. Sure she's proud to child of a famous person. As be a Warner, she loves Mom and Dad, but some days-when one superstar athlete, a man of strong faith in God, told me you're a superstar's child- maybe once when I asked how to pray it would be easier just to lay low. for him, "Pray for my son. He's Finally, she makes her decistarting to play organized sports. sion, gets dressed, and ambles His biggest advantage-and his down the stairs for breakfast. Her biggest disadvantage-is the mom looks at Jesse and stares in SPORTS SPECTRUM OU THE WEB: www.Spo rt sSp e ctrum.com

_. That's life. Top, back row: Jesse, Brenda, Kurt with twin Sienna, and Zachary. Front row: Kade with twin Sierra, Elijah, and Jada. Bottom: Warner after the 28-21 loss to the Bears.

shock. Jesse had slipped into Kade's room and picked up that jersey-the one with "WARNER 13" blaring across the back. Oversized for Kade, it fit Jesse fine. "If you wear that, you1l catch it all day long," Mom warned Jesse. Daughter gave Mom the firm, focused, beadyeyed look of a quarterback examining a defense. "I know," Jesse replied. "He's my daddy. I'm wearing it." So she went to school declar-

ing whose she was, standing up for her family through good and bad, choosing her allegiance openly, leaving others to choose her or not choose her. That's a strong lesson for a 12-year-old to teach, and one many of us much older would do well to learn. 0

Veteran journalist Victor Lee lives in Knoxville, Tennessee. Comment on this article at victorlee@victorlee.org.

SPORTS SPECTRU M - IIOVEMBER·DECEMBER 2006

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COUNTDOWN It's All About the Numbers ~

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REAL LIFE

GETTING THE WORD OUT

Six things you didn't /mow about]olm Kasay, liid1el; Carolina Panthers. {WITH HELP FROio\ JOSH cooLEY.)

Christian accountability 0 Best spiritual growth partner? "My wife is at the tool? "Probably adversity. top of the list, then the I have to learn to trust, chaplain on our team, because I really want to be self-sufficient. Mike Bunkley. I've The reality is, I grow always tried to leave myself as an open most when I trust in Christ. I have to wait for book. No secrets. That's always the way ~ God and His time and purpose." I've done it. Karl Payne il 0 Helpful Christian books? [Seahawks chaplain ] and ~ "Reading is my hobby. My answer I were very close when I was is usually Patrick Morley: The Man in the Mirror. Also Roy and Revel Hession: We Would See Jesus. And Randy Alcorn: The Grace and Truth Paradox. 9 Favorite Bible passage? "Galatians 2:20: 'I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me:" 0 Top Christian musician? 'Tm a Third Day fan. I grew up in Athens, Georgia, and they are from Marietta. We're about the same age, so we grew up in the same musical age and sound. Third Day resonates with me." 0

BONUS ROUND

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in Seattle. It's a ' so f ar sI1ame we,!e ~ --"r away now. 0 Most rewarding church ministry? "One of the things my wife and I have a heart for is teenagers. It's important for the m to know that the decisions they make from ages 13 to 18 will have a profound impact on their lives. We want to show them that there are options: They don't have to go with the crowd and that God has a plan for them." .. ··r_ -·: 1

8

• Sports for your daughters Caroline and Savannah? "My younger daughter is 5. She enjoys swimming. She has always been a fish. It would be neat if she continues to enjoy that, because I've always liked to swim. My oldest leans more toward the theater side- singing and dandng. She's 9, so my opinions don't matter as much as when she was younger." • Favorite place to take (wife) Laura? "There are two or three. The Metropolitan Grill in Seattle, whenever we have the chance to go, is mandatory that I take her there. We had just gotten married when I was drafted by Seattle. It was like a four-year honeymoon there. It was one of the places we went. We have a lot of fond memories there. "

SPORTS SPECTRU M - NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2006

Five Christian sports ministries that are doing great . . . . . things for the hingdom. 0 KidsGames. Games and --·--..-~~ fun for kids all over the world, including the World Bucket Championship. Web site: www.thekidsgames.com 0 BCI Edge. Traveling basketball team wit h evangelism as the focus. Web site: www.bciedge.org 0 4 Winds Christian Athletics. Athlete testimonies and news of interKids(iomes est to track and field fans. World Bucket Championship, Wyoming, Michigan. Web site: www.4wca.org 0 Score International. Score takes all kinds of groups overseas to spread the gospel-sports Christian Athletics groups, high school groups, and even work teams. Web site: www.scoreinternational.org 9 Sportspersons Ministries International. Helping churches develop ministries for people who like to hunt and fish . Web site: www.spi-int.org

4Wihds

GOOD GUYS IN SPORTS ll Four pro athletes who have developed their own outreach ministries. 0 Tony Richardson: TRich started the Rich in Spirit Foundation to help some of the people in society who have it tough. The Foundation has helped the City Union Mission in Kansas City and Athletes in Action. 0 Troy Vincent: Troy and his wife Tommi started the Love Thy Neighbor Foundation to help the Trenton, New Jersey, area where the couple grew up. Web site: www.ltncdc.org 0 Chris Paul: Chris began CP3 Foundation in his hometown of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, to help di sadvantaged children. The first project of CP3 was the Nathaniel Jones Scholarship Fund, in honor of his slain grandfather. 0 Dwight Howard: Magic star Howa rd started the Dwight Howard Foundation to assist young people to reach their potential. Web site: www.dwight-howard.comjfoundationwhatwedo.html


cP' Up Close • Oij Lorilee Craker • In the 1980s, Gary Hogeboom spent 10 years as an NFL quarterback. In 2005, he spent one month in Guatemala for the TV program Survivor. Lorilee Craker talks with Gary about those two experiences.

17~ree 2005 National FootbaU League stats leaders who am men offaith.

I» Shaun Alexander, Led NFL in rushing: 1,880 yards

Steve Smith, Led NFL in receiving yardage: 1,563 yards Matt Hasselbeck, Led NFC in passing rating: 98.2

NEVER GIVE UP Two Christian NBA players who wem not drafted but who have carved out successful NBA careers.

Mi ke James, Minnesota Timberwolves. Played at Duquesne 94-98), in Austria, in France, and in the Continental Basketball tion. Signed with Miami in 2001. Adrian Griffin, Chicago Bulls. Played at Seton Hall (1992-96), the Continental Basketball Association, and in Italy before ning with Miami in 1999.

THE QUEST One question you may have wondemd about. "What was one major challenge you faced as a Christian Pm athlete when you retired from yow· sport?" "Once I retired, it was di fficult to remain connected to the fellowship I had been a part of with the NY MetroStars. Over three seasons, Athletes in Action chaplain Rob Skead had laid a solid foundation for fellowship through weekly Bible studies, pre-game chapels, and outreach events. It was reassuring to count on a core group of men experiencing common chal'- lenges. Staying connected to 1 that group as my retirement has taken me to a new location and career, as well as finding a new group to fi ll the ongoing need for community and worship, has been difficult." -PAUL GRAFER. RETIRED GOALKEEPER, NY ~IETROSTARS , mS

Lorilee: Which was tougher, being an Survivor: Guatemala or being o quarterbock in the NHL ? Gary: You take a harder physical beating in the NFL. But I loved being a quarterback. Being on Survivor was a different kind of tough. I'm a big eater, and living off acorns and ants and cicadas for weeks was very tough. I lost 30 pounds in 30 days. There's j ust no way to train for that.

• Handoff. Hogeboom In

a Phoenix Cardinals game Lori lee: How were you able to share against the Raiders, 1989. your faith with your fellow Survivors? Gary: I am a big believer that actions speak louder than words. I tried to treat everyone with respect. If they asked me to pray for a meal or for them personally, I would. The show can get ugly at times, but I tried to show kindness and a servant attitude. Starvation and dehydration have a way of making people lose it, but hopefully I conveyed [my faith]. Also, at night especially we would have these discussions about everything, including Christianity. I could share my beliefs then .

Lori lee: Winner Danni Boatwright knew you were a former pro football player, and it was to her advantage to "out" you. She is also a Christian. Haw did you two work that out? Gary: I wasn't expecting anyone to recognize me. I played for 10 • Going for it. Gary during the first years, but that was a long time episode of Survivor: Guatemalaago. I had seen Danni reading The Maya Empire. The Purpose-Driven Life at camp, so I figured she was a Christian. Danni tried to expose me four or five times before our tribes switched. When she was on my tribe, she said something about it to me, and I denied it. She smiled, and I knew then she was going to keep it quiet. Lori lee: What would you change if you could about your Survivor experience? Gary: I wish our tribe had wo n more challenges, because in the end we couldn't overcome the other tribe voting us off. But other than that, I wou ld n't have changed anything! Lori lee: What was the highlight of your NFL career? Gary: Meeting and getting to know the other players and coaches. I loved playing football. I loved practicing and being part of a team working toward the same goal. It's a part of my life that holds great memories for me. Lori lee: You were coached for 6 years by the legendary Tom Landry. What piece of advice from him do you hold in highest regard? Gary: One time early on he met with the quarterbacks (on the Dallas Cowboys) and asked, 'What is the most important quality for a quarterback to have?' Nobody got the answer right. He said it was courage, to stand up and make the right decisions, even if they were hard. I carry that with me every day. SPORTS SP ECTRUM • NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2006

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Up Next • Written and Compiled

b~

Jim Gibbs

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a n e w _ .. ~

DANIELLE BISHOP: Enduring Tough Times • Playing through pain. Every athlete does it to a certain extent, but Danielle Bishop, 25, and now a senior on the University of Toledo's women's basketball team, says that God used her injuries to help teach her perseverance. "I had a pretty serious knee injury last year, and I had to have surgery on it last August (2005)," she says. "Then in December I started having some more problems with it, and it was a struggle to get out on the court and play. But I have been very fortunate in that God has used those times to give me strength when I have needed it the most." Despite her knee injury, Bishop still started in aU 29 games at the offguard position, averaged a team-best 14 points,

4.6 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and 1.4 steals in 33.1 minutes per game. She also scored in double-figures 23 times and had a season-high of 22 points against North

Dakota State in November 2005. "There were a lot of games where I was very tired, and I just wanted to fall over and collapse. But God just kept me energized enough to finish the game," she says. "When I am really tired, I like to keep in mind Philippians 4:13. It says that you really can't do anything on your own. You can for a little while, but eventually all that will fade away, so that verse helps me rely more on Him." Along the way, Bishop says she has learned to take the good with the bad. "Last season was difficult, but it was also pretty special because I was fortunate enough to score my 1,000th point," she says. "It came after a quick rebound, and I threw the ball back up there for my 1,000th point exactly. It was very exciting." Like anything else in life, Bishop says that college basketball has its highs and lows. The key, <41 Scoring machine. As a high schooler at Laingsburg (MI) Christian, Danielle scored 2,844 points.

Bishop says, is to stay close to the Lord so that when injuries or bad times come, you can trust God to get you through the pain. "As an athlete, it is often very difficult to find time to read your Bible and pray, because our schedules are so demanding," she says. "But at least for me, the best time to pray and read my Bible is just before I lie down and hit the pillow at night. I also like to read my Bible on . the bus or when I'm sitting in a hotel room. What I have found is that there is usually time somewhere in my day when I can spend time with the Lord. We're all busy, but what's more important than spending time with the Lord?" Will there be basketball after college for Bishop? ''I'm not sure if I want to keep playing basketball or not after this year," she says. "My dream has always been to coach, and I think it may be time to start moving in that direction. I still love the game, but it just takes a lot out of you, especially at the college level. We1l just have to see where the Lord leads." 0

DAN HOLING Cross Country. Track. Grad· uated from the University of Miami (Ohio) last May. 2008 Olympic hopeful. Age 23.

.; :.~''~ \ '. .. "" ' ..

• Last season in cross coun· try, he was an NCAA AllAmerican and finished 26th overall (30:09) and was the 13th American finisher at the NCAA Cross Country Champ· ionship on November 21 , 2005. The highest Miami finisher at the national meet in 32 years. Placed fifth at the Great Lakes Regional (31:13; Nov. 12, 2005), just 22 seconds off the winning pace. Became Miami's first individual MAC Champion since the 1980 season, clocking in with a first-place time of 24:21 at the conference meet last year. Also excels in track and field, where he was NCAA AllAmerican in 5,000 meters, was an NCAA Regional Qualifier in 1,500 Meters, 3,000-Meter Steeplechase and 5,000 Meters. HIGHLIGHTS: Placing 26th at the National Cross Country meet. .

·~J !

-JIH GIBBS

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TOP VERSE: Jeremiah 29:11 HISSTORY: "I grew up in a Christian home and had studied the Bible a lot growing up. One time after a night service, I came home and asked my dad how I could become a Christian, and he explained it to me. So I knelt down and accepted Christ as my Savior. So, really, it was a compilation of things." KEY INGREDIENTS:"Going to church and reading my Bible." GOALS: 'To compete in the 2008 Olympics." . TOP CHILL-OUTACTIVITY: "I like to play golf and read." LIFE'STOUGHEST MOMENT: "I got mono during my junior year in college. I was running very well, and then I got mono. I didn't have a severe case of it. but I was still pretty sick there for about 3 weeks. Thankfully, though, it wasn't a long illness." SPORTS HERO ANDWHY: "I like Tom Brady of the Patriots and all those Boston teams. I'm from the New England area, so I follow all those teams up there."

WHITNEY SHAW Water Polo. Driver. Junior. California Baptist University. Riverside, California. Age 20. • Appeared in 32 of the Lancers' matches as a 2005 freshman. Was tops among newcomers and third on the team with 31 goals. Also led freshman

class with 28 assists and 51 steals, which were both second on the team. Scored three goals against Pomona·Pitzer, Arizona State, and Cal State Bakersfield. Earned AWPCA Academic All-American hanors. Graduated from El Dorado High School in Placentia, California, in 2004, where she played water polo for 3 years and was on the swimming team for 4 years. Was named to All-Empire League first team and MVP during her senior year. Earned ScholarAthlete honors in her senior year. Was all-league four times in swimming. Was also a member of the 2005-2006 swim team, where she posted the fifth best team time in the 500 free (5:21.38). Majoring in elementary education. Enjoys going to the beach and wakeboarding. HIGHLIGHTS: "Scoring the winning goal in the last few seconds of a game during my freshman year against Northridge University in California." TOP VERSE: Colossians 3:23 HER STORY: "I was raised in a Christian home and accepted Christ as my Savior when I was about 8 years old. I remember thinking how, when I was younger, I heard about this friendship with Christ. That's what I really wanted. I wanted this deep friendship and fellowship with Christ. I wanted to

spend the rest of my life with Christ in heaven, and I wanted to have a friend I could always turn to when things are tough." KEYINGREDIENTS: "I go to church every Sunday, and I try to read a chapter or so in the Bible every day." GOALS: "''d like to teach kids

with learning disabilities, and I'd also like to get married and have a family some day." TOP CHILL-OUT ACTMTY: "I like to go to the beach a lot. That's good relaxation for me." LIFE'STOUGHEST MOMENT: "My parents got divorced when I was about 5 or 6, so I don't really remember them being together. Both of them have remarried. I live with my

mom, but I still see my dad quite a bit-so it hasn't been too bad." SPORTSHERD AND WHY: "Janet Evans, an Olympic swimmer, who went to my high school, and she's quite a bit older than me. I just admire her dedication to the sport." FAV CHRISTIAN MUSICIAN: MercyMe.

championship. The race was held out in San Diego, and I really had a lot of fun out there." TOP VERSE: Colossians 3:23. HIS STORY: "I was blessed to have become a Christian at a young age through AWANA when I was 7 or 8 years old. I was very young, but I had heard the gospel of Christ presented many times. But even at that age, I still realized that I needed a way to get to heaven and that sin was something that needed to be forgiven. I realized that a relationship with Christ would give me that." KEY INGREDIENTS: "I live in a house with two other guys who are Christians on my team, and we have Bible studies and accountability partners. We're also involved in Athletes in Action."

GOALS: "''ve been hurt for a while with a sort of mystery groin injury. The doctors can't really figure out what's causing the pain. It's been bothering me for about a year now, so my immediate goal is to get back out there and start running regularly again and help my team with an NCAA title." TOP CHILL-OUT ACTIVITY: Sleeping and watching TV. LIFE'STOUGHEST MOMENT: "During my freshman year, I lost four people who were very close to me during about a 3-month period. I lost a friend who was a Marine, who died in the war in Iraq, and then my youth pastor and his wife were killed in a car wreck. Then another friend of mine, who was about 50 years old and in really good shape, died riding a mountain bike one day. It was difficult because all these people were in the prime of their lives and were all very healthy. It made me realize how short life is." SPORTS HERO ANDWHY: 'Jim Ryun, the first person to run a sub-4-minute mile as a high-schooler. I always liked him both as an athlete and as a person." FAVCHRISTIANMUSICIAN: Casting Crowns and Third Day.

MATT WITHROW Cross Country Junior academically, sophomore in eligibility. University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin. Age 27. • In 2005, he was the top freshman finisher at the NCAA championship, earning AllAmerica honors with his ninth-place finish (third on the team) in 29:50.7. He also placed third overall and third on the team at the Big Ten championship in 24:06.6 as the top freshman finisher. A 2005 All-American in cross country, 2005 Big Ten Freshman of the Year in cross country, 2005 first-team AllBig Ten in cross country and a leading US finisher at the 2005 IAAF World Cross Country Championships. In 2004, his redshirt season, he was the top American finisher at the 2005 IAAF World Cross Country Championships, placing 60th overall. Youngest member of the US team and placed fourth at the USA championship, the top finisher among non-professionals. In track in 2005, he won the 3,000 meters in a personal best of 8:06.25 at the Wisconsin Elite Invitational. HIGHLIGHTS: "In high school, I won the national cross country

SPORTS SPECTRUM • IIOV EMBER·DECEMBER 2006

11


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REVIVAL USA Preaching Christ (Phi/1 :8) in the most effective way possible to fans, media personnel, and game officials before major sporting events including the Super Bowl, Olympics, BCS Championship, the Masters, etc. P.O. Box 11667 Atlanta, GA 30 355 866·646-LOVE I info@revival-usa.org www.revival-u sa.org

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SPORTS AMBASSADORS It's more than just sports! P.O. Box 36900 Colorado Springs, CO 80936 719-592·92921 sa@occi.org www.onechallen ge.org

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Ch~lk T~lk

The ••seaet"to Good Fwee-TUow Shootmg BY DEB REMME RDE for him or her. That routine may involve zero to three dribbles but probably not more than that. Keeping it simple helps the shooter focus on the shot itself. Some shooters spin the ball before the shot, and others spin the ball and then take a dribble or two. One routine isn't superior to another. What is important is that it's short, simple, and the same every time.

• The difference between winning and losing a basketball game often comes down to one thing: a team's ability, or inability, to make free throws. And it's not just those memorable free throws shot during the closing minutes of a close game. Throughout a game, each free throw is a difference-maker. A team that shoots a high percentage from the line continually improves its chances of winning. I'm often asked, "What's your secret to making free throws?" While I don't believe it's any secret, my response always centers around two things: consistency and repetitions. CONSISTENCY Shooting Form-It's important for a shooter to use the same form each time he or she steps to the line. "Straight line and extend"-that's what I say to myself. As a shooter begins the shooting motion, there should be no side-to-side movement of the ball. From the first motion until the time the ball reaches the rim, the path of the ball should be a straight line relative to the shooter's shoulders. The shooter should extend toward the basket as the ball is released. He or she should finish on the toes, and the shooting arm should be extended-pointing toward the basket. The shooter's elbow should be above the eyes, and the wrist should be bent. The follow-through and snapping of the wrist give the ball its desired backspin. The lift, the arc, of the shot comes from the legs and arms acting in one motion-both extending at the same time.

REPETITIONS Shoot, Shoot, Shoot-That's the best way to become a good free-throw shooter. Once a shooter has learned correct shooting form and established a free-throw shooting routine, it's aU about practice. It takes many repetitions of correct form and routine until what the shooter does at the line becomes habit, second-nature. It doesn't end there. Good free-throw shooting is a continual process-shooting, shooting, and shooting more free throws, every day. Each free throw is identical to the next. Repetition, repetition, repetition.

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Routine-A shooter should always use the same routine when shooting free throws. It doesn't matter if I'm shooting alone at the playground, in practice, or during the last 5 seconds of the championship game. When I'm at the line, my routine is always the same: Step up to the line, dribble twice, relax, and shoot. It's important for a shooter to establish a routine that works

Confidence and Focus-Repetition leads to confidence. After shooting thousands of free throws, a shooter can feel comfortable at the line-having done it exactly the same way so many times. This confidence translates into success in pressure situations. It also helps the shooter block out distractions and focus on one thing-the free-throw attempt itself. 0 All-American guard Deb Remmerde plays for Northwestern College in Iowa, a Christian college that competes in the Great Plains Athletic Conference and in the -..:::...: NAJA. During the 2005-2006 season, Deb made 133 straight free throws for the Red Raiders. In February, she appeared on The Early Show on CBS and made 580 of 585 shots. At one point during this exhibition, she made 256 straight shots. She is arguably the best freethrow shooter in basketball today-at any level. SPORTS SPEC TRUM - IIOVEMBER·DECEMBER 2006

1 3


Stauing Well • Bu Trish Bearden lbiag oa the Holidays! Don't Miss the Joy of the Season • Don't force it! Gearing up for the Christmas season has its share of mixed emotions. For most, it's a magical time of celebrating our Savior's birth, along with the joyous emotions related to gift-giving and merry festivities-familiar customs in a culturally Christian society. Unfortunately for others, this time of year is laden with scrooges, depression, and most seriously, the highest suicide rate of the year. Stress affects some like a tidal wave, drowning the human spirit every day of the season until "Auld Lang Syne." Therefore, I've fashioned some lifestyle tips in the quest to find a modicum of balance this holiday. Our family strives to attain harmany through a motto we recall when faced with urgent decisions: "Don't Force It!" While we avoid speaking in negatives, this phrase alleviates anxiety we bring on ourselves. Here's a useful mnemonic device to help you remember simple ideas to bring joy to the world, the Lord has come!

F AMILY.

Last year, I had a friend who volunteered to serve at her children's school Christmas parties. (One interestingly celebrated a "Scandinavian Party" since they didn't want to offend any non-Christians.) After wearily travel-ing between three schools, she declared this year would be better spent with each child opposed to hanging streamers from lunchroom walls. Is it more important for your family to visit Santa Claus or a Christmas pageant celebrating the life of Christ? Teach them of Christ's love by secretly sponsoring another family spiritually or financially. Possibly invite them to share in some of your rich traditions or drop material items at the door of

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fare is more unpredictable than the weather, grab a few bites before you arrive. Eat a mini-meal such as a whole-wheat sandwich, apple, or yogurt. Drink around 20 ounces of water, or 20 gulps to curb your appetite, ensuring smaller portions when grazing around those magnetic sweet trays.

C ORRESPONDENCE.

a family in need. It is paramount to put into practice what Jesus taught-not just give lip service to our Savior during the Christmas Eve candlelight service.

And how could we not address the art of distributing those beautiful pictures, personalized Crane cards, and play-by-play letters. But it can create so much turmoil; the side effects match those touted on the average drug commercial! My sister-in-law avoids this production by wisely sending out Easter cards. This gives her time to savor her incoming mail while later observing the pinnacle holiday of our faith, Christ's resurrection. (Not to mention how lovely her family is posed in the Texas bluebonnets!) Likewise, gift-giving for our

has morphed into a more relaxed affair as we now shop throughout

the year. When thinking of a loved one on an exotic trip or when finding a fabulous sale of an item we know Mom would adore, we gobble it up. After years using this method of shopping, one tip is to keep a gift log, since it is easy to forget about those presents hiding under the bed.

E

MMANUEL. Bask in the powerful words of the hymns this Christmastime; 0 holy Child of Bethlehem! Descend to us, we pray; Cast out our sin, and enter in; be born in us today. We hear the Christmas angels the great glad tidings tell 0 come to us, abide with us, our Lord Emmanuel! -"0 Little Town of Bethlehem" by Phillips Brooks, 1835-1893 Glad tidings to all, -Trainer Trish 0

0

N YOUR OWN. Relish time alone with the Lord. Praise Him for what He's done for you this year. Thank Him for the growing times too. Take time to Power Up! with the devotionals enclosed. Saturate the day in your favorite music, as many varieties have been proven to alleviate anxiety and enhance mood. Savor a "Silent Night" in front of a fire with a warm mug of green tea or a dark hot chocolate, both relaying health benefits.

R ECEPTIONS.

Recognize that for every party you attend, something previously occupied that time, possibly throwing you out of kilter. It may replace your nightly exercise routine, which means adding an early morning workout post party to combat the average 7 pounds gained between Thanks-giving and New Year's. And, since party

SPORTS SPECTRU M - !I OVEMB ER-DECEMBER 2006

Trish Bearden creates balance in her clients' lives through exerdse, nutrition, Pilates, and massage therapy. She holds a Bachelor of Sdence degree in Exerdse and Wellness from South Dakota State University and is certified by both the National Strength and Conditioning Assodation and the American College of Sports Medidne. As a healthstylist, Trainer Trish has enjoyed working in both the inner dty and the inner drcle in Washington, D.C. TO SUBSCRIBE TO SPORTS SP ECTRUM: CA LL 1 · 866 - 821 · 2971


Pro and Con 11Rou.ad•the-c:loc:k

spowts television aetwowks have had a

debha.eatal effect oa o..- calbu'e.11

• I grew up with round-the-clock sports 1V. In my home now there • I believe, as author John Piper has written, that a mind fed is a channel where I can watch NFL features, games, and news 24 daily on 1V diminishes. Our minds were made to know and love hours per day (live updates on Ben Roethlisberger's jaw at the top of God, and excessive 1V ruins this pursuit. Shallow, trivial content the hour!). There is also a channel shrinks the capacity of the mind to devoted to old games (in the event think worthy thoughts. The heart that you want to watch Notre Dame likewise strains to feel deep emotions, vs. Michigan from 1989 for the Piper reasons. 150th time), a channel devoted Perhaps the emergence of roundsolely to sports news (complete the-dock sports television networks with heavily hair-gelled and nicely since the late 1970s is nothing more shellacked talking heads spewing than progress that has blessed the snark and sports news on the hour), North American sports consumer. a golf channel (yawn), and an NBA Call me a dinosaur, but I disagree. channel (where the only compelling I lament the relentless advances of piece of entertainment is the draftscience, business, and technology love the purple suits and crying that are applied to sports out of a largely secular humanist worldview. moms! Cha-ching!). And finally a channel where you can find a colWhere is this 30-year experiment lege football game on every night taking us? of the week during the fall (usually The advent of sports "news" shows Toledo vs. whomever they're playing has never captured my attention. I do that week). not subscribe to cable 1V, so how do I "THE FACT THAT "I LAMENT THE That said, I probably watch only "keep up" with the latest? Well, a few a few hours of television per week, us sports fans have given up on SPORTS IS ON ADVANCES ... THAT of the idea of being cool. By not bowing mostly sports. And I'm enough of a TELEVISION 24/7 ARE APPLIED TO cynic to realize that the existence of down to the type of culture that is round-the-dock sports news is mostly being ushered in by the muscle of the DOES NOT MEAN SPORTS OUT OF A round-the-dock sports television netfor the benefit of gamblers. In 1 Corinthians 6:12 Paul writes WE ARE REQUIRED SECULAR HUMANIST works, we're doing what we need to do to hang on to the capacity of our that "Evef}lthing is permissible for TO PARTAKE." WORLDVIEW." me"-but not evef}lthing is beneficial. minds to think worthy thoughts. "Evef}lthing is permissible for me"-but ~---------- -------- ~ Trying to figure out how to raise my I will not be mastered by anything. two sons, I picked up Boyhood and Beyond, a book by Bob Schultz. In it he proposes that "the current While Paul is not speaking on the ills of round-the-dock sports 1V in the passage, it could easily be applied to all matters of selfpursuit of pleasure, leisure, and selfishness stunts the growth of men. Many fathers still live as boys." I wondered how round-the-dock sports control. The fact that there is sports on television 24/7 does not mean we are required to partake, any more than the existence television networks play into that. Going to a chapel service at Missouri Baptist Convention headof food aU day long means we should be eating ourselves into oblivion (or "bolivian" as Mike Tyson would say). While sports are quarters, I heard the speaker say that American Christians have been probably morally neutral. they can become harmful (or at least "Corinthianized" in that they are immersed in pleasure and leisure banal) addictions if we're not careful. and tend to be spiritually immature. It hit home. Sports are fun. They are meant for our pleasure, robust health, and To be fair, sports are not sinful. This magazine is known for its enjoyment. And in light of tonight's network 1V lineup- Desperate wholesome, noble sports stories. We just need to keep in mind Housewives, Wife Swap, Fear Factor; Hell's Kitchen, etc.-Notre Dame vs. that the love of sports that is tainted by obsession and greed will Michigan, circa 1989, doesn't look half bad. 0 harm us. 0

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Ted llluck Freelance writer, Lansing, loll Contributor to ESPN, The Magazine

WE B SITE: www . SportsSpectrum.com

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Allen Pallnel"i

Freelance writer, Jefferson City, ~10 Senior writer, The PathiVay, ~lissouri Baptist Convention

SPORTS SPEC TRUM - II OVEMBER · DEC EMBER 2006

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THERE'S NOTHING AL LINDNER LIKED BETTER THAN FISHING AND TALKING ABOUT FISHING- UNTIL HE FOUND OUT ABOUT THE MAN WHO WALKED ON WATER • BY TOM BEH REN S ention certain names in different sports and immediately you can iden-

tify the sport by the name. Say. '·Roger Staubach," for example, and the immediate sport association is football. Mention AI Lindner, and most people can associate him with fishing. Lindner has done it all in the sport of fishing. He and his brother, Ron, created a special fishing weight that swept the world of bonom fishing. The Lindy Rig. designed for keeping bait on the bonom while not gelling snagged is legendary 1 6

SPORTS SPECTRUM - UOVEMBER·DECEMB ER 2006

among anglers. And Lindner's InFisherman Inc. has become North America's largest multimedia sport fishing network. including In-Fisherman magazine, television, radio, and videos. As Lindner was growing up in Chicago, all he could think of was fishing. AI and Ron tied jigs for a large fishing tackJe distributor in the Windy City when they were not in school or fishing. ··1 had a bunch of kids from school that would come into the basement of my parents' house after school on weekends,

pour jigs, tie jigs, and paint jigs," Lindner says. "We made as many of them as the distributor could pick up on a regular basis.'' Later, after pursuing fishing fulltime as a guide in Minnesota, he starteel catching a lot of fish on a sinker design that his brother made. This sinker, combined with hook and line. became known as the Lindy Rig. Another distributor began clamoring for the Lindy Rig, asking for as many Rigs as the Lindners could produce.

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-·· ---- ------ ---- ------ ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------"When we first started, it was a major winter project, hand-pouring all the lures-my wife Mary, the kids, everybody helping. I thi nk the fi rst year was 800,000 and it never quit." AI and Ron sold their stake in the fishing tackle business in 1973. He wanted to continue to pursue his dream of full-time fishing. By then, in addition to being a fi shing guide, he was manufacturing one of the hottest pieces of fishing equipment in the industry while fi shing and winning several major fishing tournaments, including two BASSMASTER Tournaments. He also competed in the highl y recognized BASSMASTER Classic. He had his own nationally broadcast fishing show and a nationally distributed magazine. He was writing books and producing fishing videos, -<~~ Lindner lands one. AI with a smallmouth bass caught In north central Minnesota. T A family that fishes together. .. Al's brother and Angling Edge co-founder, Ron Lindner (top); AI Lindner (center); and James Lindner (bottom), Ron's son, executive director and A l's Angling Edge co-host, admire one of the creatures that has made the Lindner family famous.

but he felt that something was missing from his life. "No matter what goals I set and met and what I accomplished, after each was reached, I felt empty," AI says. "Win a BASSMASTER tournament and hip, hip, hurray for a day, and then empty. A big successful business deal- great for a day or so-and then something was still missing. After I achieved each milestone of my dream, another thud! Empty. Somethi ng was definitely missing. "God started knocking on my door- the knock was relentless-first my brother and sister-in-law. Ron and Dolores, accepted Jesus as Savior. Then my wife Mary did. I'll tell you this, I could never use as an excuse that I never heard the gospel. " It not only started pouring in from my own famil y, but I began getting tracts in the mail from television fans. I would meet people on the road at sports shows and seminars or even in business who were of the same persuasion. It seemed like it was coming at me from all directions, and as many people do at first, I resisted.'. Mary would pray with their children at night before they went to sleep, but AI never joined in. One night his

4-year-old son Troy asked his dad to pray, but he couldn' t, saying that he prayed alone after everyone had finished, which was a lie. "The plain truth was that I didn't know how or even have the heart to pray, and I was too ashamed to say so. Later that night after the kids went to bed, I passed Troy's room and he called me in. Lying on the bed he said to me, 'Mom and Shawn aren' t here now; can I hear how you pray to God when you are alone?' Well, I couldn't pray and I was totally crushed. I went to the bathroom and sat down and cried, probably for the first time in decades. I was truly broken." Two days later, Lindner says, the brokenness had readied his heart to accept the simple gospel message of God·s grace. At the age of 37, he finally surrendered. Now, 25 years later, Lindner is not ashamed of his faith in the Lord. "Believe me, everybody knows my walk," says Lindner with a chuckle in his voice. "There's no question about it, from the television show. from print, on our cars, on our boats, on the motor, ifs quite prevalent. Other people refer to me as 'religious,' and ironically it's somewhat respected. You get the respect because you are there, and you can beat them. I earned their respect. They respect you for that purpose, so it leaves the opportunity to witness to these guys one-on-one when the time comes, and it has happened." Just as athletes keep themselves physicall y fit, Lindner believes in keeping himself spirituall y fit. "When I'm off the road, and this is pretty regular now. I am into the Word the first thing in the morning. My routine (for lack of a better word,) is to get up, make my coffee. sit down, open the Bible. and get into the Word for probably about an hour, an hour and fi fteen minutes, depending on how engrossed I am into the subject matter. Then I get up and do a little running, some stretching, some physical stuff, jump in the shower, and get to work. 'The whole deal takes about two and a half hours before I come in to work. I am into the Word even on the road. It's shorter than when I am at home, but I am into the Word on a daily basis." 0

Tom Behrens is a f reelance writer who lives in Houston, Texas.

& A pair of Jigs: The FUZZ·E·GRUB Is a classic round· headed walleye jig made for average conditions. The NO· SNAGG VEG·E·JIG excels at slithering through weed growth. A jig is a hook molded into a lead head, to which Is added live bait or a soft plastic bait or both.

FISHING TIP:

The Jig Is Up • Jig fishing for any type of fish that swims -no matter whether it's smallmouth, largemouth, walleye, northern pike, crappie-I just enjoy that type of fishing . It's a slow, verticaL finesse type of fishing. Day in and day out, try to fish the lightest jig you can get away with that can get you to the bottom as quickly as possible. In some cases, when you are fishing in heavy cover, that may be threequarter ounce. In lightline walleye fishing, it might be one-sixteenth ounce, but be versatile in playing with the jig. The most important part of jig is that all of your control comes from playing with the weight. Drop speed is amazing. It's the difference between two fish or 22 fish out of a school. It's way more important than color or what you have on the back of it or anything . Drop speed is critical. -AL LIN DNER

SPORTS SPECTR UM - NOVEMBER· DECEMBER 2006

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AFTER ALL THAT TIME IN KANSAS CITY, WHAT LED

TONY RICHARDSON TO TAKE HIS LEAD BLOCKING SKILLS TO MINNESOTAANDA NEWTEAM?

o question about it. Winning is everything. But some victories offer beuer rewards than a tri p lo Disneyland. "If [Tony Richardson] had to pick between winning a Super Bowl ri ng or winning a brother for Christ, he'd pick seeing the person saved,'" says cunenl Houston Texans chaplain Greg Tyler when describing the FL fu llback and running back. Tyler should know. He spenl 5 years as his chaplain in Kansas City. "But don'l get me wrong;' Tyler continues. "He gives it all on the field. He wants lo win. but he also knows it isn·1 the most important thing in life.'· While wi nning is important to the 34year-old, 6' I" Richardson, he holds to a

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SPORTS SPECTRU M - IIOVEMBER· DECE M BER 2006

BY DAVID AUSTIN

higher calling and has a deeper meaning to his life. "I am just a man who is fortunate enough 10 have a great, fun, and exciting job-to play football," Richardson says. "I would love to win a [Super Bowl] ring. That is what you play for. but I know I am here because God has plans for me here with this team.'' Here is Minnesota and the team is the Vikings, where he moved in the offseason following II years with the Kansas City Chiefs. In Kansas City, Richardson was arguably the most popular player on the squad and in the City of Fountains itself. ''The NFL is all about change," Richardson says with a chuckle. "I was very fo11unate to be in one city as long as

I was. God moves His people to where He wants them to be for His purposes. I know I was in KC all those years for a reason, and now I am here for a reason." Many teams pursued the versatile lead blocker following the 2005-06 season. The Vikings pursued him 10 complete the construction of a newly assembled backfield. During an imroductory press conference in March, Vikings officials also mentioned character as a reason they wamed him. "When I came [lo Minnesota] for my visit," Richardson recalls, "they wanted me to sign right then. I liked everything they offered in the deal, the makeup of the team, front office and staff, but I wanted to make sure it was where God wanted me before I signed on the bollom line.'"

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â&#x20AC;˘ Purple people leader? While with KC, Richardson got involved in a number of charitable activities, including one that donated 45,000 dictionaries to kids in the KC area. Once he arrived in Minnesota, he got involved-namely working with Torii Hunter of the Twins on a project. T-Rich got re-ignited spiritually with the help of former teammate Dave Szott, now a coach for the Jets.

Richardson spent the next day and a half praying and seeking counsel from his parents and close friends, incl uding Tyler. "He called me and we talked about it, but Tony knew the decision was not his to make. His first thought was to do what the Lord wanted," Tyler recalls. "He loved the city and his team in KC. This was a tough decision that he did not make lightly." "Kansas City has a winning team too," Richardson says. "I could have stayed there and been real happy, but there is a reason I am here." n 1995, Kansas City took a fl yer on the former Auburn star who flamed out on the practice sq uad with the Dallas Cowboys in 1995. In addition to honing his skills on the grid iron to become one of the game's elite players, Kansas City was also the place where Richardson tru ly embraced what it means to follow Jesu . "I was 9 years old when I gave my heart to Jesus, but I don't think I truly understood it all ,'' he says. "In high school, I

I

WEB SITE: www.SportsSp ec trum.com

was president of my school's Fellowship of Christian Athletes and went through the motions, but I didn' t really follow Christ as well as I should have." During his third year with the Chiefs, Ri chardson accepted an invitation from Dave Szott, a guard who spent I0 seasons with the Chiefs, to attend a church service. "I just knew that message and call that night was for me," Richardson says. According to their teammates at the time, the change was instant and noticed. "I came here shortly after that, so I didn 't know him before," Tyler says. "Everyone I talked to about Tony told me he was a different person. I have loved watching this guy grow. He truly is Christ-loving and God-fearing." And a pretty good football player too. A solid lead blocker and receiver, he was named to the Pro Bowl squad in 2003 and 2004. "Tony will give it his all on the field," Tyler says. 'There isn' t a teammate who doesn' t respect him for his effort. They don't all agree with him about being a

Christian and living a celibate li festyle, but they love him as a teammate." Off the field, Richm¡dson has quietly made it possible for tens of thousands of elementary-age school children from lower-income families in the Kansas City metro area to receive a dictionary and school supplies. Even though he does not seek attention for his community service, the rest of the football world has taken notice. The Sparling News named Richardson as the Good Guy of the Year in 2002, 2003, and 2004. The award is given to athletes based on their civic responsibility and character. He was also named Pro Football Weekly's "Arthur S. Arkush Humanitarian of the Year" in 2003. And his contract is for far less dollars than most other winners. Before training camp even started this year, Richardson had already met with community officials to see how he could be philanthropic and serve his new home. "I have been blessed with a good paying job that has given me some notoriety, and I want to be a good steward of both of those blessings," Richmdson says. "You never k11ow when you might be able to impact a life or make a difference for someone." Richardson was reminded of this fact on his second day in Minnesota when listening to a local sports talk radio show. "I rarely listen to these programs, but th is time I turned it on and they were talking about me coming to Minnesota," he says. "This caller was in tears and told a story about something I had long forgotten about. He had a loved one in the hospital, and I responded to a request to send something to that person, and so many years later this guy still remembers that little gesture as if it were yesterday." Richardson also knows that a mistake made by a professional athlete can have just as much impact. "We are all humans, but because we play sports, any little mistake made is big news to the public," he said. "When you hear of an athlete or anyone for that matter, especially a young guy, who has made a mistake, don't judge them by that one event- pray for them. Pray they will make better decisions in the future. Pray they will learn from that mistake and turn to God and ask for forgiveness." Spoken li ke a true winner. 0

"I know I was in KC all those years for a reason, and now I am here for a reason."

David Austi11is a f reelance writer who lives in Wichita, Kansas. SPORTS SPECTRUM - IIOVEMBER¡DECEMBER 2006

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r-------- ------------------------------------------- -----------------------IT'S NOT EASY TO TAKE A STRUGGLING FOOTBALL PROGRAM AND RESTORE IT TO HONOR, BUTTHEN RUTGER'S COACH GREG SCHIANO KNOWS ALL ABOUT STARTING OVER

• BY MATTHEW WONG

reg Schiano gets up from a chair in his office and opens a closet full of books. He scans the shelves and finds the book he's

looking for. one that's been helpful in his life. The book is called Raising A Modem-Dar Knight, a title that is appropriate on many levels for the head coach of the Scarlet Knights. The cover has a picture of a sword wi th two hands gripping its hand le, one belongi ng to a father and one to a son. It is a guide to raising a man using Christian principles. It is also insight into what Schiano deems important in football besides winning games. league titles. and national championshipshis extended family of more than 100 kids. Like the ones who panicipated in the Insight Bowl last December, their first-ever bowl game. "I felt like a proud father watching them," he says. Even in defeat. as his team lost a heartbreaker to Arizona State, 45-40. That's why he shared hugs and tears with his players in the locker room afterward. taking extra time to tell his graduating class how much they meant to him and a program in the early stages of a possible renaissance. Schiano reminded them of how far they had come. Rutgers football was no longer a joke. This was its first bowl game appearance in 27 years, coming after its first winning season (7-5) in more than a decade. The program finally had support from its administration, a

top-notch training program, and a commi tted coach all at the same time. There was much to be pleased about. "I always thought it could be really something special," he says. "I think in the next few years we have a great opportunity to elevate Rutgers footbal l. It could join the state together." Schiano, a New Jersey native, came on board at Rutgers in December 2000 passionate about turning the program around. His plan included recrui ting with a heavy focus on keeping Jersey's talent in-state, something the school was often unable to do in the past. The results are finally showing, after years of TO SUBSCRIBE TO SPORTS SP ECT RU M: CALL 1· 866 ·8 21 · 29 71


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â&#x20AC;˘ Knight Job: Greg Schiano and his Scarlet Knights celebrate a successfu l start with a 21-16 win over North Carolina in early September. On September 24, Rutgers appeared in the AP Top 25 poll for the first time since 1976.

experiencing every lopsided loss imaginable. In his first season at the helm, the team went 2-9 overall (0-7 in the Big East), including shutouts to Miami (6 1-0) and Virginia Tech (50-0), and an 80-7 drubbi ng from West Virginia. His second season ended with an even worse record, 1- 11 (0-7). Seasons 3 and 4 showed minimal progress in WEB SITE : www.S po rtsSpec trum.c om

the standings. And last season started off on a sour note when they blew a 20-7 halftime lead to Illinois and went on to lose in overtime. "Every time the team was losing hope in what we were trying to do, [Coach Schiano] would always do a good job of getting our focus back on plugging away, working day in and day out," says former Rutgers defensive end Ryan Neill, a member of Schiano's first recruiting class. " It had to be a hard thing for him to do, because we were pretty bad." But Schiano knew what he was getting himself into. He was a graduate assistant with the Scarlet Knights in 1989 when they went 2-7-2.

He had also coached against them twice while serving as the defensive coordinator at the University of Miami. The combined score? 119-6 in favor of The U. He knew how far the program had fallen. Rutgers, after all, won the first-ever intercollegiate football game back in 1869, defeating Princeton 6-4. More recentl y, they went undefeated in 1976. Which is why Schiano asks, "Why didn't they catapult this program? Why isn' t Rutgers a championship program? Whatever the reasons, Schiano is on the verge of building a new beginning. "This job has taught me a lot," he says. SPORTS SPECTRU M - II OVEMB ER¡DEC EMBER 2006

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A KIIIGHT ' S TAL E

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------- ---------------------------- -, ''Without my Christian faith, there's no way I could' ve gotten through my first few years here:·

A The long road back: Visiting South Bend was a nightmare for Schiano's Scarlet Knights in 2002, as the Irish drubbed the visitors 42-0. But those days are long gone, and good times have returned to Rutgers Stadium. In 2006, Rutgers began the season with wins over North Carolina, Illinois, Ohio University, Howard, and South Florida.

22

ow's this for a resume: Defensive coaching positions at Penn State ('91-96), the Chicago Bears ('96-98), and the University of Miami C99-00) all by the age of34. when he became the head coach at Rutger , the youngest at his position in the college football ranks at the time. He's enjoyed life on the fast track. But it's a possibility to say that he wouldn' t be where he is now if not for getting the defensive assistant job with the Bears in 1996. Says Schiano: "I didn't know it at the time, but God took me there to know Him."

in the office adjacent to Abramowicz, who usually had his Bible open and would often throw verses or spiritual banter Schiano's way. Soon Schiano started going to church with the guys and began meeting with Maurer, still not really knowing why he was doing so. 'They had a plan for me," he says. "Guys were being nice to me for no reason, and coming from New Jersey, I was like, 'What do these guys want?' " This was a man who wasn't even comfortable with his defensive players attending weekly Bible studies at Penn State. He thought they'd get soft, lose focus. "I couldn' t understand how Christian kids could be aggressive, tough competitors. I was

Coming from a rel igious background growing up, he knew about God, but he had yet to understand what it meant to have a personal relationship with Jesus. He wasn't a bad kid, just had a few bad habits, especially as a linebacker at Bucknell. "As a player ! would've loved to coach me, because I worked harder than anybody," he says. "But socially the way I lived-drank a lot of beer, didn't go to a lot of classes-! wouldn't want my players doing what I did." Fortunately for him, God had a plan to surround him with Christian men in Chicago, including Dave Wannstedt (head coach), Bob Slowik (defensive coordinator, who worked with Schiano at Rutgers in '89), Danny Abramowicz (special teams coach), Bill McCartney (scout), and John Maurer (chaplain). Not onl y that, but due to a mi x-up with the tight ends coach, he ended up

worried they weren't gonna be good football players. It was all about me coaching, all about me." Until the Holy Spirit blitzed him one stormy night in 1997 as he was driving home from spring workouts with the Bears. He was listening to a tape McCm1ney had given him, a tape he must've heard I0 times already. It was a message by McCm1ney and his father, former Colorado coach Bill McCanney, about the negative effect football had on their family life. Even though Schiano was m<mied without children at the time. something struck a chord in his heart as the McCartneys talked about God's impact on their family. So with the rain pounding away on his windshield, his car ex periencing its own baptism, Schiano made the most important decision of his life. "I pulled over at

SPORTS SPEC TRUM • II OVEHBER·DECEHBER 2006

the side of the road and said the prayer at the end of the tape." He calls it an "unspectacular event." He says there was no lightning to signi fy the blessed moment. But a transformation, much like the one ongoing at Rutgers-on a much deeper level, of course-was about to begin. " It was definitely a turning point in my Iife," he says. "It's one thing being a Christian and one thing jumping with both feet," says Wannstedt, who now coaches at Big East ri val Pittsburgh. "He took a great leap that year, and he's remained faithful." That is thanks in large pan to early discipleship. In Chicago, Maurer met with Schiano every week at a diner

"I DIDN'T KNOW IT AT THE TIME, BUT GOD TOOK ME [TO THE CHICAGO BEARS] TO KNOW HIM." where they would digest the Word together over breakfast. Then. when Schiano took the defensive coordinator position at Miami. he was discipled by Steve DeBardelaben of Athletes In Action. "He was very eager from the beginning," says DeBardelaben, who talked life with Schiano during their afternoon

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A K!IIGII T'S TALE

jogs. "Guys like Greg, who are highly motivated and seeking to be the best they can be in eve1y area of their life ... it's a maller of gelling them to know the Scripture. And he's very responsive to God's Word." Adds Schiano: "When I' m doing well, it's gelling in the Word in the moming and constant prayer. When I'm not doing well, it's 'I' m too busy to get in the Word' in the moming, and I go to bed at night and I haven'ttalked to God all day. I go from one to the other and everything in between." It's been a slow growth, he says. But he's come a long way from his Penn State days. For one, he has no problem with his players allending Bible studies anymore. And two, "I' m not sure

there's any more competitive person out there," says Maurer. ''He certainly does not lit the stereotype that Christians are soft." But Schiano still struggles, he admits, in the heat of competition. Someti mes it's in the form of a few choice words that belong with Jersey's sewage. Other times it's going overboard and yelling at one of his players in front of the whole team. While that behavior may be acceptable on other sidelines around the country, it's not the example Schiano wants to set. Says Neill: "He'll come back to say. 'Guys, I apologize. I lost my cool on the field today.' It really takes a humble guy to say that in front of his football team, and I thin k the players respect him for that." "How many dads do you see apologize to their kids-let alone coaches to WEB SITE: www.Spo r tsS p ectr um .com

their teams?" adds Maurer. "He's a man in process, like we all are." ~

chiano is sprinting toward ~ the middle of the field, soon to be swallowed up in a sea of red and white jerseys-a scene right out of a Ballleship board gone mad. There is an excitement in the Jersey air as he leads his team in a full set of drills. The expectations are high now, especially after Schiano was rewarded with a contract extension that runs until 2012. But he's not feeling the pressure. How can he? He's too busy "teaching, building, teaching, building, teaching." Besides, he knows his broad shoulders can't carry the burden of restoring pride to Rutgers football alone. That's

why he recites John I5:5, his favorite Bible verse, in which Jesus says: "I am the vine, you are the branches. If a man remains in Me and I in him, he will bear much frui t; apart from Me you can do nothing." He's not gelling caught up in the buzz surroundi ng the program these days. If anything, he says he must guard against sacrificing fami ly time for on-field success. "This is my hobby. I like pulling the plans together. I like being a head coach," he says. "So when I' m not doing this, I' m not playing golf or going to the club. Whenever I'm not doing this, I'm with my family." A lesson he learned from the most important tape he'll ever review as a coach, perhaps. A lesson he also hopes to pass on to his extended fami ly in some shape or form. "He always has time for the kids,

Knightly news: Ryan Neill tackled his knee injury with Coach Schiano's help. Now he's trying to work his way up from Buffalo's practice squad to the active roster. .&

â&#x20AC;˘ Ryan Neill has seen the competitive side of Coach Schiano, even when it's a "friendly" game of air hockey. "He's all about technique," says Neill. However, it's Schiano's supportive side that has left a greater impression on the former Rutgers captain. When Neill suffered a major knee injury during his sophomore season-an injury in which there was concern if he'd ever be able to walk well again-Schiano checked on him right after the game. "One of the first things he said to me was, 'If there's any guy that I've ever coached that could come back from this injury, you're the one that could do it;" says Neill. And he did. Neill came back to have a successful career as a Scarlet Knight, earning All-Big East Conference firstteam honors his senior year. " [Coach Schiano] was really positive the whole way with my rehab. He pushed me when I needed to be pushed, and he let me rest my knee when I needed rest." Neill has since signed with the Buffalo Bills, and the Rutgers coach and player still keep in touch. Schiano even attended Neill's wedding last spring. " He's definitely a guy to look up to, he's so devoted to his faith," says Neill. " But he needs to work on his dance moves."

specificall y helping them out with issues in their lives," says Maurer. "He's always there for them-not just to bail them out but to see them grow up. "I've gone to donn rooms with him talking to kids who were in difficult situations. I don't know too many other head coaches who care to that point about every single kid in the program." Schiano sums it up this way: "Pro football's easier-easier to coach, paid more, easier on your family, no rec111iting. But it's about how fast can you get in the Mercedes and blow out of the parking lot. Here I have a chance to take them from young men to grown men. I have a chance to really affect their live . ''And I think that's what my calling is." 0 Mall Wo11g lives ill New York City a11d is a11 editor at ESPN. com. SPORTS SPECTRUM - IIOVEMBER¡DECEMBER 2006

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r------------------------- ---------------------------------------hen analysts and fans talk about the Indianapolis Colts making a run at the Super Bowl, the conversation usually swirls around the connection between high-profile quarterback Peyton Manning and favorite target Marvin Harrison. But ask the Indianapolis coaches and players, and a different set of names surface: Members of the Offensive Line. Football aficionados realize that holes don't open and big plays don't happen without the muscle and moxie of the men in the trenches. The Colts' line is among the best in the league, paving the way for 5,000-plus yards in a franchise-record eight straight seasons. In each of those campaigns, the line has provided time for Manning to toss 25-plus touchdowns and amass 3,000-plus yards through the air. Ha1Tison has been the other primary beneficiary of their protection, hauling in a club-record I,000-plus yards and I0 or more touchdowns seven straight seasons. The heart and soul of the Colts' line is All-Pro, 8-year veteran center Jeff Saturday, whose rock-solid work ethic and selfless character set the tone for the units' collective commitment to excellence. "Jeff is a leader in a lot of ways," says Colts head coach

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OF THE

Ll IN JEFF SATURDAY, THE INDIANAPOLIS COLTS HAVE ONE OF THE TOUGHEST, HARDEST WORKING CENTERS IN THE NFLAND ONE OF THE LEAGUE'S MOST DEDICATED CHRISTIANS •

BY SCOTT BURSON

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Tony Dungy. ''He is a great Christian leader, a guy our players can talk to about spiritual things. He is our player representative, so he stays on top of union issues. And as our center, he make line calls and adjustments during the game." Saturday is the consummate combination of brains and brawn. At the line of scrimmage his job is to read defensive schemes while Manning barks out the signals. As the play clock winds down, Saturday continues to scan for chinks in the opponent's armor like a master chessman. With split-second preci ion. he receive from Manning and communicates to his linemates any final audible before the ball is snapped. All this with the hot breath of a 300-pound nose guard in his face. In the trenches, Saturday is as tough as they come. A gladiator. A warrior. A man's man. Off the field. he is as articulate as a college professor and polite as a tip-hungry waitress. The imposing 295-pound, bearded Saturday apologizes for dripping sweat on a visitor to practice. And when he is interviewed. he answers each question with wit. eloquence. and candor. It's obvious he loves to talk. but without the slightest hint of self-absorption. He shies away from talking too much about himself. instead singing

the praises of his teammates and mostly hi Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. "Jeff is a real Christian," observes Colts wide receivers coach Clyde Christensen. ·'He's an outdoorsman. a great father, a fun guy, and he has a deep love for the Lord. There is a realness to his Christianity. With some Christians, their Christianity repulses you. You say, 'If that's what a Christian looks like. then I think I' ll pass.' But Jeff Saturday 's relationship with the Lord is alive. active. attractive. It 's really neat and refreshing." Saturday came to Christ sh011ly after signing with the Colts. '·J didn't know too many guys. and I was struggling to find my place on the team.'' recalls Saturday with a distinct southem drawl. "Then I met a guy named Mark Thomas who ran a team Bible study. He befriended me and talked with me about my perspective in life. He helped me understand that there is a greater purpose than just playing football." As a young man growing up in Atlanta and attending the University of No11h Carolina. Saturday wa on a quest to find the peace and purvose that can only come from knowing your uue identity. His parents told him that if he wasn't busy play-

• PuNing it all on the line. When Jeff Saturday lines up to snap the ball to Peyton Manning and then protect him from the charging hoardes, he has the confidence of the Colts' coaching staff. And beyond that, he shares with coaches such as Tony Dungy and Clyde Christensen a common faith.

SPORTS SPEC TRUM - IIOVEMBER· OECEMBER 2006

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,. Getting the point: It 's important that before Jeff Saturday and Peyton Manning make the great exchange, they both think they know what the defense is going to do.

ing spor1s, he would have to find an after-school job. So in addition to football, he filled his days with baseball, soccer, wrestling, and track. He came to Carolina as a defensive pass rusher, but his dreams of becoming the next Lawrence Taylor quickly faded when the coaching staff switched him to the other side of the ball. As a 3-year starting center for the Tar Heels, Saturday eamed first-team Atlantic Coast Conference and Academic AII-ACC honors. Still, deep, abiding peace eluded him. After a brief stint with the Baltimore Ravens, he found a home with the Colts. But even realizing the dream of playing on Sunday wasn't enough to fi ll Saturday's life with settled satisfaction. '"Mark [Thomas) asked me what made me want to be the way I was? What defined me as a person?" remembers Saturday. "Mark showed me that I didn't have to come up with an identity for myself. Christ had created me with my identity already intact. All I had to do was step into it."

During the last 8 years, Saturday has actively embraced his identity as a child of God through faith in Christ and spiritual leader of the Colts. He quickly learned that the Christian life is more than a one-time commitment; it also involves discipleship. "It's been a great walk for me, and as I've grown I've helped mentor guys and tried to pass on what was done for me." nyo ne who is even mildly

acquainted with the Colts can see that God is doing something special on this team. Saturday is su!Tounded by a core of committed Christian players and coaches, from the top down. "We have a phenomenal group of Christians here," says Saturday. "They are a bunch of guys who are not only believers, but outspoken believers-which I really like. We stand together, so it's a powerfu l group to be a part of." The believers on the team meet often to encourage each other. Team chapel is held Saturday nights and two different Bible studies are conducted during the week. Additionall y, older believers are matched with younger players through a mentoring program. "We are very active during the season, maki ng sure that guys keep their faith a top priority," adds Saturday. The stresses, temptations, and pressures for professional athletes are well documented. Christians are not immune. For Saturday, it helps to have best friend, fellow Christian, and offensive tackle Tarik Glenn as his roommate on the road. ··we talk, we pray together," say Glenn, a 10-year Colts veteran. "We pretty much talk about any and everything. I'm more vulnerable wi th him than just about anybody except my wife and parents. Maybe even more because we go through the same struggles. To have somebody who has your back gives you a lot of confidence to do the right thing." Together, Saturday and Glenn set a positive tone for the offensive li ne and model the kind of sacri ficial, Christlike attitude that translates into wins for the team and headlines for the backfield and wideouts. "When Jeff and I first came here. there wasn't a lot of strong leadership, so when we had a chance to become leaders of the li ne we wanted to create an atmosphere where guys felt supported," says Glenn. ''Even though there is a lot of competition out there, it's not like the guys are going for the

A. Anchoring the line: Tarik Glenn has Saturday's back and vice-versa on spiritual stuff-and on the Colts' offensive line.

throat. We want to see each other thrive, really showing the love of Christ in not only how we play but also in helping other guys be the best they can be." Saturday and Glenn team up off the field as well by donating their time and celebrity to several causes in the Indianapolis area. Every organization that Saturday supports is close to his hea11. An example is the People's Burn Foundation. One night, Saturday awoke to a sheriff pounding on his door. As he stepped outside, Saturday saw fire engulfing his young daughter's room. "You can imagine the fear and panic that strikes you,'' recalls Saturday with palpable emotion. He realized at that moment how unprepared he was. Fortunately, Saturday and his wife, Karen, were able to get their two young children and pets out of the house. ''I'm sitting there watching the firemen put this fi re out and I remember telling my wife that thank God everything I reall y care about is right here beside me. Because if the house burns down, I' m still okay." That experience motivated Saturday to learn more about the People's Burn Foundation, an organization that helps victims of fire get back on their feet. Today he serves as an active spokesperson. Saturday also works closely with the local children's hospital. a practice he stm1ed during his Tar Heel days. He has pm1icipated in a variety of fundraisers and helped develop a reading program that allows hospitalized children to watch Colts players reading books through the hospital television station.

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AHrlt l'ltlNS I GETTY IUJoOU

4 Eight is enough: Indianapolis sent a Colt-load of players to the Pro Bowl

in Hawaii in 2006. (L-R} Cato June, Edgerrin James, Dwight Freeney, Marvin Harrison, Peyton Manning, Glenn, Saturday, and Bob Sanders.

· "I think community service is the greatest faith testimony; it shows people that they are important," ' says Saturday. who also assists Glenn with inner-city programs. "It"s not just about me writing a check. lt"s about coming down and seeing you. Christ tells us to help people in need and to help folks who are struggling. When Christian serve people in need. you can really see Christ alive:· While Saturday and Glenn are serious about giving back, they also know how to relax and unwind. Last Febmary, they took their families to Hawaii to enjoy the sun. surf. and honor of playing in the Pro Bowl together. In total, the Colts placed eight players on the AFC team, tops in the NFL. For Glenn, it was his second straight trip to Honolulu. For Saturday, it was his first such honor despite eaming Football Digest All-Pro honors in 2003 and 2004. "Playing in the Pro Bowl with Tarik was a dream come true," remembers Saturday, who was an alternate in 2004. ·To share this experience with a fellow believer and closest friend, along with our families, was a great time. It was one of the more special moments of my football career, if not the most special. Hopefull y it was the first of many trips for us: · It is not surprising that Indianapolis sent so many players to the Pro Bowl last year. After all, it looked like the Colts were going to become the fi rst NFL team to go undefeated since Don Simla's 1972 Miami Dolphins. That is until the San Diego Chargers and WEB SIT E: w ww.Spor ts Sp ec t rum . com

Seattle Seahawks handed the unblemished Colts back-to-back losses in weeks 14 and 15. Wh ile disappointing, many thought the defeats might actually ease the pressure heading into the playoffs. This was supposed to be the year. The year the Colts finally represented the AFC in the Super Bowl. But Pittsburgh had other plans, upending the Colts, 21- I8. Saturday admits that it took a while to bounce back from the disappointing end to such a promising season, but he and his teammates are poised to make another run at a conference title. "I heard a great message recently,"' says Saturday with conviction. ·'It's not how you start, but how you finish. There are a lot of encumbrances that come along. Things that try to distract you and pull you away from your purpose. But you have to remember what you're after. You need to stay on the path you star1ed. That's really what we're about. We didn't do what we wanted to last year, but it's a new year."' Whether the Colts reach their ultimate goal or not, Jeff Saturday's identity as a child of God is secure. His peace and purpose in life are no longer tied to perfo rmance but rather to God's faithfulness. "Psalm 128 is my life Scripture or mission statement," says Sawrday with assurance. "The chapter talks about keeping the fear of the Lord and with that He will bless you, you'll be plentiful, your wife will be at peace, and your children will be bountiful. At the end of my life, I want all of those things to be

Holding on to faith: One of the many who reached out in support ofTony Dungy was Cardinals coach Denny Green following Tony's first game back after James Dungy's death. 4

A DEVASTATING HIT • The problem of evil is one of the most vexing challenges to the Christian faith. Why does an all-powerful, all-lovi ng God allow evil? Theologians have offered a variety of theories to explain evil, from free will to character formation . While the value of these theories is debatable, one thing is clear: They aren't particularly comforting when we are in the throes of heartache. This was the case last year for the Colts when Tony Dungy's oldest son, James, took his own life. "It's tough any time you see a man who lives his life right go through a trial that significant," says Colts' center Jeff Saturday. "To lose a child is probably the toughest thing that anyone can go through." But instead of becoming bitter, Dungy remained faithful. At Super Bowl and Final Four prayer breakfasts, Dungy emphasized the good that came from donating James' organs, and he ultimately pointed to God's sacrificial love: "If God had talked to me before James' onoGRN.E JO/ GETTY ...... . death and said his death would have helped all these people, it would have saved them and healed their sins, but I would have to take your son, I would have said no, I can't do that. But God had the same choice 2,000 years ago with His Son, Jesus Christ, and it paved the way for you and me to have eternal life." Those closest to Dungy- Saturday and other Colts believers - were deeply moved by their coach's character during the most difficult of trials. "I told him how much I respected how he handled it because he stayed true to his faith in God and used it as a witness," says Saturday. "It helped me realize that it's not about the circumstances, it's how you deal with them. And I think when God is looking down on Tony, He's smiling." - SCOTT BURSO N

in the right order. I want to Jive my life to glori fy Him in all that I do and everything else from there will fall into place." 0

ScoTt Burson is assistalll vice presidem for marketing at Indiana Wesleyan University in Marion, Indiana. SPORTS SPECTRUM - NOVEMB ER ·D ECE MBER 20 0 6

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8007; The Miami Heat captured the 2006 NBA title on the strength of superstars Dwyane Wade and Shaqui That depends on their health and being able to battle through a more balanced Eastern Conferenc Will Phoenix rise up, or will Dallas take the next step to a championship? 1J Sports Spectrum takes a lo

New Jersey Nets

Detroit Pistons

Miami Heat

• 2005·06: 49-33, First • Good: The Nets are easily the best team in the NBA's weakest division. • Not·So·Good: Jason Kidd is another year older, and the front office didn't do enough in the offseason. • Outlook: With Kidd, Richard Jefferson, and Vince Carter the Nets have the potential to be highlight-reel exciting. There's just not enough here to compete for the Eastern Conference championship. • Projection: First

• 2005·06: 64-18, First • Good: The Pistons will once again have one of the best starti ng fives in the NBA. • Not·So·Good: Losing heart-and-soul Ben Wallace to division foe Chicago. • Outlook: Can the Pistons win without defensive force Ben Wallace? Yes. However, their dominance of the division and conference is over. Detroit remains a very good basketball team. • Projection: First

• 2005·06: 52-30, First, NBA Champions • Good: Last season's champs return with the same castand coach Pat Riley. • Not·So·Good: You have to wonder about the hunger after winning a championship. • Outlook: Any team with Wadearguably the NBA's best player-on the perimeter and Shaquille O'Neal in the post is form idable. Can they repeat as NBA champs? Sure. Will they repeat? Maybe. • Projection: First

Chicago Bulls

Philadelphia 76ers

• 2005·06: 41-41 , Third (tied) • Good: Stealing • 2005·06: 38-44, Second • Good: Superstar Allen defensive powerhouse Ben Wallace from a division Iverson wasn't moved in the offseason-in spite rival. • Not·So·Good: The length and size of of the rumors. • Not·So·Good: The Sixers' nucleus Wallace's huge contract could be an albatross in the later years of the deal. • Outlook: The additions of makes a better fantasy team than an on-court Wallace and P. J. Brown to a talented young nucleus performance team. • Outlook: The Iverson/Chris Webber duo would be special if you could turn the makes the Bulls a force in the Eastern Conference. Look for a deep playoff run from the boys from the clock back about 6 years. Philly will be good on some nights, bad on others. • Projection: Second Windy City. • Projection: Second

Toronto Raptors • 2005·06: 27-55, Fourth • Good: The addition of top young point guard T. J. Ford. He's a winner. • Not·So·Good: The Raptors have a long way to go before they can become competitive night-in, night-out. • Outlook: With the addition of Ford, top overall pick Andrea Bargnani, and improving young star Chris Bosh, Toronto's future is decidedly better than it was one year ago. It's still a long way up. • Projection: Third

Boston Celtics • 2005·06: 33-49, Third • Good: Paul Pierce signed a long-term deal to remain in Boston. • Not·So·Good: Giving the offensive reins to young PGSebastian Telfair could be a big gamble. • Outlook: The Celtics have some raw talent on their roster-unfortunately that doesn't necessarily translate into wins. • Projection: Fourth

New York Knicks • 2005·06: 23-59, Fifth • Good: They didn't lose 60 games last season. • Not·So·Good: Wasting a first-round draft choice on little-known Renaldo Balkman. • Outlook: lsiah built this fiasco-now he gets to coach it. There is no chance for a winning season, much less a playoff berth. The Knicks are a mess! • Projection: Fifth

Cleveland Cavaliers • 2005·06: 50-32, Second • Good: Cleveland fans can relax. Superstar LeBron James is sticking around thanks to a new long-term deal. • Not-So· Good: It seems as though everyone in the division improved. • Outlook: Look for King James and the Cavs to take another step of improvementalthough only a small one. They are not yet championship caliber. • Projection: Third

Orlando Magic • 2005·06: 36-46, Third • Good: Getting J. J. Redick, a legitimate sharpshooter, in the draft. • Not-So·Good: The Magic have huge upside, but they remain very young. • Outlook: Power forward Dwight Howard is becoming a force. Center Darko Milicic is improving. Orlando finished strong last season. Look for them to build on that momentum and make one of the NBA's biggest improvements. • Projection: Second

Washington Wizards

Indiana Pacers

• 2005·06: 42-40, Second • Good: Adding athleticism and scoring in the offseason in DeShawn Stevenson and Darius Songaila. • Not·So·Good: Losing their best defensive player, Jared Jeffries, via free agency. • Outlook: Another .500 season is likely. Washington is a team with some talent, just not enough of it to compete with the top teams in the Eastern Conference. • Projection: Third

• 2005·06: 41-41 , Third (tied) • Good: The return of high-scoring forward AI Harri ngton without breaking down the team's nucleus. • Not·So·Good: The Pacers will miss the outside sharp-shooting of departed Peja Stojakovic. • Outlook: The Pacers are now loaded with talent-but so is the rest of the Central. Look for a better record, but a similar middle-of-the-pack finish in this ultra-tough division. • Projection: Fourth

• 2005·06: 26-56, Fourth (tied) • Good: Adding another strong frontcourt presence, Sheldon Williams, in the draft. • Not·So· Good: The Hawks are still light on NBA experience. • Outlook: Last year, we said the Hawks were stockpiling pieces to be competitive in 2008-09. That thought still stands. • Projection: Fourth

Milwaukee Bucks

Charlotte Bobcats

Atlanta Hawks

• 2005·06: 340-42, Fifth • Good: The Bucks made • 2005·06: 26-56, Fourth (tied) • Good: Grabbing significant changes in the offseason-highlighted by collegiate superstar Adam Morrison in the draft. the addition of young scorer Charlie Villanueva. • Not·So·Good: Allowing part-owner Michael • Not·So·Good: Who's at the point- Mo Williams Jordan the freedom to make many of the basketball or newcomer Steve Blake? • Outlook: The Bucks decisions. • Outlook: The Bobcats are stockpiling have the potential to be a good basketball team. young talent. The roster looks like an NCAA The problem is they play in a great division. There's All-American reunion. However, they remain years not much hope for significant improvement. away from contention. • Projection: Fifth • Projection: Fifth . - - - - - - - - - - - - - - . Miami, New Jersey, Detroit, Chicago, Cleveland, Indiana, Philadelphia, Orlando Eastern Conference Champion: Miami Heat


w:;r-p)---------------------------

----------------,

------------------------------------------~ O'Neal, along with a supporting cast of former All-Stars. Can the Heat repeat? The Western Conference is wide open with numerous legitimate title hopefuls. at each team and their title hopes for the 2006-07 NBA season. • BY ROB BENTZ

Dallas Mavericks

Denver Nuggets

Phoenix Suns

• 2005-06: 60-22, Second • Good: The Mavs didn't stand pat after an NBA Finals appearance, adding defenders Devean George and Greg Buckner. • Not-So-Good: With a trip to the NBA Finals and the World Championships, Dirk Nowitzki has put a l.ot of basketball mileage on his body in the last 12 months. • Outlook: The nucleus is hungry after being defeated in the NBA Finals. The Mavs bench is stronger defensively. This could be a special season in Big D. • Projection: First

• 2005·06: 44-38, First • Good: long-term deals for Carmela Anthony and Nene Hilario. • Not-So· Good: Kenyon Martin and Coach George Karl are still together. • Outlook: If they can stay healthy, the Nuggets could be a dominant force in the Western Conference. They have balance and depth. Expect a long playoff run. • Projection: First

• 2005·06: 54-28, First• Good: Star center Amare Stoudemire appears healthy again. • Not-So-Good: With all their regular-season success, the Suns must figure out a way to win in the playoffs. • Outlook: The Suns have as much talent as any team in the NBA. They're athletic. They're deep. They're a legitimate NBA title contender. • Projection: First

San Antonio Spurs • 2005·06: 63-19, First • Good: The team's big three- Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, and Manu Ginobili-remain among the game's elite. • Not-So-Good: A finger injury to Parker in the World Championships. • Outlook: In spite of a disappointing playoff run last year, the Spurs are once again a Western Conference and NBA Finals contender. Duncan must return strong from a sub-par 2005-06 season. • Projection: Second

Houston Rockets

Utah Jazz • 2005·06: 41-41 , Second • Good: The addition of cagey veterans Matt Harpring and Derek Fisher. • Not-So-Good: The Jazz might be too dependent (three rookies) on youth. • Outlook: Utah looks improved from a year ago, although it won't show in the standings. Their record will be better, but the Jau will still be looking up at the Nuggets. • Projection: Second

Minnesota Timberwolves • 2005·06: 33-49. Fourth • Good: A vastly improved backcourt with draftee Randy Foye and free agent Mike James. • Not-So-Good: The T-Wolves came up empty trying to get bigger and stronger up front. Sorry K.G. • Outlook: Minnesota will be improved because of their guard play. But don't expect much more than a .500 season. Why? They're just too soft in the middle. • Projection: Third

• 2005·06: 34-48, Fifth • Good: The addition of veteran NBA performer Shane Battier. • Not-SoGood: Superstar Tracy McGrady's iffy back. • Outlook: One of these years, the Rockets' Ming/ McGrady duo will reach its potential and win big. Is this the year? With some nice supplementary play- Seattle Supersonics • 2005·06: 35-47, Third • Good: The collapse of ers in place, it just might be. • Projection: Third last season is over. • Not-So-Good: New owner Clay Bennett has said that unless a new arena can Memphis Grizzlies be worked out he's moving the team to Oklahoma • 2005·06: 49-33, Third • Good: Getting highupside guy Rudy Gay in a draft-deal with the Rockets. City in two years. • Outlook: After difficult • Not-So-Good: losing star Pau Gasol for the first 3 contract negotiations, restricted free agent Chris Wilcox agreed to a long-term deal. Good thing, months with a foot injury suffered in the World because without him the Sonics would be hurting Championships. • Outlook: Gasol's injury could for enough talent to compete on a daily basis. benefit the development of young talent Gay and newcomer Stromile Swift. The Grizzlies are a good • Projection: Fourth team in a tough division. • Projection: Fourth

New Orleans Hornets

Portland Trail Blazers

• 2005·06: 21·61 , Fourth • Good: Draft-day • 2005-06: 38-44, Fourth • Good: Chris Paul, in acquisition Brandon Roy is capable of winning just his second year, has established himself as Rookie of the Year honors. • Not-So-Good: Talented-but-troubled forwards Zach Randolph one of the game's top point guards. • Not-Soand Darius Miles are still around and unhappy. Good: The Hornets will one day regret the size • Outlook: With the addition of rookies Roy and and length of newcomer Peja Stojakovic's longlaMarcus Aldridge the Blazers improved big-time term deal. • Outlook: New Orleans has more through the draft! There's still a long way to go to talent than a year ago- but they still play in a see a climb in the standings. • Projection: Fifth brutal division. • Projection: Fifth ~c P':.::....&."Yc:»~s

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Mavericks

Dallas, Phoenix, Denver, San Antonio, Utah, Los Angeles Clip_Q!lrs, Houston, Memphis Western Conference Champion: Dallas Mavericks

Los Angeles Clippers • 2005·06: 47·35, Second • Good: The addition of veterans Tim Thomas and Aaron Williams. • Not-So-Good: The Clippers wrongfully remain second-class citizens to the l akers in L.A. • Outlook: The Clips are a solid team with veteran talent. If they can stay healthy, they might get past the second round of the playoffs. • Projection: Second

Los Angeles Lakers • 2005·06: 45-37, Third • Good: The addition of sharpshooter Vladimir Radmanovic helps ease Kobe's offensive burden. • Not-So-Good: The Lakers remain sub-par at the point and at the post. • Outlook: The lakers will always be a good team because of Kobe Bryant. There just isn't enough around Kobe to expect much beyond that. • Projection: Third

Sacramento Kings • 2005·06: 44-38, Fourth • Good: A talented, veteran nucleus is still in place. • Not-So-Good: After eight playoff seasons, management axed longtime coach Rick Adelman. • Outlook: The Kings were silent in the offseason. How can fans be excited about a team that finished in fourth place in their division, lost a key scorer (Bonzi Wells), and made no significant additions? • Projection: Fourth

Golden State Warriors • 2005·06: 34-48, Fifth • Good: Former coach Don Nelson's return brings credibility back to the franchise. • Not-So-Good: How much drive does the 66-year-old Nellie really have to take over a reclamation project? • Outlook: The Warriors will be more entertaining under Nellie's guidance. Expecting a jump in the standings is too much to ask. • Projection: Fifth

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JUST WHAT NEW ORLEANS NEEDS IS A TALENTED POINT GUARD WHO'S AS GOOD FOR THE COMMUNITY AS HE IS FOR THE BASKETBALL TEAM. THAT GUY IS CHRIS PAU L. â&#x20AC;˘ BY JOHN JUSTUS

. - - - - - - - - . sK CHRIS PAUL about his first year as an NBA player and he just smiles, shakes his head slowly, and says softly, "Unbelievable." Who could disagree? Although Paul was a consensus first-team All-American as a sophomore at Wake Forest, leading the Demon Deacons to their first No. I ranking in school history, hardly anyone projected him to have the type of instant impact he enjoyed in his first season as a professional. Not only did he step immediately into a starting role as a point guard. perhaps the most di fficult position for a rookie, but he led the New Orleans/Oklahoma City Homets from the doldrums of the NBA ( 18 wins in 2004-05) to being a playoff contender and 38 victories. Paul was a near-unan imous choice as the NBA Rookie of .__ _ _ _â&#x20AC;˘ the Year and could have been selected to the midseason All-Star Game with little opposition from those who followed the league on a consistent basis. His inaugural season was then highlighted with his being named to the USA Basketball squad that represented America in the World Championships in Japan this past August. Ce11ainly, a spot on the United States Olympic Team roster in 2008 is very likely. And through all this success, Paul maintained a demeanor and humility that only further endeared him to his teammates, his coaches, and the fans in both of his new home cities, as well as NBA officials and even his competitors. Just like his basketball skills, it is a personality and a lifestyle that can be traced back to his North Carolina home-and a background where everything began with and depended upon family and faith.

Early Entry Paul's decision to leave Wake Forest after just two seasons came as somewhat of a surprise in some circles. He was a good student, playing at his "hometown" school (Paul is from Lewisville, NC, just a few 3 2

SPORTS SPECTRUM - NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2006

T Stepping it up. Chris showed that his skill level Is still improving, for he averaged 15 points a game in his last year of college and 16 ppg. in his first year in the NBA.


---------------------------------------------------------------------, miles from the Winston-Salem campus of WFU), and he seemed to revel in the college atmosphere. And after all, former Demon Deacons Tim Duncan and Josh Howard stayed at Wake all four years before moving on to NBA stardom and riches. But Paul knew that he was ready for the challenge that the NBA would present. His college coach, Skip Prosser, although it meant his 2005-06 team would struggle without its star point guard, knew so too. "Chris is very talented, but very competitive as well," Prosser says. "God has given him tremendous ability, but he has maximized that ability. There are a lot of players with ability. Only a small percentage have that ability maximized. "The greatest motivation is self-motivation, and Chris has always had large doses of that." Paul knew that he wouldn't be the first player selected in the 2005 NBA Draft (Milwaukee had made no secret about its preference for big man Andrew Bogut), but he had hoped to be the first of three talented point guards available. As the fourth overall pick, he did go one spot higher than fellow ACC product Raymond Felton (who was chosen fifth) but was selected after Illinois backcourt standout Deron Williams, who was chosen third by the Utah Jazz. "I was a little upset," Paul said at the time, "because all three of us had talked about who would go first, and we all are competitors." His father Charles put the draft into perspective, however, stating that night, "Wherever the Lord wants to send him, that will be the best situation for him. He likes this challenge."

Early Success Hornets head coach Byron Scott remembers well his first meeting with Paul. "At a workout before the 2005 NBA Draft, we brought Chris in by himself, and my first impression was 'Wow! ' "Both as a player and as a person, I could tell he was one of a kind." While not physically imposing- some would say smallish even for a point guard at 6'0, 175 pounds-Paul did prove to be imposing on the court with his speed, qui c kn ess, knowledge of the game, and play-making skills. His statistics for a rookie were outstanding- 16.1 points, 5.1 rebounds, 7.8 assists, and 2.2 steals per game. He ranked first among all NBA players in steals ( 175) and was fifth in the league in assists (6 11 ). Paul led the 2005-06 rookie class in scoring, assists, steals, and minutes played. He was unanimously selected to the NBA AllRookie squad and when the 125 ballots for 2006 NBA SPORTS SPECTRUM - 1/0VEMBER路 DECEMBER 1006

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CREATIUG A BUZZ

Court Presence • Chris Paul has been a leader almost all his life, both on the basketball floor and away from the game that has made him so well-known at a very young age. "If you want to be a successful leader, you are always having to prove yourself," Paul says. "Leaders are judged by what they do, not by what they say. "You can't say one thing and do another and expect teammates to accept you as a leader. And you definitely can't do that in your personal life and expect people to respect you." As a point guard, leadership involves making the right decision on a consistent basis. Whether leading the fastbreak or directing the offense from a half-court set, Paul must distribute the ball to his teammates efficiently, providing them the opportunity to score. Off the court, effective leadership also depends on making the right decisions and being a positive influence on those around you as well as those watching your every move. In his first year in the NBA, Paul spent numerous hours participating in the NBA's "Read to Achieve" program at local schools and visiting Hurricane Katrina evacuation shelters in Louisiana. "The NBA is about basketball first, but there's so much more that you have to be aware of," Paul says. "You have to constantly think about how you carry yourself and what sort of image you want to have away from the game." -JOHN JUSTUS

& Hornet's nest: Chris Paul hammers away at the New Orleans housing problem, along with WNBA stars Nikki McCray and Betty Lennox, as they assist Habitat for Humanity. (Below) Paul plays hoops with evacuees at Bethany Baptist Church on Sept. 15, 2005, in Baton Rouge.

Rookie of the Year were cast, 124 named Chris Paul. "Truly, it was a dream come true. I never thought it could happen like this," Paul admits. Paul had worked harder than ever before in preparing himself for his lirst NBA season. hiri ng a personal trainer to assist him in workouts structured to improve his already outstanding ballhandling skills, as well as strengthen hi m physically for the demanding season ahead. 'The coaching staff had let me know that they wanted me to come in and be a leader and be vocal right away," he says. "I realized that I didn't have a year to watch and learn. I was going to be playing and learning at the same time." Paul's Hornets teammates helped make his transition as smooth as possible, he says, giving special credit to veteran P. 1. Brown for his guidance and encouragement. "My teammates were very receptive," Paul says. "They let me be a leader on the floor while helping me at the same time. "And when someone like P. J. Brown, whom everyone respects so much, would ask me about certain situati ons in a ga me, it was a tremendous compliment and gave me addi tional confidence." Of course, the Hornets 05-06 season will be remembered as much for their ability to adapt to two hometowns as their resurgence as a team. Displaced from New Orleans by the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, the franchise spent most of the season with Oklahoma City as its center of operation. "Personally, I never really got a chance to become acclimated to New Orleans," Paul says, "but I still felt as if a piece of me was lost when the hurricane hit the area. "The fans in Oklahoma were great in making us feel welcome, though. And when we did have the chance to go back and play in New Orleans, the fans there were territic too. "No other team could say that they had two cities supporting them like that. We just tried to look at it all as a positive."

Life Off the Floor Adjusting to the level of basketball in the NBA is difficult enough. When the additional stress involved with the

lifestyle of an NBA player is included, the challenge for most newcomers can become daunting. For Paul, however. the extra games (almost three times as many as in a normal collegiate season), intensified spotlight and media attention, and pressure to "do this, do that" from persons on the periphery of his new lifesome well-meaning, others looki ng to share in his newfound weal th and fame-were all taken in stride. "During the season, except for the games, of course, your life is kinda boring reall y," he says. "You practice, then you rest. You practice, then you rest some more. You have to take care of your body and watch what you eat. "The travel during the season was probably the biggest adjustment." Paul has said that after home games at Wake Forest, he and his family would normally share a postgame meal at a nearby IHOP. In the NBA, the only "hoppi ng" he would do after a game was usually onto a bus or an airplane, headed home or to the next road game. The constant requests and seeming adulation from new persons in his life he also felt that he was prepared for, thanks mainly to his upbringi ng. "Even in college, you wou ld have people want ing to act like they knew you, like they were your friends." Paul t:xplains. "That didn't matter to me then, and it didn "t matter once I joined the Hornets. "I have my tight circle that supports me. They're all I really need.'" That circle includes first of all his parents, Charles and Robin, whose upbringing Paul credits with keeping him grounded spiritually and in all decisionmaki ng. His older brother C.J., who has postponed a possible career in coaching to live with Chris and serve as a business manager and advisor, is also a key member of his inner suppoll system. "I am so thankfu l that my parents raised me and C.J. to depend on God's guidance and our faith in Him, and to always be thankful for what we receive. It's not me that is really doi ng all this, but all of the blessings that any of us receive are through the grace of God, and we can never take any of that for granted." Coach Scott also credits Paul's background in playing a key role in his success as a player in the NBA. "Chris is wise beyond his years thanks to his maturi ty, his family, and the people he smTounds himself with,"

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ --34 SPORTS SPECTRUM - UOYEMBER·DECEMBER 2006

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CREATIIIG A BUZ Z

Scoll says. "Lite in the NBA is a tough step for a lot of players. and the younger you are, the tougher it can be. However. Chris was raised right and has people around him who support him."

The Future If life the first time around in the NBA was as good as it seems to have been for Paul, what can he possibly hope for in the fuwre? There's plenty. For the New Orlenns/Oklahoma City Hornets, who will ngnin have two "homes" during the 2006-07 senson, there's that playoff berth that eluded them a yenr ago, despite Paul's brilliance. For Paul individually. he has never been satisfied with his play or content with the honors and accolades he has received. When asked about the one voter who did not name Paul on his Rookie of the Year ballot last season, he laughed while saying, "Guess there's still some-

one out there that I have to prove something to next year."' Coach Byron Scott expects a better point guard for his club as well. ·'Everything was new to him last senson:· Scotl says, ·'but now he has one yenr under his belt and has seen how certain guys play. Plus, we have a team with new weapons."' And then, of course. there's USA Basketball and the '08 Olympic Team and a gold medal to be won. Paul is also very much interested in a future that involves "giving back" to his hometown and mak ing a difference in the lives of less fortunate young people there. Before he played his first NBA game. he fi nanced the renovation of basketball courts at a Winston-Salem recreation center where he had played as a youngster. He has plans to fund a scholarship to Wake Forest for an area swdent each year through the CP3 Foundation that

he has established in conjunction with civic leaders in his hometown. This September. that foundation staged the first "Chris Paul WinstonSalem Weekend," which included a community youth fomm, banquet, basketball clinic. celebrity bowling touma-

ment. and community church service. None of this surprises those folks in and around Winston-Salem who have known Paul and watched him develop into the young man he is today, including his former college coach. "A lot of people talk about giving back to their church, community, high s<.:huul. college- all the places that impacted their development,.. Wake Forest's Prosser says. "Few actually do it. ··Jtell the kids at my basketball camp ... if you want to be like Cl11i Paul, you' ll study hard. you'll be respectful of your parents, you'll cut the grass when they want you to. you' ll be faithful in atlending church on Sundays. It's not just about athletic ability." While Paul undoubtedly nppreciates the kind words from his former coach, the endorsement of his current one, and nil the other praise thm hns been his to henr the past 12 months, he maintains a steadiness and a focus all his own. "As I went through the past year, I just kept trying to have fu n. knowing that I was playing ba ketball at the highest level, and remain humble, keeping in mind that all thi could be taken nway from me as fast ns it was hnppening,"' he snys. 0

A Got Gottleib? Chris Paul, accompanied by his coach Byron Scotl, holds the Eddie Gotllieb Trophy, which honors Paul for being named the 2006 NBA Rookie of the Year.

..,. Float like a butterfly, sting like a ... Hornet. Chris Paul of the Rookie team takes the ball to the basket against second-year players Luol Deng {9) and Dwight Howard (12) at the T-Mobile Rookie Challenge game at the 2006 NBA All-Star Weekend in February in Houston. The Sophomores defeated the Rookies 106-96.

Jolm Justus is a f reelance II'riter and VP of Publishing for /SP Sports, a collegiate sports marketing company in Win ston-Sa/em, Nonh Carolina. SPORTS SPECTRUM - IIDVEMBER · DECEMBER 2006

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She is still raising him. give interviews. If team officials approached Hollywood affairs at the W Hotel that And in his way, he's still ratsmg up his her to talk about it for a magazine, she again mama. Raising her up in lifestyle and profile. drew out the likes of Rev. Run. Russell gave the media the "Shoo!" Simmons. Tyson Beckford. LOST Raising her up in praise for what she's done for She followed the team because she loved her and everyone's favorite Los Angeles him. Both of them-and older brother tooboy, and she didn't want people reading anything else into that, saying she was a Mother Hen or Clipper: Elton Brand. keep rising to higher levels. Having a better It was a couple years ago, and I approached life, each and every year. anything of that sort. Daisy Brand traveled the Brand at this party to re-introduce myself. I They didn 't want the story to get out, but they big cities, stayed at separate hotels, and for the most pru1, only met up with Elton at the games, finally had to. had done a phone interview with him for a story a year earlier and had actually met him because she wanted to give him his space to do Traveling Mama what he does so well. during the season at a game so he could put face to byline and voice. See, l got word that his mother did a highly "I've never seen anything like it," says It had been awhile. Figured he met thousands unusual thing in the NBA: She follows her son to Clippers chaplain Robert L. Cummings Sr. "I've and thousands of people over that time. So, allow every NBA game. Sees every home game. Travels traveled the road and seen her, and she is an me to re-introduce myself. .. with the team and sees every road game. amazing woman. She keeps her distance from him because she doesn't want to Walked up to him and his boys. Said, "Hey. Elton. I' m interfere with the team. But she not sure if you remember me, lets him know that she's there but .. :¡ for suppot1 by her very presHe quickly interrupted, sayence. That's all it is. You'll see ing. "Man. I know who you Elton give kisses to his mom, are." before breaking out in a see the way he interacts with everybody. see her, and know hearty laugh and big smile. ''Quit re-introducing yourself this all comes from a strong to me! I know who you are by Christian background and her now,'' before greeting me by love for him. She does all this in support of her son." name and introducing me to In 2005-06, Elton had his his friends. Then we started best NBA season by far. The 6talking about the past, his present, and the future-and ask8, 256-pound power forward has always been one of the 30 ing me about me. best players in the league, but This is typical Elton. I later learned he knows everybody. after leading the Clippers to a Everybody by name. In the 30 Western Conference semifi nals finish and placing sevNBA arenas, he practically has enth in the NBA MYP voting, every ballboy, autograph-seekBrand is now approaching ing fan. and arena employees' superstar status. names memorized in his BlackHis 24.7 points, 10 rebounds, berry of a brain. Who is that lady who always seems to It's why he's considered the and 2.5 blocks per game and kindest star in the NBA. The be in the crowd when the Clippers play? the Clippers' new-found winning status have certainly put most genuine. Why he wins the focus on him. those NBA citizenship awards. That's Daisy Brand, who knows that With this in mind, I tried a He's the guy who always a little home cooking goes a long way asks the media if they got everyfew months ago to coax Daisy into telling her story, saying the thing they need before he leaves with her son story would come out sooner or the locker room. If one person later, so why not tell her version needs more quotes, he sticks around for that one person. of this special story before the BY DARRYL HOWERTON national media descended on That's why he always makes the Los Angeles for the playoffs. I NBA All-Interview teams. got Elton and Clippers media This type of feedback is the stuff that makes any mother proud. A son who This is not done. And until recently, it was relations director Rob Raichlen to convince her definitely unheard of-but only because Elton's too, and after a month's worth of persuasion, she is genuinely friendly with everyone-be they finally talked. mother, Daisy Brand, refused to talk about it. friends, acquai ntances or total strangers. Being a strong Christian mother, she didn't Daisy, a formidable presence at 6-feet tall, It says a lot about the way he was raised. To explained her actions very matter-of-factly, use the phrase "the way he was raised," howevwant her actions to be misunderstood. To be misinterpreted. For his entire 7-year NBA career, saying, "I'm not doing this for worldly opinion. er, is not completely accurate. You see, his We're spiritual people, and I believe I need to mother is still around him, and she talks to him she has made it to almost all of Elton's gamessupport my son spiritually. So I didn't want most days of the week. She's still involved in home and on the road- to no fanfare. If beat reporters got wind of her story, the his life. Still as close to Elton as she has been people thinking I'm trying to get publicity for road would end there because she wouldn't worldly gain. I do this because this is what I for the past 27 years. t was a poolside party. One of those

RAVE MOM, WILL ...RAVEL Elton Brand

â&#x20AC;˘

WEB SITE : www.S po rtsSpec t rum.com

SPORTS SPECTRUM - NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2006

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HAVE MOM, WILL TRAVEL

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want to do. Elton is an incredible son. but even low her NBA son for the fi rst seven seasons of One Big Happy Family incredible sons need support when you're in a his career, missing only a handful of games in high-profile business like the NBA. the process. Maybe it's the family atmosphere that the Brands "Elton is 27, but he still has to deal with a lot bring to the Clippers. A lot has changed in those years. The Clippers, seeing that Daisy was no distraction from the of pressure that comes with playing in the NBA. Or possibly, it's the strong core of Christians team. have decided to let her fly on their chm1ered That doesn't change if you're 7 or 27. He needs that make up the Clips. another opinion when life throws temptations flights for the last few years now, much to the Or perhaps it's just the veteran presence of Sam and new challenges at him. Every player needs Cassell and Cutt ino Mobley-with Cassell's delight of Elton, who worries less about her now another set of eyes to observe everyone who tries that she's with the team. blabbering mouth that has loosened up the to enter [his] life. I'm Elton's friend and I'm his She also has helped other Clipper Moms get Cli ppers to levels of looseness they've never mother. I'm his entourage. Some guys travel on board the follow-your-son ni ght plan, with seen before. with a bunch of guys. For us, this just came as the moms of Cut tino Mobley and former "I've been here 4 years, and this past season, I natural." Clipper Chris Wilcox making a bunch of tri ps saw a big-time change in the team," says chapel It's natu ral because Mama Brand has seen last year. leader Cummi ngs. "A 200-percent change. almost all of Elton's games his whole life. Daisy, There's a character about the guys that wasn't And the Clippers love her, with the players hav ing taken to calling her Mom and asking her there as much before. You can just see the change who played high school basketball in New York, would practice with her son when he was growto bring cookies on road trips. in camaraderie. They're clapping and cheering for ing up in a one-parent. one-brother each other more. They're there for household. She'd be there to root each other. It's definitely a different him on throughout his storied high altitude." school career in Peekskill, New Cummings talks about how conYork, and his 2-year college career nected he feels to the players. How at Duke. they' II seek him out for prayer before games. How Corey Maggelle When he was selected No. I in the 1999 NBA Draft by the Chicago will ask for prayer about his foot ailBulls, Daisy moved in with her son ments, or Shaun Livingston for his back injury. How they' ll lock up for 6 months to help him get acclimated to the new city. When she before games in the arena tunnels for decided she wanted to stay in pregame prayer. "We're so connectChicago, the two had a talk because ed," says Cummings, also known as she had this crazy idea that she "Rev" to the players. "We lock hands, wanted to travel to all his road pray for safety and wisdom. The games too. whole team. We lock up before those "We had to have a talk because I games, and we are famil y." wanted to go to all of his games, And the bond goes beyond basbut I didn't want to interfere with ketball. his preparation," says Daisy. "But it "You see Elton and the relationwas something I wanted to do." ship he has with his mom," says • Name Brand Product: Along with his high school coach Elton explains, "I knew I would Cummings, "and it brings all the Lou Panzanaro (who now runs the center), Elton and Daisy unveiled players and their fami lies closer have a very busy schedule with C.A.M.P. Inc. (Comprehensive Action Model for Peeksklll)together. You see the ethics and valthe team. She didn't want to dis- a reading and learning center for teens in his hometown of tract me from doing my job, so we Peekskill, New York-on August 27, 2004. Elton contributed $250,000 ues of Elton. He has character to the center's development. You can read more about this at beyond character. He is so very permade it work." Brand was concerned that he www.campinc.us/ sonal-a people person. would be won·ied about her where"And then you look over in the abouts and safety constantly locker room, and you see a guy like through the trips. Daisy said, "Elton would say, And, no, this uncommon story has not led to Sam Cassell, who might be most responsible for teammates making fun of Elton, calling him a 'Mom, I can't be worrying about you on the road. the change. The fire was on before, but Cassell I've got to wotT)' about a lot of other things too. I Mama's Boy or anyth ing like that, as Elton defi nitely turns it up a notch. He's got the water explains, "Everybody knows I' m no Mama's can't be woJTying about you.'" boiling now. Because he understands players. He But after taking things on a trip-by-trip basis, Boy. I might be nice, but I'm tough and my teamunderstands people. He knows the roles of each Daisy showed that Elton wouldn't have to be mates know that." player and knows how to get them to play it. Plus he knows how to win." responsible for her, and she wou ld be fine on her Daisy says the whole 7-year experience, which own, not interfering with his time or preparation she plans on continuing this season, has been Put that all together and you see why this is for games on the road. nothing but a blessing. one big happy family. Another tri p led to another-and 41 road "Even when we don't get together on the "It's defi nitely been the most fun I've had in my games later Daisy had made it through an entire road," says Daisy, "my primary reason for being 7 years of playing in the NBA," confirms Elton. And as always, Mom is there to watch. 0 around is to let him know if he needs me, I' m not NBA season of luggin' luggage, flying commercial flights at the earliest and latest of hours, and far away. The love and support doesn't stop just because he's in the NBA. seeing all 82 Chicago Bull games as her son won Danyl Howe non is a veteran NBA journalist 1999-2000 NBA Rookie of the Year honors. "We might not see each other every day," she who writes for HOOP magazine, the The experiment worked. And thus the bl uesays, "but he knows if he needs me, I'm one official lifestyle publication of the NBA. He print was set for how this NBA mom would folphone call away." lives in Los Angeles. 38

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HE'S BEEN IN THE NHL SINCE 1987, BUT LONGEVITY AND HIS FIRST STANLEY CUP ARE NOT LEADING GLEN WESLEY TO HANG UP HIS INFLUENCE JUST YET •

BY DAVE POND

Perseverance.

Before winning the 2006 Stanley Cup as a member of the Carolina Hurricanes, Glen Wesley had played 169 career playoff games in the National Hockey League-28 more than any other active player in the league. Beaten, battered, and bruised, Wesley provided solid defense during Carolina's run to the Cup, blocking 56 shots as the Hurricanes knocked off Montreal in opening-round play, dominated New Jersey in the conference semifinals, and claimed hard-fought, seven-game victories over Buffalo and Edmonton to win the first championship in franchise history. It was the fourth time that the 18-year NHL veteran had played for hockey's highest honor. But over the years, Wesley's chase for the Cup was never a distraction to his true quest in life: To use the talents he has been blessed with in furthering God's kingdom. "My eternal salvation is far more important to me-it's more important to have that eternal security and one day be at the feet of the Lord than to be at the foot of the Cup," Wesley says. "Life here on earth is temporary, and heaven is eternal." As last season's championship became a memory, it would have been easy for Wesley to pack up his skates for the last time and opt for retirement. But he's back on the blue line for another season in Raleigh, helping the Hurricanes in their attempt to repeat as NHL champions. "What it came down to was that I think God is using me here for a purpose and a reason-not only for hockey but also for sharing what He has done in my life," Wesley says. "He has given me a platform to share what He has done for me and to share what having that eternal security is all about. "Our time on earth is short, and sooner or later we all have to make that decision in life, because we know that one day we are going to stand before Him, be held accountable and know that we're either going to heaven or going to hell." It was through facing earthly death that the Red Deer, Alberta, native came to everlasting life. Wesley grew up in the church, but it wasn't until 1992 that he learned of a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. "My wife, Barb, had just lost her mom, and I started to see her grow closer to God through that experience," Wesley says. "In the meanwhile, I had lost my dad, who had accepted Christ before he died at 75 years old. "It really made me sit down and look at what was important in life," he says. "Seeing how easily you can lose a loved one and yet know that you can have eternal security really changed my life, my perspective, 40

SPORTS SPECTRUM - NOVEMBER - DECEMBER 2006

and what was most important to me." While spiritual matters hold ultimate importance to Wesley, he's not about to downplay the importance of winning that Stanley Cup. As tradi tion stands in the NHL, each member of an NHL-championship team gets to spend 24 hours with the Stanley Cup, and Wesley used a significant portion of his time to share it with a group of injured combat veterans. Wesley, Barb, and their children spent time visiting Mari nes in Camp Lejeune's "Wounded Warriors" barracks, and according to an NHL Hall of Fame staff member, it was the first time that any recipient had taken the trophy to a military base. "When we walked in there, I didn't know what to expect," Wesley says. "It was a great experience to be able to hear stories about them going to war, for me to be able to share about hockey, and mainly just be a bunch of guys goofing off and trading real-life stories. "To be able to share that with them was one of the most rewarding things I've ever done." The next afternoon, the Wesley family shared their Stanley Cup experience with members of their church, Colonial Baptist Church in Cary, North Carolina. "It really went well with Glen's desire to glorify God in every part of his life," according to Colonial worship pastor David Loftis. "God has given Glen a real opportunity of influence, and this was just another step in that direction." More than 4,000 people attended the event, with ushers and church leaders on

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.hand to share God's love with the unreached, those questioning their faith, and those just there to kiss the Cup. But for Wesley, it was a chance to give back to a place where he wasn't revered as a world-famous athlete-he was just Glen. "Being able to come here and be myself is all part of the church atmosphere," he says. 'They are a part of my family, and to be able to share that time with them was very important to me. "I go to church with my family to worship our God, hear the Word and the Truth," We ley says. '·No matter what we do for a living, that's one thing we all have in common as Christians-l' m no bigger or better than anyone else." One can only imagine the temptations that professional hockey players face on a nightly basis-what with trips to 2 1 NHL cities on this season's schedule. But by keeping focused on God's teaching and his glory, Wesley has found it possible to avoid the pitfalls that have been the downfall of so many high-profile athletes. "We're all accountable to God," he says. "When you are on the road, there are temptations and situations that you are put into, and it's really about mak ing that decision to say no to those things. "It really doesn't change when you're at home or on the road," he observes. "It 's spending time in His Word, spending time in prayer, and livi ng out life as we are called to do. Tho e are the things you really need to be able to live for each day." When times do get tough, the veteran

blue liner feels blessed to be able to share his struggles not only with his wife and family but also with a pair of accountability partners who challenge him and walk with him in faith. "I'm very thankful and f011unate that God has put them in my life," he said. "We're always in contact with each other, helping to push each other toward Christ. "I think that's the biggest difference in an accou ntability partner and a friend," Wesley said. '·An accountabi lity partner will ask you those tough questions and challenge you where you are struggling. I consider it a blessing to be able to have them in my life, and I know I can go to them, talk

about anything and not be afraid." During the NHL's lockout two seasons ago, many players chose to play hockey overseas, but Wesley stayed home and served Christ on missions trips to Italy and St. Lucia. "Looking back, that was a really important time of my life-1 still consider that a year I spent not knowing what would happen for me," he says. "One of the most rewarding things for me was being there and seeing my daughter talking to people, doing street evangelism, and sharing her faith. "It really helped put things into perspective in my life, being there with kids who want to share the gospel and share about their personal relationship with Christ." Glen Wesley is a gifted athlete who readily shares his true passion with anyone who will listen. God's love is available to anyone, he says, no matter what you've done, where you've been, or where you are-all you have to do is invite Christ into your heart. "God wants us all to have that relationship with His Son, Jesus Christ," Wesley says. "That's the most important thing- not being rich, not winning the Stanley Cup. That's why His Son made that sacri lice for us, why He came here to earth and why He was here." And that, Wesley agrees, is the ultimate example of perseverance. 0

..,. Stanley visits the troops: Glen Wesley and his family-wife Barb, daughter Amanda, and sons Josh and Matthewtook the Stanley Cup with them on a visit to the "Wounded Warriors " barracks at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.

Dave Pond covers the Hurricanes for carolinahurricanes.com. He and his family live in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Cam1 Cody1 & CoiiD.

6 Cam's Conn: Ward displays the Conn Smythe trophy after Game 7 of the Finals in June.

• A year ago, 22-year-old Carolina goaltender Cam Ward was a seldom-used rookie, appearing in 28 games for the Hurricanes as a backup to Martin Gerber. But in the postseason, Ward skated onto the ice and backstopped Carolina to the first Stanley Cup championship in franchise history. For his efforts, he received the Conn Smythe trophy, given to the playoffs' most valuable player. Championship parades, celebrations, and media appearances followed, as would another blessed event- Ward married his hometown sweetheart, Cody, on July 22. After a honeymoon in Kawai, Ward's busy summer continued as the couple closed on their first home in late August. Now in his sophomore season, Ward continues to use his stardom as a platform to share his love for Jesus Christ. "Since I joined the Hurrica nes last year, I've been overwhelmed with the support I've received from the whole community," he says. "On a more personal level, Glen (Wesley] has really embraced me and Cody, and it's something I really appreciate." "There are always going to be ups and downs in hockey," Ward says, "but one thing that you can be sure of is your faith, and know that you can always look to Christ for strength." -DAVE POND

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CHRISTIANS DON'T ALWAYS HAVE EVERYTHING GO THEIR WAY-

WHETHER THEY ARE NFL KICKERS OR REGULAR GUYS WITH REAL PROBLEMS. JUST ASK JASON ELAM AND JOSH BIDWELL.

Josh Bidwell BY BOB BE LLONE

â&#x20AC;˘ The rookie punter was sky high after landing his dream job in the National Football League. He was about to learn that his very life was up in the air. Eleven days were all that separated Josh Bidwell from his 1999 debut with the Green Bay Packers and the time he was diagnosed with testicular cancer. His season ended that September afternoon on a Wisconsin operating table. Bidwell, now in his third year with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, endured greater pain while hurriedly breaking the news to family and friends before they could hear it that night on television. Leaving his father so far away with a feeling of helplessness hit home. "That was one of the worst moments of my life," Bidwell says. The University of Oregon product was the picture of health during training camp, but his condition quickly deteriorated. A second surgery and months of aggressive chemotherapy melted 40 pounds off his 6-foot-3 frame and weighed heavily on his mind. "I was thinking, 'Do we even keep going? Is this ever going to get better?' "My prayer was for the pain and the discomfort that I was going through and for the people around me to see God's strength in me," he says. .,.. League leader: In his second season with the Bucs in 2005, Josh Bidwell led the NFC in punting, averaging 45.6 yards per punt.

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Bidwell exhibited strength on the first day of his ordeal, when a distraught childhood friend capped a string of telephone calls by wondering aloud, "Why you?" Says Bidwell : "I never asked God, ' Why me?' because I'm just a firm believer that every situation we're given is for His glory and His honor. I was definitely honored that He trusted me with this challenge, but I was fearful of the journey I was going to take to get it done."

NO Two former college teammates now with the Miami Dolphins remember their initial reactions. "He was young. It made you think that if it can hap' pen to Josh, it can happen to any one of us," quarterback Joey Harrington says. "I was shocked. It just goes to show you that bad things happen to good people," tight end Justin Peelle says. "We prayed for him and hoped everythi ng went well. I knew if anybody could overcome it, it would be Josh."


From the onset, God sent help. Lacking the health insurance coverage that would have kicked in at the beginning of the regular season. Bidwell benefited instead from the immense generosity of the Packers and fans barely familiar with him. Bidwell, now 30, also received encouragement from others in the sports world. He communicated with disabled professional golfer Casey Martin and perennial Tour de France champion cyclist Lance Armst rong, whose own successful bout with the disease included treatments by the same surgeon and the same chemotherapist. The loving care he received from his future wife reached deep into his hem1. Josh and Bethany Bidwell met 9 years ago at a gathering of Christian athletes in his apartment. The senior host was immediately auracted to the freshman softball player. .. , thought, 'Man, th is is an amazing gal. She is as beautifu l as any woman I've ever seen in my life in Bible study,'" he says. ·'J put the full-cour1 press on her. It took a lillie bit of time and effort, but she caved in and I' m thankful for that." Bethany was packing for a missionary trip to Costa Rica when she sensed a greater calling in Green Rny. "She llew overn ight to be by my side,'· Josh says. His girlfriend became a Jurman crutch for Bidwell during his recovery with her and her parents in their family home near the Oregon campus. "She would sleep on the lloor next to the bed that I was in for a couple of months, because J wou ldn't be able to get up on my own," he says. "I've never been served in such a way in my entire Iife." Bethany is certain his weight wasn't entirely on her shoulders. "It was extremely difficult, but at the same time it was one of the easier things I've done in my life," she says, "only because I felt God cmTied us through it all." The couple manied in June 2000 and was blessed with a son shor1Jy after Christmas 2005. A second child is due in late Febmary. "We thought it might have been just the two of us and maybe we'd adopt," Bethany says, "but for Josh to be able to create a child was a miracle in itself." On the field, Bidwell capitalized on WEB SITE: www.S portsS p ec t rum .com

four solid seasons in Green Bay by signing as a free agent with Tampa Bay. Aside from financial rewards, he was treated to vastly improved weather conditions, which li kely contributed to his being named a Pro Bowl alternate in 2004. Honored, yet unfulfilled, Bidwell set a franchise record last year with a 45.6yard punting average en route to his fi rst Pro Bowl appearance. He is eager to make Aloha Stadium a regular postseason stop. "Playing in multiple Pro Bowls is a personal goal of mine," he says. ·'God has put football in my life for a reason. I' m called by His Word to give 100 percent effor1, to be the best that I can benot just character-wise. but athletically -at my position." Among the most emotional games for Bidwell was his triumphant return last year to Lambeau Field. In a 17- 16 victory against the Packers, he earned

NFC Special Teams Player of the Week honors with a performance highlighted by a 57-yard punt. "That was a great day for me because I was playing against a lot of friends of mine," he says, '·and I was playing back at Lambeau, which was a place that was very special to me." But the frigid wi nters there likely delayed his first business trip to Honolulu. "I definitely feel like I would have made it earlier if I wasn't kicki ng in cold air. The environment makes all the difference in the world," he says. Bidwell 's world revolves around God, who enabled him to survive cancer and embrace a family and career he had only imagined. The veteran punter is sky high. 0

• Sports fam: Josh's wife, Bethany, was a softball pitcher while at the University of Oregon. Their son Brady was born in late 2005.

Bob Bellone writes for The Tampa Tribune and freelances for The Associated Press. SPORTS SPEC TR UM - HOVE MB ER· DECEMBER 2006

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AGAINST THE \'/IUD ------------------- --- ---- - --- - - -- --------- -- -- ---- - ------- --------- ---- ------------ - - - -- - - ---- - ---- ---------- - - ~

Jason Elam BY JO SHUA COOL EY

â&#x20AC;˘ Jason Elam watched in a state of surreal wonder as the small twinengine Piper Seneca pointed its nose toward the heavens and slowly ascended into the bitter Alaskan sky. Just 24 hours earl ier, life for one of the NFL's best all-time kickers was cruising along as usual. But now here Elam was, abruptly uprooted from the normalcy of his home in the Denver suburbs and stuck in an obscure airport in Kenai, Alaska, watching a plane fade into the fi rmament canying his wife, who had just suffered a miscarriage. Tamy Elam, who was traveli ng on a short-term missions trip with her mother and a friend, noticed the possible signs en route from Denver to Anchorage on April 23. She called Jason with the news late that night ~ What's next? If Jason Elam scores 100 or more points in 2006, he will tie the NFL record of 14 straight seasons with 100 or more points. Gary Anderson and Morten Anderson share that record. Elam has scored more than 1,500 points In his career.

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before her Anchorage-to-Kenai flight departed. By the ti me Jason arrived in Kenai the next day, Tamy had received confirmation from several ultrasounds at two different hospitals: The couple had lost their baby j ust 8 weeks into development. Initially, Jason, the Denver Broncos' longtime kicker, balked at the idea ofTamy's contin uing her trip. But his worries were soon assuaged by the reassurances of several doctors and-of all th ings-the resolve of his wife. Without room for hi m on the small plane, Jason was left behind while Tamy and her group continued on. "Tamy felt so strongly about going," Jason says. "It was an overwhelming feeling for her, so it was like, I've got to let her go." What transpired afterwards was an amazing story of faith in the midst of great hardship and God's marvelous hand iwork within the trial.

"It was one thing after another where God showed us how he was using us and our baby," Tamy says. The Elams, who have four other children, had been anticipating Tamy's trip for qui te a while. The mission, Arctic Barnabas Ministries, was founded by friends of theirs, Joel and Gail Caldwell, in 2000 as an organization that provides encouragement and support to many missionary families in remote Alaskan villages, where hope is often in shorter supply than hours of sunlight on a winter's day. Tamy's trip was to two small Aleut villages, Old Harbor and Larsen Bay, on Kodiak Island, off the coast of Alaska's southwestern panhandle. Winter in the region often brings less than seven hours of sunlight a day, with the sunset coming shortly after 3 p.m. But the spiritual gloom of the area is worse. Many of the native villages in Alaska have been firmly in Satan's grip for centuries, held captive by the longstanding presence of the non-Christian churches, old tribal customs, or no


AGAII<ST THE WIIID

religion at all. The seasonal darkness and spiritual emptiness in the region drive many of the natives to domestic violence, sexual and substance abuse, and suicide. "It's like a third-world counlry in most places," Tamy says. Missionary families aren't immune to the bleakness. According to Joel Caldwell, some in the past have quit after a short time, while other couples have divorced. In this spiritual climate, the care-giving outreach of Arctic Barnabas is a godsend. "It's tough." Caldwell said of the missionary families. 'They get burned out, and they're struggling." Despite Tarny's determination to press on, there were moments of difficulty and doubt. Without anything but a satellite phone for emergencies. she did not speak to Jason at all during her 4-day endeavor. Once in the Aleut vil路lages, however, she became quickly aware of the Lord's presence and plan. "I was in a daze or a fog, so I did something bold," she says. "I asked God: ' I know you have a purpose for this, but would you please let me know?' I've never understood why God allows miscarriages. God is so gracious. From that point on, I really felt that He opened up the plan book. and [revealed] all the miracles and all the hearts he touched.'' Tamy's group encouraged the missionary wives and spent time with many native women-about 340 between the two villages-in tea parties and other social settings. Natives whose reticence had seemed impenetrable to the missionaries shockingly opened up when Tamy shared about her miscarriage. Many revealed their stories of emotional and spiritual pain. Some asked for prayer. At least one woman accepted Christ. Joel Caldwell said the results of Tamy's trip were "phenomenal.'' "God can work through a miscarriage, and he certainl y did." Tamy says. "We told them, if he can work through an 8-week-old fellls, he can definitely work through them." For Jason, the experience helped sharpen his perspective. He has enjoyed great success in his 14-year NFL career, tying the league record for longest field goal (63 yards, 1998) and ranking in the Top I0 in numerous other all-time kicking categories. But April's difficult trial helped reestablish football's relatively low imporWE B S ITE : www.SportsSpec tru m.com

~ Mission trip: Tamy Elam and Ginger Mayer fly to remote parts of Alaska to help people in need. T Storytlme. Tamy and Ginger read stories to Josiah and Esther, the two children of the ministry family at Old Harbor, Alaska. This family ministers to the people of this vi llage, and Arctic Barnabas Ministries ministers to this family.

tance in the grand scheme of things. "It doesn't even compare," the 36year-old says. "The whole thing of football-it's what I do, but it's not who I am.'' The Elams are persevering through th is spiritual test with remarkable humility and faith. 'T he one verse that I really like is in Acts 14." Jason says. "One version says we must endure hardshipsanother version says we must endure suffering-to get in to the kingdom. It's inevitable that we're going to have adversity in this life. I thin k God allows us to go through these things because we're supposed to be di fferent. When we go through these things, the world sees how we handle th ings differently.'' The Elams are continuing to search

for ways to serve God. In March, Jason is planning to co-lead a group of NFL players on a Holy Land tour of Israel. He has been attending seminary in the offseason, and his pilot's license has him considering joining Arctic Barnabas after NFL retirement. "I' m sure I'll be doing something in ministry." he says. "I just don't know what that will be.'' No matter what the future holds, the Elams wi ll be forever changedthrough God's grace. for the betterby their loss last spring. "No life, even a small life, is a worthless life to God," Tamy says. "He had a purpose.'' 0 Joshua Cooley works for the Baltimore Examiner and lil'e.l' in Germantoll'n, Marrlcmd. SPORTS SPECTRU M - II OVEMB ER路DECE MBER 2006

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Straight Talk With ...

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Daviclakemi KICKER, PHILADELPHIA EAGLES Pro Bowl kicker 2001, 2002, 2004 • Played in Super Bowl XXXIX • To the casual observer, kicking a football may seem like a small, insignificant exercise, but this job is packed with pressure. To win football games you must score points, and that's my job- to score points by kicking an oblong ball through two poles. I can score two ways: by kicking from anywhere on the field for three points (a field goal), or by kicking what's commonly called the "extra point," kicked from about the 10-yard line after touchdowns for one point ("Point After Touchdown," or "PAT"). I've kicked more than 200 PATs in my career, and each of them has been very important. My team needs me to be automatic. If I fail, even once, I put my team in a hole. My job converting PATs is crucial to our success. "P-A-T" is not only an appropriate acronym for the football field- it also works well spiritually. It is a clear, concise way to sharing eternal truth. I like breaking the gospel down into three main points. 'D ... is for Person. Jesus Christ r is the one and only Son of God. He was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, and performed all the miracles predicted of the Messiah in the Old Testament. He is unique. He came as God in human flesh. The Bible says of Jesus: "In

the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We ~ have seen His glory, the glory f of the One and Only, who came from the Father" (John 1:1, 14). is for Action. Jesus loved all of us so much that He died on the cross for our sins. He then rose from the dead and ascended back to heaven. God loves us, but as a perfectly holy and just God, He must punish sin. We have all sinned against God, broken His laws, and rebelled against Him. Jesus paid the price for all of us. "God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God" {2 Corinthians 5:21). is for Trust. God invites us to be forgiven of all sin and to receive eternal life, not by trying to do good works, but by trusting in Jesus as Lord and Savior. Salvation is a free gift of God. We cannot earn it; we must simply accept it. We do so by putting all our trust in Jesus. "If you confess with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord; and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved" (Romans 10:9). If you would like to trust Jesus as Savior, begin by praying a prayer something like this: "Dear God, thank You for sending Jesus to earth to die for us on the cross. I know that I am a sinner and that I need Your forgiveness. I put my trust in what Jesus did on the cross for me, and I ask You to forgive my sin and give me eternal life. Thank You for allowing me to know You personally through faith." 0

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Writer William Campbell assisted David with this article.


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Profile for Sports Spectrum

2006 November/December  

Chris Paul (Cover story)

2006 November/December  

Chris Paul (Cover story)