Monday, September 21, 2009

What do we know about the Gators after the weekend?

Well, the hyped up weekend is over. Lame Kitten came to town, blustered, coughed, choked as a coach, sprinted off the field to avoid being questioned by CBS (only to be brought back on the field to answer the questions), and then left town without singing Rocky Top all night long. Sorry, Lame but that's the first of many promises you will make but can't keep. He should be very glad his dad has his back or that would have been an ugly game! Oh and it helps to have a guy in the middle of your defense like Eric Berry. He's a great player. Not quite a Heisman worthy player as some of my Vol friends want to think, but he was the difference in a good game and a blowout on Saturday. But what do we know about the Gators after that game?

First we know the Swamp was rocking on Saturday. Florida fans definitely get up for the big games. It was so loud you had to scream to talk on the sidelines all game long and that fourth down play was as loud as it's been in a long time! The fans gave it to Lame all day long. It was a great atmosphere inside the stadium.

Second, Florida fans are getting a little over the top. I actually heard a ten or twelve year old kid tell three Tennessee college students that their mascot, Smokey, was a gay dog! To which the college student responded, "Dang, I knew there would be a lot of trash talking, but from a kid!" Hey you gotta start them young in the SEC! But there were actually fans disappointed that we didn't hang 50 or more on them. They still have guys who get scholarships to play as well and they are from the SEC! Even still if we punch in 4 of the 5 trips to the red zone, it might have gotten there.

Third, even when we don't play our best, we are still a really good football team. It seemed like the Vols were running all over us, but at one point I looked at the score board and we had only given up a little over 100 yards rushing. We had some guys sick with the flu and some guys hurt that made our offense a little sluggish. See the above paragraph for another reason our offense didn't look like normal. But even so, we are 1-0 in the SEC East and 3-0 on the season. We set the record for consecutive wins and now hold the advantage for the first time in the series with Tennessee. There are a lot of positive things that came out of that game.

Fourth, it's really good to have Tim Tebow on your side. There might not be another one like him in our lifetime, so enjoy watching him now. The scramble play late in the game is the stuff of legends. He just refuses to lose or be stopped. Oh, it happens, but not often and not for lack of effort. Yes, he fumbled in the red zone, and I know Rebs, you stopped him once! But that guy just steps up and gets it done. The collision with Berry was the hardest hit I've seen up close. It sounded like two rams colliding in the mountains on an episode of the Wild Kingdom. I was shocked that they both got up. You gotta give them both credit as great players for not backing down in that situation.

Finally we know that the college gameday crew picked the wrong place to spend a Saturday. The atmosphere on campus was crazy. You could feel the excitement all day long. I had hoped that with ESPN getting the rights to some SEC games that GameDay wouldn't be so motivated to be at the location for their ABC game, but I guess some things just don't change. It was an awesome weekend capped off with a birthday celebration for my son complete with post game cake! I would have shared it with Fowler and Kirk, and maybe even Corso! Maybe....

Friday, September 18, 2009


There is a different feel to Gainesville this week, especially noticeable today. There is anticipation in the air. It's real. You can almost feel it. It's quiet, yet you hear the noise building. It still, but there's a restlessness that is stirring. The anticipated day is almost here. For those who are not college football fans, doubt you are reading this if you are not, the Tennessee Vols come to town tomorrow to play the Gators in the Swamp. That means it's SEC football time in Gainesville!

That would usually be enough to make it a special weekend, but this year the intensity in the rivalry has been jacked up a notch or twenty because of the comments by the new coach of the Vols, Lane Kiffin, AKA Lame Kitten in these parts! If you haven't read them or heard them, they you really aren't a sports fan and probably just need to skip to the last paragraph. If you have heard them you probably have your opinion on them. Much like those who disagree with Kayne's outburst many feel that it was brash, arrogant, and maybe a little stupid to call out Coach Meyer and the Gators. Others think he was just firing up his fan base or trying to make a name for Tennessee football on the national scene. Some even say he was trying to make the Vols relevant again in the discussion of big time college football. There is only one problem I have had with his comments. Ready? He hasn't done squat yet! He started running his mouth before he ever coached his players. I'm sure he had seen some film, looked at the guys in meetings, and maybe even saw them workout, but they hadn't thrown a pass, made a block, or made a guy miss even. His personal coaching record is nothing to make you go wow. Yeah, he was on a great staff at USC, but since then he's gotten fired and accused of lying by his boss. So how does running your mouth make you relevant?

Those who know me know I'm not a fan of the Miami Hurricane football team. But after last night's beating of Georgia Tech, they are relevant again in the discussion of ACC champions and maybe even for a trip to Pasadena. That's the way to make your program relevant again. Win the big games on National TV! You can't talk your way back to swagger U, you only get that from your play on the field. Hard as it is for me to say, maybe Lame could learn some things from Randy Shannon. (That will help him more than I will ever know!) And that's an inside joke for some!

That got me thinking that we inside the church often talk about the way young unbelievers view the church as irrelevant for their lives and then talk about ways to make the church more relevant today. Maybe we should take a page from the Miami playbook and start working out our faith in the real world. It's a lot harder than just talking about it in a press conference or holding a series of meeting to discuss it. If there is to be a real Great Commission Resurgence it certainly won't happen because someone stands up in Nashville and proclaims it so! It will only happen as we who are Southern Baptists and other christians get out into the world and serve and love others the way Jesus commands us to do it. We will see what happens tomorrow in Gainesville between the Gators and the Vols, my guess is that Tim Tebow and Brandon Spikes will lead the team to make sure Kitten's words come back to haunt him, but you never know. Let's hope that we take a different path in attempting to make the church relevant for the students on our campuses today!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Civility or Just Being Nice

Patrick Swayze played a tougher than nails cooler in the movie Road House. Don't throw stones, you know you watched it at least the cleaned up version on TNT! One of his three rules was "Be Nice". It seems that that concept has been lost in our day. We are not as nice as we once were collectively. Most recently demonstrated on a huge stage by Kanye West's jumping on stage and interrupting Taylor Swifts moment last night at the awards show.
While his actions were rightly greeted by a chorus of "boos", he is only one example among many that I have witnessed over the last few weeks. There is the almost daily example of drivers who pay no attention to the right turn only lanes in Gainesville. There are the rude people who run the checkout lanes at our Wal-mart. Yep, I know at Wal-mart of all places. Then there are the photographers who clearly should know the rules of the field at Ben-Hill Griffin stadium, but still complain when they are asked to abide by the rules. It seems these days that rules are arbitrary in almost every arena of life.
Unless there is a moral obligation to not obey the rules, it provides a more civil society when we do. Many traffic jams are caused by people running the yellow if not the red lights and clogging up the intersections during rush hour or on the way home from the games. Our breaking the rule usually leads to someone else breaking them or getting mad at us because we broke the rule. And when someone breaks a rule that affects us, we get mad at them and respond in less than Christ glorifying ways. I just think the world would be a better place if we all tried to be a little more nice and civil to one another.
Maybe that's what Paul had in mind when he wrote, "Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you." Ephesians 4:32. Maybe someone should remind Kanye and the rest of us of the relevance of the scriptures. It would have made for a better ending of an awards show, maybe less of a buzz, but certainly less awkward for Taylor and Beyonce. And I believe it would make for a better world in which to live.

Friday, September 4, 2009


One of the things that should mark those of us who are believers in Jesus Christ is commitment. I mean Jesus did say "Simply let you 'yes' be 'yes' and your 'no' be 'no' which implies a level of commitment to keep your promises in Matthew 5:24. In a day and age where so many are so likely to change a plan, an appointment, or a marriage because something better comes up, that might be a word we need to revisit from time to time.

If you say you are going to do something, then you should do it. If you say when you are going to do it, you should get it done by the time you said or explain what extreme circumstances prevented you from keeping your word. My dad used to repeat the old expression to me time and time again, "A real man is a man of his word." Maybe the old timers had it right. I never remember one of my father's friends ever saying they were going to do something and then just "forgetting" or "just didn't think about it again." So maybe it's time we do the same, even when it is not the easiest thing to do or something better comes along. Maybe the opportunity isn't worth seizing if it means we have to go back on our word to seize it.

My wife and I watch Big Brother together. It's one of my concessions to get her to watch sports with me. It always seems that whatever a player on that shows says is destined to be proven as less than the truth. I'm sure most of the contestants are not that way in "real life" but they all will say one thing to a player's face and then stab them in the back to win the prize and most of the time go back on their word in the process. That's why I wouldn't want to be on that show. Survivor, heck yes! Amazing Race, let's go. Big Brother, no thanks. I don't want to have to break a commitment to someone in order to advance in a game!

But how often do we break a commitment to get something in life? We break with our commitment to our husbands or wives because we want to get something new and exciting. We break with our employer because we want to get a few more dollars. We break with our friends because someone else invites us to do something a bit more exciting. I think that might be one reason the unbelievers don't really look at our lives with a more jealous longing. We don't really keep our commitments better than anyone else. So when we say we are their friend regardless and then do something that breaks that commitment, we do more than harm a friendship, we hinder the kingdom of God from coming in power and fulfillment. Let's make a commitment to be committed to being people of our word. Whatever the cost may be. Want to join me?