UNLV Football, Signs of Hope

A 7 point victory over a team that won only one game last year, and is ranked in the bottom ten by ESPN.com doesn’t look that good on paper. In fact, only covering the spread by half a point when the other team had 4 fumbles doesn’t sound that great either. Beating the Aggies, and then explaining that they don’t play in Texas, also not great. But for those of us watching UNLV like a spouse watching their significant other on life support, this was the equivalent to the lifeless body squeezing our hand. We have now a glimmer of hope.

An offensive sequence in the fourth quarter perfectly showed why this team is different than the past two. With a first down inside their own 40 UNLV Quarterback Travis Dixon caught star receiver Ryan Wolfe on a crossing pattern, which Wolfe turned upfield and outran the entire Utah State defense for a touchdown. Holding my joy I waited, and then I heard the radio announcer say what I was expecting, “But wait, there is a flag near the 28 yard line… UNLV called for a block in the back,” and I waited to hear more, “and the four wasn’t anywhere near the play.” Surprised? Not at all, this is UNLV football.

When plays like this have happened the last few years the offensive would have cowered, and ended up punting. But on the very next play Dixon connected with a receiver for a long pass putting us inside the Utah State 20. And on the very next play Dixon ran it in for a touchdown.

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But wait, there’s more.

With the score tied at 16 and less than five minutes to play the UNLV defense held the Aggies to a defensive 3 and out, and we got the ball back around mid-field. Normally, a UNLV team would try and pound the ball into field goal range while burning clock. This year, pass after pass, getting us to the 11 yard line with 1:02 on the clock. That was when UNLV brought in the tank, Frank Summers. On the handoff Summers flattened the first Aggie that came at him, cut outside, and even bowled over his own team mate to put the rock in the end zone.

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Final Score: UNLV 23, Nip High Football 16.

Now I don’t care that it was Utah State that we beat. I don’t care that we couldn’t find the end zone until the fourth quarter. I don’t care that next week Wisconsin will make us look like a JV team. For the first time in years I saw a UNLV football team that had heart, that showed character, that found a way to win.

Now remind me of this when we are 2-10.

Matt

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Now playing: Jars Of Clay – Dead Man (Carry Me)
via FoxyTunes .

Great Music

Some up beats jams. Great to run to. Great to bob your head.

First, Linkin Park’s new joint, BLEED IT OUT. This video is also amazing, like Smooth Criminal meets bar room brawl.

Next, Kanye West’s new track, STRONGER. If you don’t like this song, you don’t like music. Seriously, this song is amazing.

Switching back to rock, TRY HONESTY by Billy Talent is just a great fast song to keep you moving at the gym or wherever.

Lastly, while not exactly new, I have been really into the new White Stripes stuff. ICKY THUMP is just great classic rock/blues, with a postmodern twist. Love the STRIPES, so glad The Racontuers was a side project for Jack White.

Good times,
matt

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Michael Vick Finds Jesus

So appearently Matt stole my post idea.  Just kidding.  Truth is the Vick stuff is a huge story right now and most of us have probably seen/heard about his press conference today.  I saw it this morning and had a few concluding thoughts about the whole situation.

1.  This is not a race issue.  I want to try and nuance this as carefully as I can but let me be clear this is the wrong tree to bark up in advancing a civil rights agenda.  Michael Vick was never targeted, nor was the authorities ever “out to get him.”  Truth is this whole things started when his cousin got busted with drugs and gave the address to the police.  The address he gave was the one where Michael Vick and his buddies were running a massive dog fighting ring.  In fact the police went there looking for drugs, not dog fighting evidence.  Naturally when they arrived they found more than they bargained for and this whole saga began.  But this whole story did not begin with a bunch of racist police looking for a way to take down Micheal Vick.  This issue has much more to to with my second point.

2.  Arrogance and Pride is what has made this such a polarizing issue.  For many who have screamed that this is a race issue, I think they have simplified it to much.  Personally, it has been an arrogance issue.  Until today Michael Vick has accepted no accountability for his actions and in many ways acted as if he is above the law.  His now infamous diatribe of speaking how people will always love him, as he strolled through a hotel lobby back in May is a perfect example of this.  What has made this such a huge story is the reason the Paris Hilton incident was so large.  Americans get tired of people who are so full of themselves and cocky that they think they can escape punishment or not have to take responsibility for what they have done.  Lying to the face of the NFL commisoner and then having his lawyer Billy Martin, read that pathetic statement of how he was innocent just weeks ago has a way of stinging the average American the wrong way.  Just how the all night partying, and drunk driving of Paris Hilton does.  So please people realize that what has outraged many Americans is not the fact that Vick is black it is that he has been very prideful and failed to show any remorse or humilty until today.  We are a forgiving nation, white or black, just look at Ray Lewis, Kobe Bryant.  But what we do not tolerate is people who will not own their bad behavior, Pete Rose, John Rocker.

3.  Michael Vick has found Jesus.  I do not want to mock this, but it did make me chuckle especially since Paris Hilton and Kobe both found him to when they where going through legal troubles.  Maybe this is a new evangelism strategy that needs to be explored… (sorry I could not resist.)  Anyway, I like that Michael Vick seemed intent on “redeeming” himself shows that just maybe he understand he is in need of redemption.  I would hope that he would redeem his actions, lifestyle, and choices.  Lord knows we are all in need of redemption, daily.

4.  Lets stop using the word “mistake” for what Vick did.  I can not tell you how many times over the last two weeks I have heard talk show host and columnist describe what Micheal Vick did as a “mistake.”  It was not a mistake and I am glad Vick did not use the word in his statement to describe his behavior.  A mistake is spilling a glass of milk, missing a zero in your checkbook, or forgetting to pick up the dry cleaning.  Its symptomatic that our culture has lost the vocabulary to accurately describe these types of events such as wrong, evil, or sin.   These are harsh words and sound awful but that is their intent, to describe or convey behavior or actions that are awful and wrong.  When we call wrong a mistake we immediatly strip away the personal responsibility and cheapen our understanding of grace and redemption.  So while I am in no position to not forgive, and hope for the redemption of Michael Vick I do believe the process begins with first understanding the severity of what he has done as not being a mistake, but a conscience decision to do wrong over an extended period of time.

I know some of these points sound a tad harsh, and I want to say that is not really my heart on the subject.  I do not want a pound of flesh from Michael Vick, I do not want him to be branded as an awful human, if anything I actually believe he is a pretty decent guy with a big heart who has trouble saying no.  Strip away all the fame, money and success and I bet he would be a guy most of us would like to hang out with, makes me wonder if all of this might actually turn out to be a blessing for Michael Vick since he is going to lose so much.

ryan

So Appartently…


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Now playing: Heavens – Patent Pending
via FoxyTunes

The Return of Great TV

Jake Keck this is for you. I would have simply emailed this to you, but sometimes I have to justify having a blog.


American Gladiators’ Returns

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Now playing: Bloc Party – Luno

a test, with a nice picture

Random picture.

Blog testing.

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Now playing: chris heifner – i Didn’t Know
via FoxyTunes

Risk and Comfort

“Every time you say no to God you change a little. Your heart gets a little harder. Your spirit dies a little. Your addiction to comfort gets a little stronger.”

John Ortberg

Does God call us to things that are easy. Usually not. First thoughts that come to mind are Moses being told to go confront the most powerful man in the world, or Shadrach to dance in a furnace. What does that mean for us today? I think that in our culture which is addicted to technology and ease we might be more prone to the idol of comfort more than anything else.

Personally speaking it is comfort and a desire for security that makes me say no to God more than anything else. This goes all the way from the little and mundane, such as turning off the TV and spending time with Jesus, or putting down my book and talk to the loquacious person at Starbucks when I would rather not; to the extraordinary like planting a church or moving overseas. What happens when we say no to God? Can we? Or is it simply ordained that we will complete the good works that he has prepared in advance for us to do? I know there are serious biblical questions here, and we could get all exegetical and examine the relevant texts to reach a conclusion. But I am asking more at a soulish level. When are hearts are hard and we ignore the promptings from the Holy Spirit what happens?

ryan

UNLV Football “… praying for a miracle”

Bill Simmons is a widower to the Boston Bruins. While the franchise still exists, he considers them dead to him, and thusly calls himself a widower.

Myself, I am a grieving spouse of a team on life support: UNLV Football.

By the end of this season, I am expecting to be a widow. Which puts me in a slightly better position than Mike Sanford becuase I will still have a job (although something tells me he has made more in the last three years than I have made in the last ten, but that is besides the point).

Things just got worse, I think. Instead of Jason Thomas the Second running our team we have red-shirt quarterback Travis Dixon at the helm. Normally, I would consider it good news that Hinds isn’t the QB anymore (To best understand the brief Rocky Hinds era think back to Donavan McNabb’s fourth quarter choke against the Patriots in the Super Bowl a few years ago. You know the one where he was so freaked out he was dry heaving on the center? Now imagine if your QB had that demeanor every series! That was the Rocky Hinds era.). Normally, I would be excited to get some young blood out there to realize his potential. Here’s my problem:

Sanford’s job is on the line and he’s throwing a freaking red-shirt freshman as our starting QB! This like playing Texas Hold-Em, getting no cards all night, being down to only one more big-blind or two in your chip stack, seeing pocket three’s and saying, “Well this is the best I’m gonna get”, and going all in. At this point you are not expecting to win, you are praying for a miracle.

Can we please make this the advertising campaign this year,

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“UNLV Football. We’re not expecting to win, We’re praying for a miracle.”

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Michael Savage San Francisco and Moral Relativism

This is Michael Savage. For those of you who do not know him he is one of the most prolific and widely listened to political talk show hosts in the country. He is about as controversial as they come, in fact he is probably more polarizing than Michael Vick. His opinions are often venomous and even hate filled. I have listened to him quite a few times and understand why he is so popular. He is entertaining and does a great job in playing on the fear of many. I have to say that I often think that a lot of his views are xenophobic, racist, and cruel. He is not afraid to label those he disagrees with as as mentally diseased (liberals) and deserving to be expelled from America.

I say all this because I find it to be the highest of ironies that he works and lives right in the heart of liberal land, San Fransisco. Good ol San Francisco is often known as being the most progressive city in the United States. By progressive I mean about as left leaning, social liberal, as France. Well after facing years of death threats in tolerant San Francisco and many of key city leaders doing just about any and everything they could to get rid of Michael Savage, they are finally going the legislative route. Read this article about the city actually taking a legislative vote to “condemn” Michael Savage. Now if you are not seeing the hypocrisy yet let me point it out for you. In a city that values tolerance, accept, multiculturalism, embracing all lifestyles and points of view, they are violating their own core values to JUDGE Michael Savage. Now Judge is like the F-word in cities like San Francisco, no one has the right to judge anyone else and morally evaluate what they say or do. So it raises the question is San Francisco as morally relativistic as it thinks it is?

I would argue no. The very first premise of moral relativism is that what is right for me is right for me, and what is right for you is right for you. In no way am I ever to impose my own moral opinions on you, and vice versa. Yet here we are with an angry conservative spewing all sorts of crazy talk in the heart of San Francisco and they want to condemn him. In order to condemn you must have moral authority and moral high ground. You must have clear confidence and knowledge that your moral position and value is clearly superior to the one you condemn. So it is not that cities like San Francisco and many others are moral relativists liberals, they aren’t. They really operate out of a moral framework that values human autonomy above all else. The self or individual is the sole moral authority and nothing or no one is ever to impose upon it. The self decides what is good for self, and all selves get to do likewise. This is the founding moral principle for moral relativism. Self rules. If this sounds familiar to you, it might be that you have read it before, all of it is really all ripped off from Genesis when Adam and Eve chose to follow this path and make themselves the moral arbitrators of their worlds. So it really is not that cities like San Francisco are that progressive, in fact their moral framework is just borrowed from the Bible. So do we go down the road continuing to suppress the truth in unrighteousness and try to be god? Or do we repent and find rest and salvation in the kingship of Jesus Christ.

Broncos Training Camp

One of my top five favorite things about living in Denver is being home. I mean not home in just this is the city where my bills are mailed to, but home in the sense that I am amongst my people. Let me explain. I grew up a Bronco fan, in fact probably my earliest memory is around three and getting a John Elway Bronco uniform for Christmas, possibly the most memorable and best gift I have ever been given. Even as a kid I was obsessed with the Broncos. I remember “The Drive” against the Browns in which Elway led a clearly inferior team to victory in the AFC Championship game in last minute dramatic fashion. I remember staying home one year from Halloween, as a six year old, because the Broncos were playing the Jets on Monday night.

I say all of this to highlight that I have always been a Bronco fanatic. They are my favorite sporting team and when they won the Super Bowl in 97 I cried like a prom queen. It was my number one sports moment. Living in Denver I am among a whole city of people who feel just as I do. They to can recollect their favorite Bronco moment and intelligently discuss who will be a reserve weakside linebacker. I went to training camp today and as I sat there we all booed a guy who walked by in a Patriot jersey, I loved it. So as football season is coming upon us I will probably be writing more about it here on the blog, but it also got me thinking don’t we long to be among people who share our same passions and interests? I mean this is really what high school is all about, people gather based on common interests. Made me wonder why the church is should be like this, with Jesus being our rallying passion, and why the church many times, actually isn’t. Just a thought.