Thursday, April 12, 2012

With God and the Odds On Your Side

The Numbers Game

If you have nothing better to do and read the sports section of your newspaper, you will realize that although there are narrative stories of what happened in the previous day’s activities, it’s primarily filled with statistics. Within each story, depending on the sport, there will be descriptions of how many hits, home runs, three-point shots, dunks, shots on the net, goals, assists, birdies, and eagles were scored. Then there’s a page that’s devoted strictly to statistics including standings of all sports teams, scoring leaders, betting odds and point spreads for upcoming games, and a myriad of other minutiae to satisfy any mathematician or professional gambler.

Praying for a Better Outcome

Not unlike politicians, some sports figures have recently strayed from the straight-and-narrow. They probably believe that their primary sin was that they got caught. There’s 51-year-old, married father of four, Arkansas football coach Bobby Petrino who was injured in a solo motorcycle crash. Although he wasn’t wearing a helmet at the time, he had a soft cushion behind him in the form of 25-year-old Jessica Dorrell, his recently hired football team’s student-athlete development coordinator. They managed to stay close the past seven months during which time they exchanged 4,300 text messages, 300 phone calls, and he once paid her $20,000. Many Arkansas Razorback fans and boosters thought it would be unfair to fire him for his actions. One middle-aged woman said you have to separate the great job he did with the winning teams he produced, and his peccadillo. The school disagreed and let him go.

Getting Off Track

Two-time Indianapolis 500 mile race winner Al Unser Jr., pleaded guilty to driving while intoxicated and drag racing at more than 100 miles-per-hour on a New Mexico freeway. It was the second DUI conviction for the 49-year-old in the past five years. Seems as if Al likes to repeat his racing endeavors twice.

“Thank you Bulldogs and Jesus”

When Bubba Watson won the Masters golf tournament, in this order he thanked the Georgia Bulldogs (his alma mater), Jesus Christ “my Lord and Savior,” and the hosts club’s African-American locker room attendants.

When George Zimmerman was finally arrested for the murder of Tayvon Martin, his African-American mother Sabrina Fulton said, “Thank you, thank you, Lord, thank you, Jesus.”

Tebow and the Pope

Tim Tebow, the new second-string quarterback of the New York Jets, may have been signed to help fill MetLife Stadium each Sabbath Sunday. He drew a crowd of about 15,000 to an outdoor church service Easter Sunday in Georgetown, Texas, where he described the importance of being outspoken about faith. The church’s pastor observed, ''In Christianity, it's the Pope and Tebow right now.''

The Pope, the Jews, and Jesus

I have been sleeping much better since March 2011 when the headlines around the world read, “Vatican City, The Pope absolves Jews as the murderers of Jesus.”

“Oh, Jesus,” and My Father

In 1965, my father was crossing Linwood at Davison in Detroit on a green light, when an elderly man hit the accelerator instead of the brake, hit my father and dragged his body along the asphalt face down.

My Mother called me at work saying only that my Father was in Providence Hospital, a Catholic institution, and I should come immediately. When I arrived and found my way to his room, he was moaning in agony in his bed, which sat under a six-foot statue of Jesus.

A nurse had just removed a bloody bandage from his head, and was carefully placing a clean one in its place. I walked over to him, said “Hello, Dad,” and held his hand. “You are my strength,” he said and he tightly squeezed my hand. Then he twisted in pain, and started screaming, “Oh, Jesus. Oh, Jesus. Oh, Jesus.”

My Mother was embarrassed, looked up at the statue, and sternly admonished my Father, “Henry, you can’t say that here. Remember where you are!”

I knew that my Father would survive when he devilishly responded screaming, “Oh, Moses. Oh, Moses. Oh, Moses.”