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Tag Archives: National Football League

Jumping Offsides

During each NFL offseason, owners meet to discuss necessary changes to improve the integrity and overall quality of each game.  According to the 2017 rulebook, Section 20 covers jumping offsides.  A player is considered Offside when any part of his body or his person is in the Neutral Zone, or is beyond the line of scrimmage.  When a member of the offense commits this foul, a whistle is blown to immediately stop the play to access a five yard penalty.  Yet, when a member of the defense commits this infraction, the offense has a free play.  If time allows, the quarterback will attempt a deep thrown down the field to use this rule in their favor.  One untimely mistake like jumping offside can be the difference between winning and losing.

And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may freely (unconditionally) eat [the fruit] from every tree of the garden; 17 but [only] from the tree of the knowledge (recognition) of good and evil you shall not eat, otherwise on the day that you eat from it, you shall most certainly [die [because of your disobedience],” Genesis 2:16-17.

From a spiritual sense, Adam and Eve were the first to jump offsides.  While God clearly defined the boundaries one chapter earlier, curiosity took them right to the edge, taking a peek at the other side of the fence.  There wasn’t a need for instant replay as both participants ran off the field, hiding in the bushes.  This act is referred to as original sin, a selfish act that ruined God’s intended design for life on earth.  Sometimes a poor decision that you make negatively impacts your family or future generations.  Hopefully, this fateful event in history will serve as a teachable moment to avoid going beyond the boundaries God defines in the Bible.

So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin, James 4:17.

Every person falls into one of three categories: amoral, moral or immoral.  Amoral refers to individuals do not have a clear understanding of right and wrong, living a carefree life without a defined set of standards.  Moral includes individuals who are concerned with godly principles.  While those who fall into this category may not always do the right thing, a defined belief system provides a foundation for integrity to exist.  Immoral are those who for one reason or another refuse to conform to or accept standards of morality.  Regardless of where you may fall in this spectrum, the brother of Jesus leaves a powerful truth about life.  Beside jumping offsides beyond biblical guidelines, anyone who knows what is right and fails to act, sins of inaction are considered the same offense as sins of action.  May this blog help you think twice the next time you have the urge to jump offsides.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

 

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A Split Decision

In the context of boxing, split decisions occur when judges view a contest from opposing points of view.  Unlike unanimous decisions where there is a clear victor, contestants may sway judges by a great comeback or regaining control of a fight.  While modern technology and social media use round by round scorecards today, no one knows what the judges think until the final results are announced at the end of each bout.

 Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand, Matthew 12:25.

Throughout the course of each day, arguments tend to result in split decisions depending upon your worldview.  These disagreements can create divisive debates that divide rather than unite.  After President Trump’s comments last Friday in Alabama about National Football players kneeling during the national anthem, professional athletes, owners and most of the media created a firestorm.  After these attacks went viral, citizens from the heartland, Nascar and veterans chimed in to support their president.  A week later, a split decision still exists, with convincing arguments on both sides.

 And if I drive out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your people drive them out? So then, they will be your judges, Matthew 12:27.

During the first century, another controversy began to brew.  The Pharisees felt like Jesus was making a power play, introducing a new concept to Judaism.  This teaching was heresy in the eyes of religious leaders.  Jealous of Jesus’ ability to heal, a rumor spread about Jesus working behind the scenes with the Devil to fool everyone.  Using logic, Jesus began to poke holes in their theory, responding with the two passages above.  These words remind me of today’s current debate over standing or kneeling during the playing of the National Anthem.  In the end, if America doesn’t come to a point where people agree to disagree, the end will be in sight.  Therefore, the next time you attempt to play the role of judge and jury, take a step back and let God be the ultimate judge.

by Jay Mankus

 

17 Minutes of Action

If you subtract commercials, huddles, injury time outs and instant replay reviews, there’s actually only 17 minutes of action during a three hour National Football League telecast.  For someone who has always been a numbers guy, this statistic is surprising.  Everything in between is merely filling, like icing on a cake to make things look attractive.  This additional 2 hours and 43 minutes enables corporate sponsors to get the most bang for their investments.

So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom, Psalm 90:12.

One of the Psalmists refers to another aspect of time.  To avoid taking things for granted, this author encourages individuals to number your days.  In modern terms, this is a way to express the notion take one day at a time.  Whether you are at college, home, on the road or at work, it’s important to enjoy each moment in life.  Sure, there are some stages in life that drag on, but when you learn to appreciate the little things in life a heart of wisdom is gained.

Making the best use of the time, because the days are evil, Ephesians 5:16.

When you are active, busy or occupied by full schedules, time flies by.  Unfortunately, 17 minutes of action within professional football games are prolonged by an endless parade of commercials.  Instead of seizing the moment, games delay the final outcome to maximize advertising dollars.  At some point in time, consumers will turn their attention else where.  When you do, make sure that you make the most of your time left on earth.  As the headlines of news reports continue to detail, the days are evil.  Therefore, don’t let negative stories steal your joy.  Rather, live each day like it’s your last 17 minutes of action.

by Jay Mankus

 

A National Anthem in Crisis

Prior to the events in New York City and Washington D.C. on September 11th 2001, the relationship between sporting events and the playing of National Anthems had become a mundane ritual.  If you take away the Olympics, playoffs and the Super Bowl, anthems were rarely ever televised.  Some professional sports even played anthems while players were still in the locker room.  However, post 9/11 the singing of Francis Scott Key’s song united this nation for a minute or so daily.  I was in Philadelphia for the first National Football League Monday Night Football game following this terrorist attack.  When a flag the shape of the United States was displayed across the entire field, the crowd went crazy, setting the stage for an emotional national anthem.  Those professional athletes who have chosen to kneel or sit have forgotten what the national anthem represents.  As more begin similar displays as a protest, the future of America’s national anthem is in jeopardy.

Sing to him, sing praises to him; tell of all his wondrous works! – Psalm 105:2

As a former teacher, I understand pressure to remove the national anthem at professional sporting events isn’t the end but the beginning of an attempt to erase any trace of God from American history.  During homeroom or over a loud speaker, public schools read a daily passage or verse from the Bible up to the early 1960’s.  The reading communicated a morale, trait or value teachers hoped to instill within their students.  When a few atheists were offended, a law suit followed that removed the Bible permanently from public education.  When schools obliged others were upset about students and teachers praying for each other.  This too was banned, stripping God’s influence from the classroom.  Looking back at history, schools have never been the same as God has removed his own blessing from those who have not made room for Him.  Then, there was the 10 commandments, “surely we can’t allow human beings to read and see these rigid rules.”  Today, religious leaders are arrested if 10 commandment statues aren’t removed from all court buildings.  Finally, there is the pledge of allegiance which has been made optional for children or simply discarded all together.  If the national anthem is silenced, there’s always something else atheists, leftists and progressives will deem offensive.

Sing for joy, O heavens, and exult, O earth; break forth, O mountains, into singing! For the Lord has comforted his people and will have compassion on his afflicted, Isaiah 49:13.

I hope the owners of professional sports teams don’t cave to public pressure like weak minded republicans more interested in gaining approval from the press rather than upholding American values.  During the 2016 presidential campaign, Donald Trump vowed to drain the swamp.  When this promise was made, I don’t think Trump realized how deep and dangerous this resistance would be.  While the media continues to label the Trump presidency as the worst ever, the horizon appears to be void of any leaders willing to stand up for the national anthem.  Sure, there may be some closet defenders, afraid to vocalize their opinions.  Yet, America appears to be on the verge of a social war between the past and the present.  As someone who grew up in a military family, respect was impressed upon me.  Unfortunately, some where along the way respect for God and country has slowly faded away.  In view of this decay, may God raise someone up to carry the torch for the National Anthem so that this treasured tradition does not disappear like those now forgotten.  Stand up and sing, thanking God for all the Lord has done for this land called America.

by Jay Mankus

 

2000

Since the first professional baseball team was formed in 1869, 254 Major League Baseball players have collected 2000 hits during their career.  While certain stats were not held early on in it’s history, 18 National Basketball Association members have amassed over 2000 rebounds before retiring.  In the 97 years of professional football, only 7 NFL running backs have rushed for 2000 yards in a season.  Meanwhile, only one player in the history of the National Hockey League, Wayne Gretzky has accumulated over 2000 total points in their career.  Today, I have joined a special group with the posting of my 2000th blog at Express Yourself 4Him.

In view of this achievement, I wanted to reply to some of the most common questions shared with me as comments over the past five years.  First, I chose Word Press as my sight for blogging due to recommendations of a few close friends with established blogs back in 2012.  While I haven’t paid the additional $25 to upgrade Express Yourself 4Him, I am close to entering into a relationship with a vendor that prompt me to professionalize this site.

For those of you are new to this blog, I was inspired to create a spiritual journal like the theologian Augustine.  Following two years of seminary classes, I was struck by how Augustine regularly sat on his back porch, staring at his garden.  This time of reflection gave birth to his impact on theological advances through a collection of books left behind as his legacy.  While I have no desire to go back into full time youth ministry, I pray that my own insights on current events may help those striving to become more like Christ daily.

If you want to start your own blog, there are three things to consider.  First, focus on a specific area of expertise where you can develop a following based upon your knowledge.  Second, set aside a time or day of the week where you plan a series of blogs.  When I first started, I suffered from periods of writers block, lacking direction, ideas and topics.  On Sunday, I watch a few sermons before attending church, taking notes in the journal next to my bed.  When my eyes behave, I try to read chapters about issues that I want to know more about.  In addition, I use sticky notes when I am not home to jot any ideas when the Holy Spirit speaks to me.  Finally, if you want to persevere as a blogger, you must be disciplined, putting aside apathy to press on to publish blogs.

Many of you have urged me to write longer blogs which I will do when I feel compelled.  However, after working with a PhD from Penn State, Dr. Vito, I discovered through trial and error that three paragraphs is ideal for the average reader.  Anything shorter doesn’t drive home a point and by expanding a paragraph or two, I tend to lose people’s attention.  Thus, unless God changes my mind, I will continue with my current format.  One last thing before I say goodbye for the day, always remember that life is an adventure.  The more bloggers are able to paint a vivid picture, new followers will come.  Don’t get caught up with numbers.  Rather, let quality writing do your talking.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

A Feel Good Story, No Matter What the Outcome

If you are sports fan, then you understand the thrill of victory and agony of defeat.  However, some cities tend to be tough luck losers, as if a curse is preventing their team from becoming champions.  The nice thing above the 2016 Major League Baseball World Series is that one of two lovable losers will be victorious.  Over the next 5 days, either the Chicago Cubs or Cleveland Indians will break droughts that have lasted a generation or two.

Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all, 2 Thessalonians 3:16.

On the road to becoming champions, those who finish second are scorned, often labeled as chokers, failures or second losers.  Instead of enjoying the journey like the Buffalo Bills of the National Football League, who is the only team to make it to 4 consecutive Super Bowls, the final score devalue their achievement.  Unfortunately, professional sports is a results driven industry causing feel good stories to be ruined by impatient fans, managers and owners.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope, Romans 15:13.

As I look back at my own athletic career, one of my most memorable moments occurred in the least likely of venues.  This didn’t occur during my brief professional golf career or playing Ultimate Frisbee in college.  Rather, my most gratifying experience came in a competitive men’s softball league.  Similar to the character played by Kevin Costner in For the Love of the Game, I played every out like it was my last game.  Whether you call this playing the game the right way or not, I found contentment no matter what the outcome.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

That Will Solve The Problem…Not

A PSA is short for Public Service Announcement.  Whether organizations are motivated by personal convictions, political correctness or remorse, PSA’s have become a common vehicle to communicate messages.  In view of players involved in domestic violence cases, the National Football League has created a recent commercial using stars to stop this assault on women.

Unfortunately, PSA’s often assume 2 things.  First, listening to this ad will result in stopping this behavior.  Second, if you follow the advice provided, together you can eliminate it from society.  This mindset is flawed, not taking the sinful nature into consideration.  Thus, sarcasm leads me to think to myself, “that will solve the problem, not!”

From my experience as a parent, teacher and worker, no one wants to be told what to do.  Sure, as a leader, you have to set the expectations you want others to adhere to.  Nonetheless, hearts have to change before the culture becomes transformed from violence to good Samaritans.  Unless individuals become born again, John 3:3-5, the world will remain hampered by the stains of sin.

by Jay Mankus

 

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