February 13, 2009 by Tony Reinke
Categories: Humility | Humor | Sports
Happy Friday! Today we post the second half of the winning entries in our Don’t Waste Your Sports DVD
contest (the first half is here
Winning entry #5:
My most embarrassing moment occurred in the middle of a 3-mile varsity cross-country race in high school. For those who don’t think cross-country is a contact sport, think again.
I was about 2 miles into the race and struggling in the hot weather. My older sister happened to be running next to me so I tried to focus on keeping up with her and looked down to watch her stride.
All of a sudden, her feet disappeared and I look up just in time to wham into a rather large pine tree. There I was, flopping on the ground like a fish after having the wind knocked out of me. I couldn’t get up. I’m not easily deterred so I finished the race and ended the day but with a pounding headache.
After the race, my teammates helped me pick out the bark that had imprinted on the skin of my forehead. I was continually the butt of everyone’s jokes the rest of the season. Can you say “tree hugger”?
Winning entry #4:
In my sophomore year on the varsity basketball team we were in a close game against Mercer County High, down by 1 point with just seconds to go.
The clock was stopped and the referee handed our point guard the ball for the inbounds pass, under our own goal. With only five seconds to inbound the ball, he was not having any luck finding an open player, and time was ticking away. Our entire bench was screaming for the guard to call timeout
, so we wouldn’t lose possession.
At that exact moment, I became wide open
under the goal, and the point guard threw me the ball. But instead of making the basket for the win, I called a timeout
, because that’s what the bench was screaming.
Bowling Green, KY
Winning entry #3:
I’m in the third grade, playing right field in my hometown rec league. I’m in right field for a reason—and it’s skill related—I lack the ability to field ground balls. The only thing I do worse is field fly balls. And I’ve gotta…well, you know…go.
Late in the game, I inform the coach of my growing need. There are no facilities at the field. He’s absorbed in the game—we’re tied. He waves me off.
We go into extra innings, and I explain to the coach, again, that I’ve really gotta go. He explains that if I leave, we forfeit the game. There’s just nine of us.
So I trot out to my lonely position in right field. I’m hopping from one foot to the other. I’m squeezing my knees together. And there came a point at which my bladder muscles decided to surrender. The dam burst. My two pant legs became a delta flowing in an ever-broadening stream down into my shoes and then into the right field turf.
No one noticed. At this level, baseball is an infielder’s game.
The inning ended with the score still tied. Now I’ve got an even bigger problem. I can’t run home, and I can’t go back to the dugout looking like this.
I spot, behind the fence that runs along the first base line, a large mud puddle. I don’t even have to think. I sprint toward the dugout and take a detour, diving head first through the brown water.
I walked into the dugout covered from chest to shoes with mud. The coach looked at me and turned his head in disgust.
I don’t remember who won.
Winning entry #2:
Since I am a professional golfer, I figure I have a lot of humbling sports related experiences.
This past year I graduated from college and turned professional. Seeing as I did not have much money to fund my expenses yet, I did not play as much as I would have liked during the summer. I still decided to go to PGA Tour Qualifying in the fall.
After a successful career in college winning multiple times, I went to Q-school looking like a weekend golfer. I shot 80-83-83-81 to finish close to last. It was the most humbling experience of my life. I was way under prepared and unfocused. To make matters worse, most of my potential sponsors pulled the plug on our deal afterwards.
Through golf God has always showed me how much self-worth I derived from my performance and the point was really driven home after that tournament. Also, it has forced me to rely on Him for my finances and that other sponsors will come along. I am thankful that I am in a profession that really makes me to trust the Lord and seek to have my identity in Him alone. Golf is a game that will give you many opportunities to practice humility and grow in holiness.
Palm Beach, FL
Winning entry #1:
As a high school sophomore, I was trying to get on the varsity basketball team. Playing in a J.V. game on the road, I was posted up and calling for the ball, hoping to impress the varsity coach who was watching.
The guard didn’t have a good passing angle. Frustrated, I turned to screen across the lane. Just as I began to turn I was smacked hard in the head.
The next thing I know, everyone was laughing.
Apparently when I turned my head, the pass was made, smacking me in the back of the head. The ball bounced off my head, up in the air, and down into the basket. The referees were laughing so hard they called a timeout.
But I got to play varsity that night for the first time!
February 12, 2009 by Tony Reinke
Categories: Humility | Humor | Sports
Congratulations to the ten winners of the Don’t Waste Your Sports DVD Contest. Today and tomorrow we are posting the ten winning entries on the blog, in ascending order (to heighten the drama).
Today we feature winning entries #10–#6. Enjoy.
Winning entry #10:
Playing baseball was my lifeline as a young boy. And I was pretty good at it. I was the pitcher nobody liked to face (once threw a 16-strikeout game).
For years my parents, coaches, and teammates recognized my gift and encouraged me in the game. Every summer I was part of a tournament “all star” team that traveled around the Pittsburgh area, playing other schools.
Can you just sense the humility here?
In one particular game, we faced a team with one fantastic hitter. I was pitching, two men were on base, and Mr. “Big Shot” steps to the plate. And just to be safe, we decided to intentionally walk this kid, who greatly resembled Goliath.
I threw the catcher two intentional balls. My third pitch came in a little too close to the plate, close enough for Goliath to swing at and send out of the park—a three-run home run on an intentional walk. That was the day I learned what humility was all about.
Winning entry #9:
The most humbling moment in my athletic career is more serious and sad than anything else.
During high school I was fortunate enough to compete at the high school and Junior Olympic level in volleyball. I had several scholarship offers to play volleyball at the D1 level (and a few offers for softball too).
Volleyball was my life; I ate, breathed, worked, played, and slept volleyball. And I was raised in church, and had been a believer since a very young age, but had ignored God during this time in my life because I was so focused on volleyball.
Toward the end of my senior year season, I developed severe tendonitis in my dominant shoulder. Being a typical prideful athlete, I took painkillers and ignored it.
During a semifinal game for the state championship, we’re tied 14–14 with our rival team. I go up for a spike. Perfect. Except it was not so perfect. My shoulder dislocated and in the process I ripped my rotator cuff apart.
We lost the game and I lost my ability to play volleyball and softball (I was supposed to be the ace pitcher that year), I lost scholarship offers, I lost my pride, and lost what I thought was my life.
But what I gained was far greater. Through the pain and tears, and many months of anger, God changed my heart and my attitude. That painful, embarrassing, and devastating event readjusted my view on life and showed me that Christ really was my only solution for happiness and fulfillment.
Winning entry #8:
The town where I attended high school had its share of rivalries. I attended the slummier, grittier public high school, and we were playing a big basketball game against one rival, a private Mennonite school, both of our schools having long histories of success.
Big crowds, pep rallies, and a lot of excitement preceded the big game. And although we were visitors in the Mennonite gym, we had our share of loyal fans bussed over.
Deep into the game, the ball became trapped between the backboard and the rim. Our coach called a timeout, and my teammates retreated back to our bench. Eager to help out the hapless referee—and show off my amazing vertical skills!—I took a couple of steps and with breathtaking athleticism, leapt towards the ball. Reaching a height just short of my goal, I was able to reach (and slap at) the ball. But I could not free the ball.
The large crowd erupted into jeers, as my face turned an inhuman shade of red, whereupon my coach promptly screamed at me to get over to the huddle.
The fans heckled me mercilessly during my endless jaunt back to the bench. We eventually won the game, but my vertical was never the same!
Winning entry #7:
The game was clearly over. Time had not run out, but the scoreboard indicated an insurmountable lead of our team and the faces of the opposing team confirmed it. We dominated on the boards and sank one shot after another.
We were the better team on the court that day, or at least the scoreboard would have you believe.
With the decision in hand, our team of 8th graders was clearly having a blast. And being an inexperienced, volunteer boys basketball coach, I seemed to let the unruly on-court behavior get the better of me. Discipline soon waned. One fancy no-look pass on one play gave way to a showy alley-oop on the next. Before we knew it, our players began chucking three-pointers from half-court.
After the game, as both teams were exchanging high-fives, their coach, several decades older, confronted me.
“Congrats on the win. You got a talented team,” he said, “But it was disrespectful what you did towards the end. Maybe they can learn a thing about sportsmanship, Coach.”
I can’t believe it didn’t occur to me then, but we were no longer just having fun—we did it at their expense. Though we won the game as was obvious on the scoreboard, we had lost the game in spirit. Sure enough, I would deliver this message to the kids who were not expecting such words after a victory.
There is much to be said about humility, because the ability to reflect genuine grace is perhaps the best victory of all.
Diamond Bar, CA
Winning entry #6:
I was attending a San Francisco Giants baseball game about 10 years ago accompanied by a junior high student from my church. I had acquired some field level seats along the third base line, and as is the custom with most baseball fans with “good seats,” I brought a baseball glove.
Halfway through the game, a right-handed batter pulled the ball foul on the ground in my direction. As I (and the fan to my right) stretched over the fence to snag the ball, I toppled over the fence entirely and landed right directly my head! In a panic, I scrambled back over the fence. Needless to say, there was a roar of laughter from the fans who caught the moment. Which would include the photographer from the Chronicle newspaper who ended up capturing the moment. The next day that picture of me falling head-first onto the field was published in full color on the front page of the sports section.
To make matters worse, the picture captured not only my fall, but also captured the junior high student who had joined me cracking up in laughter.
Now that was a bit humbling, especially when I had to explain that for all that effort and embarrassment—and brief of moment of “fame”—I never got the ball.
San Jose, CA
September 19, 2008 by C.J. Mahaney
Categories: Humor | Interviews | Reading
In the interview
I did with my friend Mark Dever in 2007, I asked him to describe each of the following men in a single sentence: Augustine, Martin Luther, John Calvin, Richard Sibbes, D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Carl Henry, John Stott, J.I. Packer, D.A. Carson, R.C. Sproul, John Piper, Al Mohler, Ligon Duncan, Tim Duncan, and John MacArthur. Guess which one left him speechless.
July 14, 2008 by Tony Reinke
Categories: Humor | Joy | Sermons
The audio recording from C.J.’s message Sunday at Covenant Life Church:
Don’t Waste Your Humor
Proverbs 15:13-15; Ephesians 4:29, Psalm 126:1-3
Sunday, July 13, 2008
Covenant Life Church; Gaithersburg, MD
52:12 run time; 11.9MB MP3
Art by Zak Parsons.