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NBA Western Conference Round 2: San Antonio vs Golden State

Round 2 of the NBA Playoffs continues tonight as the San Antonio Spurs host the Golden State Warriors.

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San Antonio comes into Round 2 after a sweep of the Lakers in Round 1. Tony Parker has been outstanding coming off a late-season injury. Parker leads the Spurs in scoring with 22.7 points per game. Tim Duncan is in great form, as well, averaging 17.5 points and 7.5 rebounds per game. The Spurs unit is resembling the teams that won 4 NBA titles from 1999 to 2007.

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The Warriors come into the second round after a fast-paced 6-game series against Denver. They boast the top-scoring offense in the playoffs at 107.2 ppg. They will face a Spurs defense that is tied for 2nd in scoring defense (85.3 ppg). The Golden State offense has 5 players averaging double-figure scoring, led by Stephen Curry at 24.3 ppg. In addition, center Andrew Bogut had a nice first-round, contributing 8.2 points and 10.3 rebounds per game.

Golden State faces much the same delimma as Chicago does facing the Miami Heat: can they outscore an efficient Spurs offense for 4 games in 7 tries. The Warriors’ young players will have to remain composed against the veteran San Antonio squad.

Game7Dads predicts: San Antonio in 5.

Want to share your pick? Comment below or find us on Facebook or Twitter, hashtag #g7dnba.

NBA Eastern Conference Round 2: Miami vs Chicago

Round 2 of the NBA playoffs gets under way Monday night as the defending champion Miami Heat (66-16) host the Chicago Bulls (45-37) on TNT.

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The Heat come into Round 2 after a 4-game sweep of the Milwaukee Bucks in the opening round. League MVP LeBron James is averaging 24.5 points, 8.6 rebounds, and 6.7 assists per game in the postseason. And he’s had plenty of help. With Dwyane Wade injured and missing Game 4 vs. the Bucks, Ray Allen is second in scoring for the postseason with 16.5 ppg.

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The Bulls will roll into Miami after a 4-2 series win over the Brooklyn Nets. Already missing former league MVP Derrick Rose for the season, forward Loul Deng (illness) and Rose’s backup Kirk Hinrich (calf) also missed time against Brooklyn. Deng is ruled out for Game 1.

Key for the Bulls is capitalizing on their advantage in the post from players like Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer, while keeping the Heat’s role players at bay. Chicago has seen players step up in the postseason. Currently, seven Bulls are averaging double-figure scoring in the playoffs, including Nate Robinson (17.0 ppg), Jimmy Butler (11.7), and Marco Belinelli (11.7)

The bottom line is, can a banged-up Bulls squad win 4 games against the Heat in 7 tries?

Game7Dads predicts: Heat in 5.

Want to share your pick? Comment below or find us on Facebook or Twitter, hashtag #g7dnba.

NBA Eastern Conference Round 2: New York vs Indiana

Note: This article was written and published after the conclusion of Game 1.

Somebody must have put me in a time machine and sent me back to 1993.

It’s the Knicks and Pacers in the NBA playoffs!

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From 1993 to 2000, the Knicks and Pacers squared off in 6 playoff series, and forged one of the most exciting and intense rivalries in NBA playoff history. Gone in 2013 are Ewing, Starks, Miller, and the Pacers’ two Davises. Enter Carmelo Anthony, Iman Shumpert, Paul George, and Roy Hibbert.

While the players are different, the intensity should match that of the mid-1990s series. At stake is a trip to the Eastern Conference finals, and perhaps the NBA Finals. A trip to the NBA Finals would be New York’s first since 2000 and Indiana’s first since 1999, the last two time, incidently, the two teams faced each other in the played.

knicksThe Knicks come into the series after a tough-fought series win over Boston. The Knicks grabbed a quick 3-0 series lead before Boston regrouped to force Game 6, and New York took the series 4-2. New York will continue to depend on volume scoring from Anthony and stout post defense from Tyson Chandler. Good dribble penetration and outside shooting from Raymond Felton and NBA 6th Man of the Year winner J.R. Smith will help the Knicks’ cause tremendously.

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The Pacers also come off a 4-2 win over the Atlanta Hawks, the only road victory in the series earned by the Pacers in Atlanta in Game 6. The Pacers match up well with the Knicks up front, with big bodies like Hibbert, David West, and Tyler Hansborogh matching up to a depleted Knick frontcourt whose top player (Chandler) is not an offensive threat.

The Knicks have a decided advantage in the backcourt, however. Anthony, Smith, and Felton average 61.6 of the team’s 87.7 points per game. George, P.J. Hill, and Lance Stephenson for average 41.8 of the Pacers’ 94.5 ppg.

The key to this series in perimeter shooting. If the Knicks struggle from the outside, the Pacer will win the series. If Anthony and Smith are making mid-range and 3-point shots, the Pacers will have to live up to their nickname and keep pace from the outside. Having already seen Game 1, I won’t take the easy way out on the prediction.

Game7Dads predicts: Knicks in 7.

Want to share your pick? Comment below or find us on Facebook or Twitter, hashtag #g7dnba.

It’s NBA Playoff Time

For me, NBA playoff time is one of the most exciting times in any sports season, particularly the first round. You get to see a collection of the finest and most gifted athletes and teams in all of sports performing on the biggest stage in their profession. My eight- and nine-year-old sons would rather spend their Sunday afternoon watching the NBA than anything Disney or Pixar could ever dream up.

I also believe the NBA has the worst reputation of having athletes that regularly demonstrate poor sportsmanship. We can especially see this during the intensity of the playoffs (remember this Metta Worldpeace elbow from last season’s Western Conference 2nd Round?).

It reminds me of the broo-ha that Charles Barkley set off in a circa 1993 Nike ad, claiming that he was not a role-model, and calling for parents to be the role models for their kids. At the time, I agreed 100% with Barkley and even parlayed that media into a B+ classroom* presentation (on the difference between “role models” and “heros”) in college.

I still agree with Sir Charles’ position, although I certainly wish, now that I have my own kids who are watching these guys, that they would make a better effort to be better role models. But at the end of the day, I’m the parent. Not LeBron James, not Kevin Durant, and not Metta Worldpeace.


What they see their favorite athletes doing on TV is magnified when your kids are athletes themselves. My kids are veterans of football, baseball, and yes, basketball. And they love to imitate what they see their favorite athletes doing on the court, for better or worse.

 

Dads, if you have kids watching the 2013 playoffs, be ready to teach when they wonder why someone who voluntarily calls himself “Worldpeace” felt like he had to clock James Harden in the head. Especially if they are athletes themselves. And I mean taking the time to sit down, one on one, and explaining why that stuff not only is not cool, but it’s also not sports.

The 2013 Playoffs – Round 1

(1) Oklahoma City vs. (8) Houston

Former teammates face off in this 1/8 series as James Harden will take on his former Thunder squad. With Harden and last season’s sensation Jeremy Lin, the Rockets are equipped with playmakers. The Thunder, however, simply have too many studs. OKC in 4.

(2) San Antonio vs. (7) Los Angeles Lakers

I have heard a lot of sports media personalities predict that the Lakers would win this series. Did they happen to hear that Kobe Bryant was out for the season? LA should make this series more competitive than a typical 2/7 series, with a resurgent Dwight Howard playing well. However, any notion that this is a better team without KDB is ludicrous. Spurs in 6.

(3) Denver vs. (6) Golden State

This should be one of the most entertaining series of the first round. The Nuggest took a huge hit earlier this month, losing swingman Danilo Gallinari to a torn ACL. They will bring the NBA’s top-scoring offense up against one of the league’s premiere young stars, Golden State’s Stephen Curry. Bold(ish) Prediciton Alert: Golden State in 6.

(4) Los Angeles Clippers vs. (5) Memphis

The Memphis Grizzlies bring the league’s top scoring defense up against perhaps the most exciting team in the NBA. This series will be a rematch of the 2012 first-round matchup, which the Clippers won 4-3. I see this series turning out much the same. Clippers in 7.

(1) Miami vs. (8) Milwaukee

A warmup for Round 2. Miami in 4.

(2) New York vs. (7) Boston

The Knicks can score points seemingly at will. With this season’s scoring champion Carmello Anthony pacing the league’s highest scoring offense, the Knicks are built to win in any series. However, in a big series between rival cities, with perhaps the best playoff coach in the league, I’m calling the upset. Bold Prediciton Alert: Boston in 7.

(3) Indiana vs. (6) Atlanta

The Hawks are limping into the playoffs, having lost 5 of their last 7 games and falling from the 5th to 6th seed. Indiana, on the other hand, may be the most underrated team in the NBA, certainly in the Eastern Conference. Given another shot to put the Heat on the ropes, 2013 could be a different story. Indy in 5.

(4) Brooklyn vs. (5) Chicago

The Nets have made an impressive run in their first season in NYC, jumping from 4th-worst in the conference to 4th-best, and landing home-court for it’s first playoff series. This series pits two of the NBA’s top defensive teams, and will be worth watching if for no other reason than to see the first playoff series in the Barclays Center. With the return of Bulls’ guard Derrick Rose still in question, the Bulls may be poised to take a run at Miami in Round 2. Chicago in 6.

Who do you like in Round 1? Please leave your comments, and enjoy the playoffs!


*I believe to this day that this was most definitely A+ work, but stuff happens when your Psych professor is  not a sports junkie.

When Bad Things Happen

In the wake of the tragic bombings at Monday’s Boston Marathon, parents should be prepared to talk about the events with their kids. This is especially true if your kids, like mine, prefer to have the television on ESPN rather than Cartoon Network.

Parents may feel that one of our jobs is to shield our kids from everything bad in the world, but in this world of instant media, that job has become next to impossible. Below are some suggestions to keep in mind when talking with kids about tragedies.

UPDATE, 4/17/2013

There has not been a shortage or articles and blog entries (like this one) with advice for parents about talking about Boston. A Twitter search for “talk to your kids Boston” will net several dozen results. The suggestions I’ve provided below are some that I feel are best for my kids. Parents with questions should look over a few of these articles and decide what methods and strategies will work best for their families.

1) Be their first contact

I dropped the ball on this one Monday. When my kids came home from school, I very skillfully guided then away from the TV, knowing that it would eventually land on SportsCenter. By the time they had completed homework, a viewing of Shrek, dinner, and some time outside, it was time for bed, and I had successfully shielded them from the news out of Boston.

What I failed to take into account was all the details they would be getting from their classmates the following day. By allowing my shielding instincts to take over, the first source of information about Monday’s events would be any number of second-graders, who would likely be scared, confused, or possibly indifferent on the matter. Thank goodness for my wife. She was there to talk with them about it, and let them know everything their little minds needed to hear.

2) Acknowledge their feelings

Whether rational to parents or not, it is natural for children to be afraid when the see the kinds of things that happen in the world. As we discuss these things, we need to understand and acknowledge what they are feeling by asking questions and listening. Be specific. Ask what they are feeling and why. Even hundreds of miles away from Boston, children will easily internalize the events and fear for their safety. Vocalizing their fears to a sympathetic ear will help them feel safe.

3) Be reassuring

Thankfully, kids are resilient beings. In most cases, a hug and words of comfort and reassurance are all that is needed to bring the emotions they may be feeling back to normal. Our kids depend on us for safety. While these are things that we should do all the time, we should make a special effort to do so when our kids are feeling vulnerable as the result of bad news in the media. Make an effort to drop less important things to spend extra time showing them how much they are loved and cared for, and feelings of safety will follow.

4) Find the good

I believe that within every action that shows the depravity of humanity, if we look hard enough, we find people who will show us the rightness. On Monday, we heard stories of runners who assisted in the middle of the chaos. We heard about teachers in Newton, Connecticut  who lost their lives protecting children. If you’ve never heard the story of the man in the red bandana from the 9/11 attacks, please watch. You can also talk to them about donating to relief organizations.

UPDATE, 4/17/2013

Often, athletes and sports organizations are portrayed as selfish, arrogant, greedy, etc. and deservedly so in most cases. Take a look at some of these uplifting stories, all from the sports world, that show how even traditionally “hated” rivals have put competition on hold in support of Boston.

Do you have other suggestions for navigating through bad news? Comment below, or find Game7Dads on Facebook and Twitter.

Lessons from the National Championship

It’s Championship Monday! Tonight, the University of Louisville will take on the University of Michigan for the NCAA men’s basketball championship. It will be a match-up of two teams that at one time held the #1 ranking during the regular season.

When the Final Four comes around, I always enjoy looking back on previous contests in the history of this game. Now, with the popularity of YouTube, looking back is more fun than ever. This year, I want to share some fathering tips that I’ve learned from past championship games.


1. We all make mistakes (Georgetown, 1982; Michigan, 1993)


North Carolina has clinched two national champions from critical mistakes made by their opponent on the title game’s last possession.



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In the 1982 final, the Tarheels took on the Georgetown Hoyas in a game that paired two of college basketball’s most outstanding players as freshmen: UNC’s Michael Jordan and Georgetown’s Patrick Ewing. Jordan hit a jump shot with 15 seconds remaining to give the Heels a 63-62 lead. On the Hoya’s ensuing possession, guard Fred Brown passed to a player cutting into the Georgetown backcourt. That player was UNC’s James Worthy. The Tarheels held on for the school’s 2nd national title.

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In 1993, Michigan trailed North Carolina, 73-71 with 19 seconds left. Michigan’s Chris Weber rebounded a missed North Carolina free throw, and got away with what many consider a blatant travel. Weber brought the ball upcourt and dribbled into the right corner of the baseline and was immediately trapped by two Tarheel defenders. Weber panicked and called time out when the Wolverines had no time outs left. The play resulted in a technical foul and a 77-71 UNC victory.


There are no perfect dads. Just like Weber and Brown, we are not immune from doing or saying some pretty bone-headed things. And when we do, the best thing we can do, for ourselves and for our families, is to recognize it, admit it, apologize if necessary, and move on, making a commitment to do better.

(P.S.: I don’t believe that was a walk on the rebound. Weber’s pivot foot, his left, doesn’t move until he drops the ball to dribble.)

2. Expect the unexpected (North Carolina State, 1983)



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In 1983, #6 seeded North Carolina State faced Hakeem Olajuwon‘s Houston Cougars as a decided underdog. With 4 seconds left in a 52-52 game, State’s Dereck Whittenburg launched a desperation 30-foot jumper. The shot fell well short of the basket, but was grabbed just in front of the rim and dunked in by Lorenzo Charles, and the Wolfpack completed one of the biggest upsets in the title game’s history.

Parenting is an adventure in the unexpected. It can very often be an excise in using Plan B. Our kids zig when we expect them to zag, both intentionally and unintentionally. I often find myself frozen in disbelief thinking, “Well, this is not what I had in mind today.” Sometimes it can be fun, other times not. The key is to keep our awareness sharp, and be prepared to grab an airball and slam-dunk it.

4. Patience, patience, patience (Indiana, 1987)     
   

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With 26 seconds left in the 1987 game, Bobby Knight’s Indiana Hoosiers trailed Jim Boeheim’s Syracuse Orange, 73-72. Indiana setup on the perimeter of Syracuse’s 2-3 zone defense and worked the ball around for over 20 seconds. with 5 seconds remaining, Indiana’s Keith Smart nailed a jumper from the baseline, and gave the Hoosiers a 74-73 victory.
      
Hand in hand with the unexpected is having the patience to deal with the unexpected. This is the area where I struggle as a dad more than any other. I have to constantly remind myself that I’m dealing with 3-, 8-, and 9-year-old children, not logically-thinking adults. In fact, one of the best parenting tips I can give you is to keep in constant communication with yourself about your role and how you practice it. This can mean pausing in the middle of a simmering situation and stepping back to see things from everyone’s perspective. It takes practice and it also take a conscious decision to be willing to do it. Patience is not something you have … it’s something you do.

3. Be ready for the big moment (Kansas, 2008)


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Trailing 63-60 with 10 second left, Kansas needed a 3-pointer to extend the game against Memphis, having hit only 2 of 11 of their previous attempts. Kansas’ Mario Chalmers pulled up and hit an off-balance shot at the buzzer, and the Jayhawks went on to a 75-68 overtime win.

The NCAA tournament itself is all about big moments. As a dad, I try to always be aware that the next big moment is around the corner, and I live to celebrate those moments with my kids. It can be a big shot, an aced test … or it can simply be just because. Take time to create big moments with your kids. Plan father/son/daughter dates. Go camping. Take a day trip to a near-by city. Celebrate milestones such as turning 10, 16, or 18. If you’re a new dad, make plans now to create big moments in your journey as a dad.

5. Nothing is impossible (Kansas, 1988; Villanova, 1985)


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The 1985 and 1988 games share some similarities. They pitted teams from the same conference, one of whom finished its regular season ranked in the national top 10 and had won the conference’s regular season title. The second team had lost twice to the former and came into the NCAA tournament as a #8 seed.


In 1985 Rollie Massimino’s Villanova Wildcats took on the Georgetown Hoyas, who were led by senior center Patrick Ewing, and who were making their 3rd appearance in the title game in the previous 4 years. The Wildcats shot 79% from the field and held off the vaunted Hoyas, 66-64. The Wildcats at #8 become the lowest-seeded team to win the national championship.

In 1988, Coach Larry Brown’s Kansas Jayhawks, led by Wooden Award winner Danny Manning, faced the Oklahoma Sooners, again as a #8 seed. Manning posted 31 points, 18 rebounds, 5 steals and 2 blocked shots, and hit the game’s clinching free throws with 5 seconds left and giving the Jayhawks a 83–79 win.

Many dads find themselves in less than ideal situations: step-dads, divorced dads, incarcerated dads, etc. If  you are a dad faced with difficult circumstances, you owe it to your child to hang in there and work hard – perhaps harder than “traditional” dads – to be the best dad you can. For help and advice in your specific role, please visit the National Center for Fathering’s sections on your situation.

What are your favorite moments of the NCAA’s national championship game? What have you learned from them? Comment below or hit us up on Facebook or Twitter. And be sure and enjoy the game tonight with your kids!

      




The Greatest of All Time

That LeBron James can play basketball.

That’s your late-breaking update from the Tragically Obvious News Department.

James’ streak of consecutive games shooting 60+% and scoring 30+ points ended in a Thursday night Miami Heat win over the Oklahoma City Thunder. James scored 39 points but shot a paltry 58% from the field. James’ record-breaking 60/30 streak ended at six games.

The streak has prompted a lot of discussion in the media (again) about who is the greatest of all time, LeBron  or Michael Jordan, more so as James’ streak coincides with MJ’s 50th birthday.

Let’s get this out of the way first: my personal opinion, as a Miami Heat fan who never liked the Bulls is … who cares? For one thing it doesn’t make sense to compare players from different eras, and yes, MJ’s era was a bit different from LJ’s, but that’s a different article. Also, it makes little sense to compare a player who is likely not half-way through his career to a retired player. Let’s give LeBron  another 8-9 years and see where were are then.

With the All-Star break and no games to play AND Miami riding a 7-game win streak AND Jordan’s birthday all coming up this weekend, there is sure to be plenty of additional discussion about the title of “Greatest of All Time.” Whether you actually follow the NBA or not, if you follow any sport and tune to ESPN, you’re probably going to hear something about it.

Dads, I have an assignment for you as you struggle through the weekend’s Jordan/James debate. Think about the title you have: Father.

There is great significance in carrying the title “father” in your home. In the Bible, God, the Creator of the Universe, is referred to as “Father” 260 times. (1) 

It’s no accident that you share this title with the Heavenly Father. Author Rick Johnson writes:

“… you are the man God chose to be the father of your children! God could have picked anyone on earth for this task, but in his infinite wisdom, he chose you. Even if you don’t have confidence in your fathering skills, God says you fit the bill perfectly in his plan for your family. He knows all your strengths and weaknesses, and he determined before time began that you would be the father of your children.” [Emphasis mine] (2)

Not only do you share a title with our Lord, but it was He who gave you that title. Before He created anything else, He made sure that you would be a father to your children.

Does that statement make you pause to catch your breath? It does for me. It’s overwhelming to think that before there was an earth, a sun, an NBA, or a Krispy Kreme donut shop, that God was somewhere going through a checklist, and at some point, got to “Mark, son of James, general hothead, short guy, father to three sons born to three separate families.” How can you not appreciate how awesome and terrifying that is? It’s awesomely terrifying.

As if that weren’t enough, I have another shocker for you. You remember that title “Greatest of All Time?” You already own that title, dad. You were given that title by your kids, from the time they knew who “dad” was. The love and respect of your child is something given freely and unconditionally. Johnson, quoting Joe Stowell, writes:

“To realize that our kids love us, they want to respect us, and they want a relationship with us is a wonderful thing. ‘They just may be the only people in the world who want to love you, who want to respect you. With everyone else, you have to work for those things.’” (3)

In other words, to your kids, you are the “Greatest of All Time.” And you didn’t do anything to get there than just be their dad. As Stowell says, with everyone else we’ll ever meet on this earth, we have to earn their love and give them a reason to want to be in a relationship we us. We do nothing to earn our kids’ love, but there is plenty we can do to lose it.

So this weekend, as you listen to the MJ/LJ debates, possibly as you debate the issue yourself, remember the title you have received, from your kids and from God above.

Congrats on being “The Greatest of All Time.” Wear your title with honor, dad.

(1) http://bible.org/article/names-god
(2) Johnson, Rick Better Dads, Stronger Sons, Revel Books, 2006, p. 29.
(3) Johnson, p. 80

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Epilogue

If you want my opinion on who is the “Greatest of All Time”, it’s this guy:

Stepping Up

The good news for the Miami Heat is … it’s only December.

The Heat were dismantled last night by the New York Knicks behind 18-for-44 shooting from the 3-point line from the visiting Knicks. Let me correct that … from the Carmelo Anthony-less Knicks.

Anthony was sidelined last night with a finger injury on his non-shooting hand. Anthony leads the New York in scoring at over 26 points per game. Bad news for the Knicks, right? 

Wrong.

It was obvious that New York would need somebody to step up against the defending NBA champions. That somebody was Raymond Felton. Felton hit 6 of his 10 3-point attempts en route to a season- and game-high 27 points that led the Knicks to a 112-92 win over the champs.

Even though I’m disappointed as a Heat fan, I always respect seeing a role player step up when a superstar can’t perform, especially in professional sports, where it’s normally all about the superstars.

And here at Christmastime, it always reminds me of a dad who stepped up, over two thousand years ago.

Let me share my favorite part of the Christmas story, as recorded by the disciple Matthew:

When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 

- Matthew 1:18-21, ESV

We don’t know alot about Joseph, as he is mentioned very seldom in the Gospels, but we can infer quite a bit about what Matthew tells us. We can assume he is a decent fellow, not wanting to put Mary through the shame that would await an unwed mother in ancient Israel. We also know that he was obedient, that he trusted the Lord, even though he was undoubtedly afraid of what my lie ahead.

We don’t know what kind of dad Joseph was, but I’m betting that if he was chosen by God before time began to be the adoptive father of the Savior, he had some skills. Whatever his character, Joseph stepped up.

Dads, we step up for our family all the time. This holiday season, I want to encourage you to keep stepping up. Or, if you feel like you haven’t done so, it’s never to late to begin. Today.

Keep looking for ways you can step up as a dad, not only for your family, but for some kids in your life who don’t have dad around. I know these families, you probably do too. Ask God to show you how you can love, coach, and model for kids who suffer father-abscence. He will give you the opportunity to step up.

Raymond Felton did it when his team counted on him. Joseph did it when his Heavenly Father counted on him. You can do it too, dad. Your family is counting on you.

Step up.

Game7Dads Resources

Online

www.fathers.org (National Center for Fathering)
www.diyfather.com (DIY Father)
http://www.fatherhood.org/ (National Fatherhood Initiative)
www.allproddad.com

Books

No Pain, No Change, No Gain

The following entry is taken with permission from the People Matter Ministries blog, authored by Dr. Dan Erickson. I had the privilege of meeting Dr.Erickson this spring at a conference hosted by the Iron Sharpens Iron organization. You can read and subscribe to Dr. Erickson’s blog at http://greateryes.blogspot.com.

FRIDAY, APRIL 27, 2012


No pain, no change, no gain

By Dr. DAN ERICKSON

When I was much younger I played in a variety of sports including baseball, football, basketball and wrestling. I didn’t have natural talent, so I had to work hard to find any success. I know all my coaches meant well, but what I hated most about practice was the constant challenge to move from what felt comfortable to what would bring out my potential. They wanted me to hurt.

They all said the same thing but in different ways:

  • “No pain, no gain!”
  • “It will hurt, but it will hurt so good!”
  • “Exchange short-term pain for long-term fame!”

In “The Problem of Pain,” C.S. Lewis wrote, “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscience, but shouts to us in our pain; it is his megaphone to arouse a deaf world.”

The Apostle Paul wrote, “Because of the extravagance of those revelations, and so I wouldn’t get a big head, I was given the gift of a handicap (pain) to keep me in constant touch with my limitations. Satan’s angel did his best to get me down but what he did in fact was push me to my knees. No danger then of me walking around high and mighty! At first I didn’t think of it as a gift and begged God to remove it (my pain). Three times I did that and then he told me, ‘My grace is enough; it’s all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness.’

Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap (my pain) and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size – abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.”(2 Cor. 12:7-10, The Message)

When I started in ministry in 1973, I was fired from my first three churches. My college training had ill-equipped me for the challenges of serving on a church staff, trying to make ends meet and being the husband I needed to be. Everything seemed so hard and so painful. But the pain of my circumstances actually led me to a place where I understood that I needed to change and that I could not do it alone. Christ became my strength and began to lead me into a process that would transform my life and world. And this transformation is continuing to this day.

So like many before me, I have learned the hard way that pain is where your potential and destiny collide. You can’t move forward without it. Like my coaches, we can shout from the megaphone:

  • God allows pain in your lives according to your needs.
  • God is more concerned with what he is doing in you than with you and through you.
  • God knows if he can change your heart he can change your life and so your destiny.
  • God uses pain to transform you into the image of his Son, so don’t fight it when you should embrace it.

The facts are clear: If there is no pain there will probably be no change, and where there is no change there will be no eternal gain. Pain is the process God uses to transform us and so transform our world. It really does hurt so good!

Where do you need pain? Where do you need change? Don’t fight it, don’t flee from it, embrace it and imagine the possibilities!

Taken from http://greateryes.blogspot.com/2012/04/no-pain-no-change-no-gain.html



NCAA Football Week 3
Week 3 features some marquis matchups in the top 25

#18 Florida @ #23 Tennessee
The Gators have taken 7 straight from the Volunteers and UT has an opportunity to reverse the trend at home in Knoxville. The Vols have one of the best quarterbacks in college football in Tyler Bray, but the game will come down to just how much the running game has improved since last season. Florida’s Mike Gillislee has already accumulated 231 yards and 4 touchdowns on 38 games this season.
Florida – 27, Tennessee – 26

#2 USC @ #21 Stanford
What a honey of a game for each team’s Pac-12 openers. Neither team has played a strong group of opponents thus far, and both have struggled in a game against an inferior team. USC, behind Heisman candidate QB Matt Barkley, has shown to have the more potent offense, notching 91 points and 920 yards of offense, to Stanford’s 70 and 653. Stanford has the advantage of home field for Barkley’s first significant test.
USC – 41, Stanford 23

#20 Notre Dame @ #10 Michigan State
The Irish and Spartans will square off in this week’s top non-conference game. These teams match up very well, with both defenses allowing less than 14 points per game, and both offenses bringing a very good run/pass balance. The Irish may have to rely on defense and special teams, as the Spartans have not allowed on offensive touchdown so far.
Michigan State – 24, Notre Dame – 20

#1 Alabama @ Arkansas
Five days ago, this would have been the game to watch, both teams sitting in the top 10. However, Louisiana-Monroe’s Warhawks put a damper on that, taking out the Razorbacks on the road in overtime. Arkansas had play through three significant injuries in that game, one being the starting quarterback Tyler Wilson, the other two carted off the field on stretchers. The biggest thing to remember about games like Arkansas and ULM is that it is as never as bad for the losing team or as good for the winning team as it seems at the time. Wilson’s status is still unknown, but if he’s able to go, don’t count the Razorbacks out.
Alabama 30, Arkansas 27

Navy @ Penn State
These two proud programs have started the 2012 season in disappointing fashion. Navy dropped it’s only game of the early season 50-10 to Notre Dame in Dublin, Ireland, and we all know about Penn State’s struggles. If either team wants to turn it’s season around, this is where it will start. The Midshipmen and Lions match up well in terms of rushing and passing – as well as ball security. Navy turned the ball over 4 times versus Notre Dame, and Penn State recorded 3 turnovers against Ohio, and missed 4 field goal attempts against Virginia. Saturday’s result will depend on which team can take care of the ball.
Penn State – 20, Navy – 14

Middle Tennessee State @ Memphis
Not one of the big games this week, but it pits two teams who lost in week 1 to FCS oppenents, MTSU to McNeese State, Memphis to Tennessee-Martin. The Raiders won their Sun Belt conference opener against a weak FAU team in week 2, while the Tigers lost to defending Sun Belt champion Arkansas State. This is as close to must-win as you will find for a non-conference game in week 3.
MTSU – 37, Memphis – 27


Last Week’s Results: 3-2
Season Results: 3-2


NFL Football Week 2

Chicago @ Green Bay
The oldest rivalry in the NFL kicks off tonight, with the Packers coming off a disappointing loss to San Francisco, the Bears a big win over Indy. Both teams have capable quarterbacks, the advantage going to the Packers’ Aaron Rogers. The Bears, however, have a decided advantage in the running game: veteran Matt Forte rushed for 80 yards and a touchdown against the Colts, while the Packers were led by Rogers with 27 yards. And thus far, there is little sign of improvement from the Pack’s revamped secondary.
Bears – 24, Packers – 20

Detroit @ San Fransisco
Handshake Bowl II!!! With the Packers and Giants stumbling out of the gate, these are two teams with a chance to establish themselves as the team to beat in the NFC. This game features strength on strength between the 49er defense and the Lion offense. Look for another thriller, the winner likely to be whichever offense can take care of the ball.
49ers 33, Lions 31

New Orleans @ Carolina
Both teams in this NFC South matchup are coming off tough losses in week 1. Drew Brees and the Saints were upstaged by Washington rookie QB Robert Griffin III, while the Panther’s were done in by the Bucs with some costly 3rd-quarter mistakes. Neither team could run or stop the run, which sets up a battle between Brees and the Panthers’ Cam Newton.
Saints – 35, Panthers – 30

New York Jets @ Pittsburgh
Back in the preseason, no one would likely have given this game a second look. Now, with the Jets dropping 41 points last week against the Bills and the Steelers’ offense tied for #23 in the league, the game takes on a little more luster. The Steelers should be able to move the ball on New York, who allowed 195 rushing yards against Buffalo. We’ll have to wait and see if the Jets’ week 1 offense will be consistent of a one-week wonder.
Jets – 31, Steelers – 20

Last Week’s Results: N/A
Season Results: 0-0