Let The Madness Begin!

Join Our Bracket Challenge at CBSSports.com

Selection Sunday is just 2 days away!

That’s right, just 2 short days until the kickoff of a 23-day holiday for college hoops fans. At around 5:30 p.m. CDT this Sunday, fans across the country will begin a series of excruciating decision-makng processes that include, but are not limited to:

  • Do I take the 5 or the 12 here?
  • Will all the #1 seeds make it through?
  • When did they get 68 teams? … and finally,
  • Is this the year a 1 goes down to a 16?
Coins will be flipped, eeny-meeny-miney-moes will be incanted, and office production will shut down nationwide as fans everywhere strive to become “Bracket Champion of All Time!”
Game7Dads is joining the madness by hosting a CBS Bracket Manager group, and all are welcome! If you have not received an invitation via Facebook or email, you can do so by following this blog, liking us on Facebook, or emailing us at game7dads@gmail.com. You can also join directly at http://g7d.mayhem.cbssports.com. Password to join is oneanddone. Scoring will be as follows:

    • 1st round – 2 points per game, plus team seed bonus, i.e. if you correctly pick #10 over #7, you get 2 points + 10 points for the seed bonus
    • 2nd round – 3 points per game, plus team seed bonus
    • Regional Semis – 4 points per game, plus team seed bonus
    • Regional Finals – 8 points per game, plus team seed bonus
    • Final Four – 16 points per game, no seed bonus
    • National Title Game – 32 points, no seed bonus
    • Tie-breaker will be total points scored in title game
    • (Note: “1st round” refers to the round of 32 games … I personally do not count the 4 play-in games as a “round”)

But wait, there’s more … prizes, sort of. Runner-up of the G7D challenge will receive a copy of Carey Casey’s Championship Fathering, and a $25 donation made in their honor to the National Center for Fathering. The winner will receive a copy of the book and a $75 donation. So please sign up and help us benefit the NCF.

The only rule is: dads, involve your kids. This shouldn’t be difficult if they are basketball fans, but even if they aren’t, get their input, and watch the games together to see how your picks unfold. The whole idea here is to enjoy the games together. You may have to endure your child picking a 16-seed over a #1 because they like the mascot, but that’s how it goes!

Subscribe to the blog here and join us on Facebook for updates and insights as the tournament unfolds. Have fun and enjoy the madness!

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



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? 


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


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


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


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

The Game7Dads Toolkit


Championship Fathering: How to Win at Being a Dad, Carey Casey
The 21-Day Dad’s Challenge, Carey Casey
Tender Warrior, Stu Weber
Uncommon Manhood, Tony Dungy
The Dad I Wish I Had, Freddie Scott

The National Center for Fathering

All Pro Dad

It’s Good To Be The Dad

Follow Illustrated

War on Men

The Freddie Scott Show: Tackling the Game of Life

Carey Casey on Focus on the Family:
Being a Champion to Your Wife and Kids, Part 1 (10/20/2011)

Being a Champion to Your Wife and Kids, Part 2 (10/21/2011)

How Dads Can Stay Involved

Winning Strategies for Fathers (8/31/2009)

Football Returns: What the GameTeaches About Life and Fatherhood

But Shammah took his stand in the middle of the field, defended it, and struck down the Philistines. So the Lord brought about a great victory. 

– 2 Samuel 23:12

For football fans, this time of the year is like Christmas. In a lot of ways, it’s better than Christmas. We get to unwrap a new present every Monday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday (and, at times, Tuesday, as well) from now until early in February.

I love the game of football. And not only for the 4th-quarter comebacks, the electrifying special teams plays, the quarterback sacks, or the one-handed catches. I believe that football teaches valuable lessons about life. Note the following:

Football is reality.
Football was doing reality TV before anyone had ever heard of Survivor or Man vs. Wild. Every week, someone’s position, scholarship, or job is on the line. And every week, your team’s spot in the standings is on the line, and one or two plays is the difference between the Orange Bowl and the Meineke Car Care Bowl (no offense to the good people at Meineke).

Football requires people with specialized skills. 
Wide receivers don’t play on the offensive line. Linemen don’t run routes and catch passes. But success in the game requires each and every person on the field. Just as in football, we all have special skills that we use to accomplish our goals. Not everyone has the desire or skill set to be doctors, lawyers, or beauticians. Fortunately, we don’t have to be great at everything to be loving, effective dads, but there may be times when we need to surround ourselves with people who complement our weaknesses.

Football teaches about dealing with adversity. 
Each and every play in football is a lesson is adversity. One team has a goal, and there are 11 other full-grown men standing in their way with their own goal of stopping them. After every fumble, interception, dropped pass, or missed tackle, the responsible player has to choose how he will respond when he returns to the field. As parents, as employees, as spouses – in every role we play – we must decide how we respond when adversity strikes.

Football teaches about dealing with success.
For every fumble and interception lost, there are probably a dozen obnoxious touchdown dances. I love the expression, “Act like you’ve been there” as a response to success, and it’s something I try to teach the youngsters I coach. As surely as the previous play showed us the thrill of success, the next one can bring us back down to the frustration of adversity.

These are the reasons, among others, that I’ve chosen to center this ministry around sports. Athletes deal with the same kinds of thing as “regular” people every time they step on the field, court, etc. While the athletes themselves are not always the best role models either for dads or our kids, we can learn from the good and the bad that we see.

NCAA Football – Week 2

After some exciting storylines and matchups in the opening week, week 2 will highlight some big conference games, most notably the conference openers for new SEC members Missouri and Texas A&M. The week begins tonight with Pittsburgh opening Big East play at Cincinnati. The Panthers will have to rebound from a week 1 loss to FCS Youngstown State. No matchups between nationally ranked teams this week, as a great deal of the top 25 will host FCS teams.

Pittsburgh @ Cincinnati
Pitt comes close on the road, but can’t rebound from the loss to YSU on the road.
Cincinnati – 27,  Pitt – 23

#9 Georgia @ Missouri
A tough road contest for the Bulldogs. Missouri’s home crowd should be stoked for the Tigers’ SEC opener, but Aaron Murray leads the Dawgs to a win.
Georgia – 31, Missouri – 17

#24 Florida @ Texas A&M 
Florida gets a bad draw, playing in A&M’s season and SEC opener in one of the toughest stadiums in football.
A&M – 26, Florida – 20

Miami (FL) @ #21 Kansas State
With an 11:00 a.m. kickoff, the Hurricanes should turn in the first upset of week 2.
Miami – 37, KSU – 34

Washington @ #3 LSU
The Husky coaches brought a caged live tiger to practice this week to simulate conditions against LSU’s Tigers. Eleven tigers on the field with the starting offense would have been a more accurate simulation.
LSU – 44, Washington 23

Please leave your  predictions and other comments!

Privacy Policy

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1) Copies of blog text or other outside references are used with the author’s permission. Links to outside sources are posted at Game7Dads’ discretion.
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3) Game7Dads reserves the right to edit or delete any content, including posts or comments, in order to comply with our privacy policy.

About Game7Dads

In the book of Malachi, chapter 4, verse 6, the very last verse of the Old Testament, God has sent the prophet Elijah with these instructions:

… he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers. Otherwise, I will come and strike the land with a curse.

– Malachi 4:6 (HCSB)
Dads, to put it plainly, we have not done the job. I can sit here and type statistics at you for the rest of the day, but we’ve heard it all over and over. We see the news. Teen pregnancy, drug use, school shootings, etc. If we look at it from the perspective of Malachi 4:6, we can see that our land is indeed cursed.
I promised no statistics, but here’s one we should all hear. Tonight, 27 million children (that’s 27,000,000) will go to bed without their father in the home. Research from the National Center for Fathering (www.fathers.com), shows that the father’s absence in the home is ”linked to higher rates of poverty, failure in school, teen pregnancy, substance abuse, violent crime, depression, and ultimately a loss of hope.”(1)

“Every game from now on is a game 7 mentality.”
– LeBron James, 2012

I’ve set up Game7Dads and Game7Dads.com to help my family and others out there who would like to reverse the trend of father-absence in our country. To put in in terms of sports, which most guys can understand, we’re in Game 7 of a big playoff series, it’s halftime, and folks, we’ve taken a beating. However, as a good coach would tell you, there’s still time to step up and win this series, and give our children what they need to fight the next series.
As I build this program, keep in mind that everything posted here is for ALL dads. That includes new dads, old dads, granddads, step-dads, single dads, divorced dads, and adoptive dads like me. It’s also for men who may not even have children, but have chosen to play a role in the life of a child who otherwise would not have a present father figure. Let’s always remember that the goal is not only to be fathers in our home, but to enlist other dads to get in the game as well.
Let’s turn it around, guys. Let’s win Game 7.
  1. Carey Casey. (2007). Championship Fathering: What Is It?. In Fathers.com. Retrieved 5/3/2012, from http://www.fathers.com/content/index.php?option=com_content&task=section&id=12&Itemid=150.

About Me

So now that you kind of know what Game7Dads is all about, let me tell you a little about me.

My name is Mark. I live in Nashville, Tennessee with my wife and our three awesome sons. The first thing you should know about me is that there is absolutely nothing about me that qualifies me to give anyone fathering “lessons.” My purpose is to share good advise from people who I feel are qualified and to offer some personal opinions and suggestions.

As I said, I have three wonderful sons, all of whom my wife and I adopted. We have two boys from Ethiopia, both adopted in 2010, and one from South Korea, adopted in 2006. The Lord has blessed us tremendously through our adoption journey.

I am a 1995 graduate of Western Kentucky University (go Hilltoppers!) with  B.A.s in Psychology and History. I also have an Associates Design in Software Technology, which I’ve used to find gainful employment as a Software Designer here in the Nashville area.

As you may have already noticed, I am also a huge sports fan. I root for WKU, the University of Tennessee, the Tennessee Titans, the Miami Heat, the Nashville Predators, and the Cincinnati Reds. I have also recently been seen cheering for the Hoosiers, Racers, Knicks, Grizzlies, Mets, and 49ers.

I spend some of my free time as a casual video game player. I mostly play sports games and game where stuff blows up. My favorites include the NCAA Football series, Madden, NBA 2k, and I’ve recently discovered the awesomeness of the FIFA series.

I also enjoy R&B music, particularly the “old” stuff. My favorite bands include Guy, New Edition, Keith Sweat, and Ralph Tresvant. I also like other genres, and some other artists you may find on my iPod are The Doors, Alan Jackson, Aerosmith, Tchaikovsky, and Elvis.

Out of all the titles and roles I’ve given about myself — student, employee, sports fan — the three most important positions that I hold are those of husband, father, and son. I was given this vision of mentoring other fathers at a conference hosted by the organization Iron Sharpens Iron, in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. During that time, I was able to meet and be inspired by two outstanding men of God: Carey Casey, CEO of the National Center for Fathering, and Dr. Dan Erickson, founder of People Matter Ministries. You will be hearing a lot more about and from these men as this vision expands.