Monthly Archives: October 2010

Playing for Change — Stand By Me

I love this video. And I missed the concert last night. Blech.

Category: Music, Video

Hockey makes Bubba feel old

I am sitting here recovering from a cold and watching the Canadiens / Senators hockey game. All of a sudden, I am feeling really, really old.

Some sports do not change much. Baseball, for instance, has had relatively few baseball teams move, and the rules have been fairly constant. The biggest change I can remember is the designated hitter in the American League, and that was adopted in 1973.

Hockey, on the other hand, has changed a lot. As the almost-forgotten sibling in the family of major league sports, the NHL has had to make many changes in their attempt to make the game more palatable for Americans with bad eyesight and an intolerance to spend energy learning a game they did not grow up playing.

I estimate that somewhere around 1979 or so I became a hardcore hockey fan, making a date with my 13″ black and white television to watch Hockey Night in Canada every Saturday night during the season. I even watched games in French when I did not like the game being broadcast in English on channel 4. Here are some of the changes I have seen in the last 31 seasons:

  1. Teams have moved around. A lot. The Winnipeg Jets are now the Phoenix Coyotes, the Quebec Nordiques are the Colorado Avalanche, the Hartford Whalers are the Carolina Hurricanes, and the Minnesota North Stars are now the Dallas Stars.
  2. Expansion has brought ice to a lot of places that normally do not see it. Teams that were not around in 1979 include the Tampa Bay Lightning, Florida Panthers, Atlanta Thrashers, Columbus Blue Jackets, and the Ottawa Senators.
  3. Noticeable rule changes have altered the look of the game. I remember Guy LaFleur, among others, with their hair flying in the wind as they skated back and forth. In 1979, any new NHL player had to wear a helmet, with veterans being able to choose if they wanted a lid. While I understand the safety issues, players have become faceless to me…appearing like┬áhomogeneous robots.
  4. Another rule change is the installation of nets behind the ends of the rink, preventing pucks from flying into the crowd. I have attended a lot of games where people have been hit, because they were not paying attention to the game. The death of a girl in Columbus, OH at an NHL game was the sad reason they finally installed the  much-needed safety devices.
  5. I remember a lot of face-offs generated by players trapping the puck along the boards with their skates. No more, move the game along guys. Goalies also used to shoot the puck into the crowd to force a face-off; cannot do that anymore unless you want a delay of game penalty. They also cannot roam behind the goal line as freely as they used to; if you wander out of the trapezoid, that’s another penalty.
  6. Passes going over 2 lines, shootouts, and faster re-starts have all made the game a lot faster and fun to watch for fans.

The NHL has worked hard to attract fans and make the game more enjoyable. While I appreciate their efforts, remembering all the changes makes Bubba feel like a grumpy old curmudgeon.

Category: Hockey

Dana White and ESPN

Bloody Elbow reports that Dana White was unhappy with ESPN for reporting UFC 120 results before the fights were broadcast on Spike TV. I really hate spoilers for events, so I agreed with Dana.

Initially.

However, let’s think about this for a minute. As a UFC fan, I was ecstatic when ESPN started reporting results, because their reporting added legitimacy to a sport that is still in its infancy compared to other major league sports.

So, now the UFC is a legitimate sport. And a conflict arose because the results were reported by ESPN as they occurred. Dana was upset because this spoiled the Spike telecast, which was tape delayed.

My question is, Dana, if you want the UFC to become a legitimate sport, why are you tape-delaying events? No other sport does it. Even NHL matches in Europe to start the season are broadcast live at 9:00am.

The solution is NOT to complain about ESPN. The right thing to do, sir, is to broadcast the event live. If you want to run it again during prime time, go right ahead.

But complaining about ESPN, a powerful network with the ability to add or remove legitimacy to your sport, is not going to be productive.

Category: MMA, Sports, UFC

National Coming Out Day

When we got up this morning, we both noticed the amount of Facebook posts declaring this to be National Coming Out Day, with an application sponsored by the Human Rights Campaign.

This is somewhat of a touchy subject in the Christian community, of which I am a part. After all, the Bible says homosexuality is wrong. No, I’m not going to post the scriptures; we all know what they are if we’re interested. If you claim to be a Christian, and you consider yourself to be part of the LGBT community, you will need to work that issue out between you and God; it is not my role to tell you how to work out your salvation.

However, as Christians, we have the next part completely messed up. If someone else says they are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgendered, what does the Bible say we’re supposed to do? Alienate them? Tell them they are “wrong”?

I may not be the brightest Biblical scholar out there, but my Bible commands Christians to love everyone. Period. That commandment comes directly from Jesus. If you have a problem with that, take it up with Jesus. I’m just the messenger.

For a few months, we had two women attend our church. Even though they never told anyone their sexual orientation, most everyone (myself included) assumed they were lesbians. They were a foster family, and had several children they were taking care of. I only got to know one of them. She was from Chicago, and we playfully fought about which team was better (Cubs or White Sox). She seemed to have a great heart, and I enjoyed talking to her.

Rumor has it that people called the church to complain about them. They couldn’t believe we let lesbians in to our church! Apparently these people forgot to read that whole “love everyone” thing.

Fortunately, our pastor gave the correct response. When people complained about lesbians in our church, he responded by saying “good! Those are the people we want here!” He never took the occasion to preach at them, but instead saw this as an opportunity to preach on love, grace, and acceptance. After all, we all have sinned…who are we to look down on someone else just because we think they are sinning? Is my sin “worse” than what I think a lesbian’s sin is?

This year, National Coming Out Day has taken on a lot of momentum because of a rash of recent suicides. High school and college-aged people are being harassed by classmates because they are either professing to be part of the LGBT population or have expressed confusion about their own sexual identity. Bullying is wrong, no matter what the reason. The fact that many have taken their own lives speaks to the prevalence and intensity of the type of intimidation faced by youth in this predicament.

Therefore, on National Coming Out Day, I am taking this opportunity to talk to any Christian that uses the Bible as a reason to not treat LGBTs with love. Jesus has commanded us to love everyone. End of discussion. If you are one of those people calling the church to protest lesbians in your congregation: stop it. Read the Bible, and tell me where it condones this type of behavior…it isn’t there. If your child is bullying a classmate with a confused sexual identity, it is your responsibility as a parent to teach your kid differently.

One more thing: if your motive for harassing LGBT individuals is so they will change…think about what you are doing. Do you think any gay person is going to change just because you treat them badly? Is a lesbian going to reconsider her sexual identity because you don’t want her and her partner to be married? No one has ever been attracted to Christianity because we cajoled someone into changing. They will know we are Christians by our love, not our intolerance for what we perceive as others’ sin. It’s time to realize that we are called to love others, not judge them.

I welcome constructive criticism and conversation below.