This past Sunday, I had an interesting experience as I was hiking in the woods near my home.
It was not a particularly easy walk. I pushed through more briars and spider webs than I care to count. I carefully made my way down a steep, overgrown hill to get to the bank of a small stream.
My trek took me to the “v” where this stream connected with another. For a number of reasons, I found myself wanting to pray. I kneeled down with my knees against the soft, wet sand, closed my eyes and started my prayer.
“Fans, for the past two weeks you have been reading about the bad break I got. Yet, today, I consider myself to be the luckiest man on the face of the earth.”
Those who were there when these words were uttered said you could’ve heard a pin drop at Yankee Stadium. The fans in attendance were focusing their attention on the player known as the “Iron Horse.”
It was July 4, 1939, and Lou Gehrig was beginning one of the most memorable sports speeches in history.
Gehrig had earned his nickname after playing 2,130 consecutive games at first base for the Yankees. The streak started in 1925 and lasted until May 2, 1939, when Gehrig removed himself from the lineup.
After testing at the Mayo Clinic, Gehrig received a diagnosis of ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) on June 13, his 39th birthday. Within two years of his diagnosis, Gehrig would die from complications of the disease. We now know ALS as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease.
In addition to writing about issues of faith, I also enjoy researching and writing about baseball players — especially players from my home state of South Carolina. What follows is a story on the life of Chino Smith, a Negro League player from the late 1920s and early 1930s who has ties to the Palmetto State.
Charlie “Chino” Smith
Chino Smith is considered by some to be one of the greatest hitters ever in baseball. He was listed in Sports Illustrated‘s “Top 50 Athletes from South Carolina.” Yet, his legacy remains a mystery to many.
The mystery begins with the basics. Smith’s birthdate is disupted as being sometime between 1901 and 1903. In addition, his hometown has been disputed as well. One source places his birthplace in Hamlet, N.C. Many others place it in Greenwood, S.C.
No matter the year or the birthplace, Smith had developed a reputation as a great hitter in the Negro Leagues by the time his life was cut short in 1932 (placing his age at his death somewhere between 28 and 30).
Life changes when you’ve been rescued from the pit of your own making.
One of my favorite movie scenes comes in “Unbreakable.”
It’s the moment in which the unlikely “superhero” David Dunn (played by Bruce Willis) comes in contact with his kryptonite. Dunn has great strength and a way of sensing danger. In a battle with a “villain,” Dunn falls onto the cover of the pool.
The scene builds to almost panic mode as Dunn and the pool cover begin to slip below the water. He starts to move his arms and legs and tries to stay afloat, but you can almost feel the desperation.
Memorial Day is a chance to remember and to give honor and respect to those who have sacrificed all.
Today is Memorial Day and it’s a time to pause and remember the heroic sacrifice that others have made on the behalf of our country.
In 2015, PBS published a story on its website that estimated the total U.S. military deaths as more than 1.1 million. Add in the fellow servicemembers, the famlies and friends of those who died, the communities they lived in and the impact of Memorial Day is felt just about everywhere.
The church I attend ended the service Sunday with a video tribute to those who have died in the line of duty.
Yes, I’ll admit it up front. I’m a superhero geek and I absolutely love those kinds of movies. If it involves superheroes, I’ll, at least, give it a try.
So, as I’m writing this, I can’t even begin to rattle off the names of the superhero movies I’ve watched and the number of times I’ve watched them. I do have hopes for Batman and Justice League, but, at the moment, I’m opting for Marvel’s world as my favorite.
In watching these movies, I think that are some clear patterns that speak to us about our lives, our faith and church. With that in mind, here are some thoughts that hit me:
Story matters. Some of the worst superhero movies are the ones that assume everyone knows the story already. They leave out huge details and important character moments. However the latest Marvel efforts have done an incredible job of telling the story. I, for one, was never a particular fan of the first of the Thor movies. Entering into this movie, I had little expectation for the movie because I was not as familiar with the story arcs. Continue reading