Thursday, July 15, 2004

All-Star God-pleasers

"I'm not a people pleaser. I can't say that I never have been, but I've learned not to be. I try to do all the things that I do to please God. And everything kind of falls into place after that."--Marlon Anderson of the St. Louis Cardinals, quoted from Gameday Magazine.

I am impressed with the way athletes these days express their faith in God. Some do it with words, others with gestures toward the sky, still others by their generosity to the poor. My favorite player in baseball, Albert Pujols, pointed to the sky when he hit a double in last night's All-Star game. (He's not my favorite because he points to the sky but because he lives like his teammate, Anderson, quoted above, whether he points to the sky or not).

Clemmons got shelled in front of a hometown crowd. He pitched in the All-Star game in 1986 and did better. I recently saw a piece on ESPN on J.R. Richard, who pitched in the 1980 All-Star game and smoked Reggie Jackson among others. He later had a stroke, trusted his money to crooks and lost millions and eventually lived under a bridge in Houston, until friends heard about it and rescued him. At some point, ESPN doesn't say, he became a Christian and now preaches at a church and is a youth pitching coach. Sniffing a great irony, ESPN asked Richard how it felt to have been at the top then to fall to rock bottom, Richard was matter of fact. "You're born with nothing, you die with nothing--the Lord gives and the Lord takes away...what I'm left with is not what ifs but what was...and what will I do now?"

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