preacherpen

Archive for the ‘Sports’ Category

How Good Will the Gators be This Year?

In Sports, The Pastor's Blog on August 25, 2009 at 7:45 PM

Florida Gators logo

Anyone following this blog knows this author is a Gator fan. There are probably plenty of people who disagree with me on my choice of schools, but that is perfectly okay with me. Choice is not necessarily a bad thing here. Personally, I can’t understand why anyone would beg to differ with me on this matter, but it does happen.

Along with scores of other collegiate fans, I am patiently awaiting the start of the football season, and especially SEC play. There just is no other conference that can match the intensity, strength, speed and power of the teams which make up the Southeastern Conference of Division 1 football. Sure, there are lots of conferences which have powerful, high-quality teams, but when the entire conference is examined together, I would have to declare the SEC a definite winner.

It certainly looks like the Florida Gators will be a strong contender for another shot at the BCS National Title; the offense is truly impressive and the defense has come back practically intact from last year. There are several new players to watch out for this year on both sides of the ball – players who have shown great progress during the summer and who will definitely be able to make positive contributions to the team effort.

There is one question mark that definitely needs to be answered, and I believe Gator fans are ready to see the results. What will this team do without Percy Harvin? The talented play maker is no longer wearing orange and blue with his former team mates as he opted to turn pro. I wish him much success in this endeavor. Many will tell you they wish he would have stayed for another year, but that didn’t happen and we must move on.

According to Orlando Sentinel Staff Reporter Jeremy Fowler, Jeff Demps and Andre Debose have big shoes to fill, but by all accounts, that task is looking pretty good. These two guys are not only speedy, but have working hard to learn the Gator system and are being coached to carry out a variety of roles. It’s not about individual brilliance, but it is about how well these guys can can help the team win.

One more thing, then I’ll go for now. We do have a pretty good quarterback in the person of Tim Tebow. While talking with a Penn State fan today, I heard the typical remark about Tebow’s shortcomings and how he’s not a great quarterback. Watch out everyone, the man is healthy for the first time in a long while. Tebow is a great leader who knows how to work and get his team mates on the same page with him.

With all that’s going on at Florida, it looks like a good year. Are there any Florida Gator fans out there?

Advertisements

My First Girls Fastpitch Softball Game – Mount Dora Bible

In A Christian Life, Family, Sports, The Pastor's Blog on April 28, 2009 at 11:25 PM

Okay, so I’m way behind the times and should have had scores of games under my belt by this time in life. Baseball and softball have never been my favorite sports to me and I’ve avoided watching them for many years. I would rather watch paint dry than watch either of those sports.

One of the members of the coffee club I’m part of happens to be the coach of the Mount Dora Bible Bulldogs girls softball team. In a conversation yesterday several of were talking about us supporting each other in what we do, and I thought it was time for me to show support for the coach. After getting details sorted out, I went on my daily routine.

I paid for the ticket and found the concession stand – aren’t you supposed to get something to eat at a softball game? I found a good seat and took care of the hot dogs, settling in for my very first fastpitch game. There were quite a few people in the stands, and there was a cool breeze blowing. This seemed to be the perfect setting for the evening’s festivities.

It’s a wonder to me the girls even had voices at the end of the game. I’ve never heard so much yelling and screaming! It was fun to watch those girls having so much fun. The team whose players were batting got to scream, yell and act like their voices needed to be heard in the next county. I was amused just watching them. Actually, that was just as much fun as watching the pitcher.

Thankfully, the game ended in 7 innings and coach’s team won. I believe the score was 6 to nothing. All the girls greeted each other in center field when the game was over. It was nice to see the sportsmanship exhibited by both teams.

Now, for some thought that came to me as I was sitting on the couch and watching some TV. First, the fans, coaches and players did not seem to be affected in the least by the affairs of the world which engulfs so many people. For a moment of time, the people at the game weren’t concerned about the state of the economy, swine flu or the war on terror. They were just happy to live in a country where freed still exists and we are allowed to watch a game in a public place.

In a crowd that size, you know there had to be people who hold different political and religious views. For a moment in time fans representing both schools could forget about trials and troubles which surely affect them. For a moment in time there was a sense of togetherness and friendship no matter what the score was at the end of the game.

Perhaps everyone in congress and the senate should take time out and go watch a girls fast pitch softball game. If they would do that, maybe they could quit bickering about petty differences and get to the business of taking care of our country.

I would love to see those same members of congress and senate meet somewhere in the middle of a room and form two lines; they would then do like athletes do after a game: walk by each other, shake hands and look forward to the next game. No one gets ridiculed for losing, and the winners don’t gloat over their victory.

Wouldn’t that be nice?

Happy Campers at the University of Florida

In Sports on January 11, 2009 at 10:18 PM

After winning their second BCS title in three years, the Florida Gators are in a good position to come back next year and do it all over again. That’s a sweet sound to Gator fans all over; it’s probably not good news to the rest of the SEC. To carry it a step further, there’s probably not many other fans outside Gainseville who are happy about Tebow and some other key players returning for another year.

During a celebration held in Gainseville Sunday, Tim Tebow said he was ready to go for another title. I think the young man has a sense of humor and can bring great emotion to a crowd. After his speech and as he was heading back to his seat, he said

”Oh, and by the way, one more thing,” Tebow told the crowd, not to mention a statewide TV audience. “Let’s do it again — I’m coming back.”

All the pieces to the puzzle are not in place yet, but Tebow is a big part of it. It would be nice to have Percy Harvin and Brandon Spikes back for another year, but they didn’t let anyone know about their plans. Harvin meets with Coach Meyer this week and has to declare by next Sunday whether or not he will return; the same goes for Spikes.

Much has been written about Tim Tebow, and rightfully so. He will be the first to tell anyone, however, he played quarterback on a team whose players worked together as a well-oiled machine. Yes, he was honored by winning the offensive player of the BCS Championship game. He has a high-powered supporting cast, to be sure.

Here’s a video of what Coach Urban Meyer calls the play of the game. Ahmad Black intercepts Oklahoma’s Heisman quarterback Sam Bradford during the 4th quarter. What a play! You’ll probably want to watch it several times to get the feel of how spectacular that play was.

Ahmad Black intercepts Sam Bradford

What about you? Would you like to see another BCS Championship title come to Gainseville?

Gators and 2:26 to Go – National Champs Again

In Sports on January 9, 2009 at 12:28 AM

Well, there’s not much time left in this hard-fought game, and it looks like the Gators will once again hold the BCS national title. Both teams are certainly worthy of the title, but it looks like Florida just had too much firepower for the Sooner’s defense.

Both quarterbacks played exceptionally well, but both threw uncharacteristic interceptions. Tebow threw more tonight than he did during the whole season. Sam Bradford followed suit with a couple of interceptions, too. In the end, though, Tebow pulled out all the stops and gave the Sooner defense more than they could handle. My hope is for both of these fine athletes to come back to finish their college education.

I don’t believe Oklahoma faced a team with the speed and talent of Florida this football season, but my hat’s definitely off to them for the way they played. In reality, I thought the score would be more than it was, but 24 to 14 is okay with me. Florida has so many weapons in every area of the game and it can be overwhelming for any opposing team to handle.

Gator sitting on the couch

Gator sitting on the couch

Some of you may remember me asking you a question in this post regarding which chair to watch the game in. Well, I didn’t wheel my Gator chair into the den; it was the couch for me as my Westie and I enjoyed the game together. BTW, our four year old West Highland White Terrier is aptly named … Gator. Actually, he slept almost all the way through the game, but woke up for the finale.

What a game! Honestly, I’m impressed with the Sooners because they really came to play. They fought hard, but were just overmatched.  Congratulations to both teams for a spectacular season.

Here’s a question for you: should the BCS National Champions, Florida Gators, be No. 1 in the country?

Florida Gators – One More Game

In Sports on January 7, 2009 at 11:21 AM

With only one more game to play, the Florida Gators and Oklahoma Sooners are making adjustments and honing their game plans for tomorrow night’s national championship contest. Both teams have compiled extraordinary statistics this season, and have proven themselves to be worthy to play against each other in the title game.

The Big 12 Division champs and BCS #1 Sooners have been to the dance many times before, and have walked away with the national title seven times; the most recent was in 2000. Could this be the year they bring home another title? Not likely.

Florida owns the SEC title, and is BCS #2. The Gators are looking for their third BCS national title, and certainly have a good shot at bringing home another trophy. That would look good along with the two other titles won in 1996 and 2006. Go, Gators!

Both teams feature superb quarterbacks, offenses, defenses and special teams. Each head coach has been successful while compiling very similar stats; this will be an exciting game, without a doubt. Many sports analysts boil the game down to Oklahoma’s offense against Florida’s fast defense. I don’t buy that in the least. Both teams show amazing offensive prowess, but I will have to give the defensive edge to Florida.

This game will showcase two Heisman quarterbacks, and should be one of the most exciting games of the season. On Florida’s side is one of the most talented quarterbacks in college football, Tim Tebow. He runs like a fullback, and has incredible arm strength. He has really worked on his passing accuracy, and throws very few interceptions. Sam Bradford, this years Heisman winner, is an amazing athlete, and is deserving of the prestigious award.

gator_chairAnyway, my plans are to watch tomorrow night, and hopefully see the Gators bring home another national title. The big question for me is going to be which seat in the den to enjoy the game on. It’s either going to be on the couch or in my Gator chair.

Two questions for you. Please comment, but be nice. Who will walk away with the national title? Which seat?

Florida Gators Looking Pretty Good

In Sports on December 10, 2008 at 3:09 PM

In case you don’t know by now, let me state I am unapologetic in being a Florida Gator fan. I only follow two sports, though, so I might not be classified as a real fan. The two college sports I follow are football and basketball; baseball, tennis, soccer and others just don’t seem to hold the same attention as the first two.

Many people didn’t give the Gators much of a chance to be in the title game, especially after losing by one point to Ole Miss in September. After that loss, however, Florida has been playing with more passion and intensity.  Many commentators, bloggers and media gave the Gators little chance to win against Alabama’s powerhouse team. Florida keeps pressing forward, though.

I wrote a post in September about the possibility of the Gators winning another title, and it seems that reality is getting closer all the time. Mind you, it’s not over yet, and we face a very good team in the Oklahoma Sooners. That is a team which shows balance in all aspects of the game from coaching to execution in offense, defense and special teams.

On November 28, I wrote a post entitled The Florida Gators Need Three More, in which the last games Florida needs for the title are outlined. This is not rocket science; these are just some ramblings of a Gator fan who would like to see us with another national championship to our credit. We will definitely have to wait and see what happens.

While coming home this morning from a little R&R, I was reading an article in the USA Today paper (my wife was driving) about Sam Bradford bringing pride to the Cherokee Indians. It was a good article, and revealed a lot of information about OU’s star quarterback I didn’t know. It’s good to read about young people who have their heads squarely placed on their shoulders.

As far as the Heisman Trophy goes, it appears Sam Bradford is a heavyweight in the voting, and many just walk away with that prestigious award. If he does, good for him, and it will be well earned. Please allow me to interject the fact our quarterback is not shabby, by any stretch of the imagination. It is certain, Tim Tebow is not showing the numbers he put up last year, but he has matured into a better quarterback and team leader, in my opinion.

I would like to know what you think about the title game. What are your thoughts about the teams, coaches and who will hoist the coveted trophy. Comments are welcome, but, as always, they must be civil and without profanity. Would you also take my poll?

The Florida Gators Need Three More

In Sports on November 28, 2008 at 11:58 AM

Well, it’s that time of year again, the time for some serious movement in the football polls. Once again, there has been change after change in the rankings, and we have seen some teams fail to play to their full potential. It has been an exciting year so far, and there are still some great contests yet to be decided.

I am unashamedly a Florida Gator fan, and have been one for more years than I can remember. While stationed in Georgia, I was surrounded by Bulldog fans, and they always let me know their team was much better. Funny, I don’t remember that being the case!

My wife and I used to pastor a church in SW Georgia, and one of our members is the consummate Bulldog fan; a look inside her house would certainly confirm that fact. There’s red and black everywhere you look, with mascots in plenteous array. She told me one time that when Georgia beat the Gators, I would have to wear a black tux and a red cummerbund to church. My reply was “I don’t have a tux.” Her reply was “I’ll buy one for you.” Funny thing is, I don’t think her husband is a Georgia fan. Hmmm!

After the Gators had bulldog for lunch a few weeks ago, I got a pleasant call from Georgia. After my greetings, I heard the sweet refrain of “Ain’t it great to be a Florida Gator?” That was music to my ear, and would love to have heard it again. I had to make the call last year, and it was difficult, to say the least. She lamented the fact I didn’t sound very enthused when saying “Go, Bulldogs!” My reply? “I’m just not used to making the call and don’t have much experience.” She was not impressed.

One of my favorite holidays was celebrated yesterday, and I am grateful for the opportunity to offer thanks to my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ and God, the Father. The Spirit of God is my comforter, and I am thankful for God’s love and care for me and my family. I hope you have much to be thankful for, too.

As we near the end of this football season, I am reminded to be thankful for the one loss our team endured – Ole Miss winning by one point in a disastrous game in September. Thankful for a loss? Absolutely. It’s all in how you look at things. I tell my congregation all the time “your attitude affects your altitude.” Thank you, Ole Miss, for waking up the giant in us. Thank you for causing the Gators to come away from that embarrassing loss with a renewed determination to excel. Thank you for causing the Gators to play to their full potential. It should be noted the rest of the SEC probably isn’t too thankful for that one loss.

This post isn’t about stats and figures; it’s about our need to take care of three more games in order to hoist the national championship trophy again. Three games await us, three games will challenge us, and three games will decide whether or not our team is as good as they have been playing since the Ole Miss game.

My church clerk is a serious FSU fan, and my Sunday School Superintendent is a Miami Hurricane fan, which leaves me as the only Gator fan in the office. That’s perfectly alright with me, though. We all joke about FSU having a pretty good team when all the players are there and not being detained because of off-field antics. Coach Bowden has certainly had his share of players who have had to endure much needed discipline.

Our first hurdle is FSU, and that should be a pretty good game. I’ve said they have a decent defense which looked intimidating at times. Our defense has certainly become mature over the course of the season, and can stand toe-to-toe with any team. FSU’s defense has proven formidable during several games this year, but has also been shown to be quite porous, too. They just haven’t been consistent.

Our offense, defense and special team play has been nothing short of remarkable since that one point loss to Ol’ Miss. Actually, it was pretty good before that game, too, but all three areas have moved up to a higher level. The question is, can the Gators sustain their momentum? In my opinion, the answer is a resounding “yes.”

After the FSU game, we play for the SEC championship against a pretty good ‘Bama team. They are the default No. 1; in my opinion, there’s several other teams which should be rated in the slot they currently hold. Remember, they still have to get by Auburn, which they should do handily. Don’t count them as winners, though, as in-state rivalry games seems to throw out all the norms. Auburn could walk away tomorrow with a win.

The Crimson Tide have been close to losing several games this year to teams that should have been blown off the field by them. To say it kindly, the Tide has won several games by just a hair, which doesn’t show them as being worthy of the No. 1 slot. Florida, on the other hand, has offered up some pretty lopsided scores over the past couple of months.

Should we win over FSU and ‘Bama, we will most surely play for the national championship. I am not going to speculate who our opponent will be, but it will be a worthy opponent. To get to the title game, though, the Gators need to make sure the real Gators show up tomorrow and to the SEC championship. If the Gators play as well during the next two games as they have over the course of the last several weeks, we will surely come out on top.

What are your thoughts about the matter? Do you think the Florida Gators have a good shot at winning the BCS title?

Florida Gators over LSU Tigers

In Sports on October 12, 2008 at 12:35 AM

What a night. Florida came out on top 51 -21 in a game which featured a slew of offensive weapons from the quarterback Tim Tebow to the jet-like Percy Harvin. The fact is, it was a team effort and was the best showing for the Gators in quite a while. They played a magnificant game.

Tebow has lots of help this year, including two speedsters in Jeff Demps and Chris Rainey. Let me make this very clear – these two guys can run. When the game was over, Demps had 129 yards to his credit, and Rainey contributed 66 more yards to the 265 total yards on the ground. Talk about being lopsided. How about 475-321 Florida over LSU.

Kick return specialist Brandon James made significant plays, too. As one TV commentator mentioned, it’s amazing teams kick the ball to him. It would be impossible to name everyone who contributed to this lopsided Gator win.

I don’t want to forget about two others who made significant offensive contributions: Louis Murphy was involved in a 67-yard touchdown drive and Kestahn Moore who also ran in for a score.

Let me clarify something right up now, and that is we have an outstanding defense. The entire defense and special teams played with energy and fire tonight like I haven’t seen in quite a while. Even Brandon Spikes ran an 52-yard interception back for a score.

Florida Gators – What Can They Do?

In Sports on October 10, 2008 at 1:23 PM

No doubt about it, I am a football fan. There are fans who can spout statistics by the ton, but I am not one of them. If you were to ask who won the national title in a particular year, chances are you would get an answer from me you may not like. Granted, I can tell you about the University of Florida Gators title years, 1996 and 2006, but that is supposed to happen.

In a post called Gator Football Looks Different, I mentioned how this year’s team does not have the same look as last year. I really can’t put my finger on it, but it just looks like the Gators are playing uninspired football. It’s as if they can’t seem to get out of second gear on a routine basis; yes, there are times when the Gators look like they are the ferocious beasts which roam the swamps of Florida, but those times are not very often.

As has been previously mentioned, we have a tough schedule, and that should not surprise anyone. There are a couple of games this year many would consider pure yawners, but when you battle SEC teams week after week, anything can happen. There are several teams in the Southeastern Conference which could potentially vie for the national title. That speaks volumes about how tough our schedule really is.

Here’s another observation you may find plenty of agreement with. From where I sit, it appears Tim Tebow has some shackles holding him back. Up to this point, he hasn’t shown up as the throwing and running machine he was last year, or even as a backup to Chris Leak. I believe what we Gator fans are watching is a purposeful attempt to keep their star quarterback/running back healthy. Would you please just him play football?

Saturday’s game with LSU will speak a lot about the Gators’ character, drive and skill as one of the top teams in the nation. After reading several reviews of the battle in The Swamp, I have come to the conclusion many sports writers give the Gators no chance at all. The consensus is that with the Gators playing with so little fire and making so many mistakes, there just isn’t enough in the tank to overcome LSU’s challenge.

Personally, I don’t quite agree with that assessment. It is difficult for me to imagine the Gators losing twice in a row at home in the Swamp. Secondly, I believe Tebow will have the other players fired up so they can effectively defend their turf. Thirdly, they just can’t afford another loss. Isn’t that simple? Now, all they have to do is show up and play the way they are supposed to, win the game and look forward to the next one. There’s an SEC championship to win, then another national title. That’s exactly what the Gators can do.

Gator Football Looks Different

In Sports on September 27, 2008 at 2:39 PM

Albert

Albert

I know what you’re thinking, the Gators are winning and looking pretty good, and you’re absolutely right. Week after week they have been working steadily while on their way to another division title, then a third national title. It’s never an easy road, but I believe the Gators can manage the task again. It’s hard for any team to excel on both sides of the ball, but the Gators look like they have managed to do just that.

The South Eastern Conference (SEC) is a perennial powerhouse of schools who have the potential to become national title holders in any given year. As of this writing, there are six SEC teams in the top 25: Georgia (3), Florida (4), LSU (5), Alabama (8), Auburn (15) and Vanderbilt (21). That’s pretty impressive by anyone’s standards, don’t you think? Some would argue the SEC is the best conference in college football, and there seems to be a lot evidence in favor of that statement.

In order for the Gators to run the table, we’ll have to go through some pretty rough terrain. The Ole Miss Rebels come to The Swamp today, and that’s not going to be an easy game. There’s no doubt in my mind about the Gators winning, though. There is so much talent and drive in the SEC, that several of the teams could actually compete for the national title and win. This is one tough conference, so Florida has a lot of work in store before claiming the two titles: conference then national. It can be done, though.

For anyone interested, here’s the Gator schedule; you can see we’ve got a tough one. I would just about match our schedule with anyone’s in the country.

Here’s what’s so different this year: we have a good offense, and a good defense to supplement it. Another way to look at things is we have a complete package this year. I have heard many people bemoan the fact we’re not getting 50-60 points per game, and that’s certainly true. I would rather keep plugging away like we are than losing any games. Sure, it’s not quite as exciting as watching Tim Tebow put up ridiculously high numbers like last year, but what we’re doing can possible bring another championship to Titletown.

Our defense is looking good, and have done a superb job stopping the run this year. Teams just aren’t getting high numbers against this stingy defense, and that works in our favor. Special teams are playing at a high level, too.

When you put the whole package together, we have a very good team in all areas of the game. I know we look different compared to last year, but that’s perfectly alright with me. Keep winning like we have been, and it looks like we will upset the doubters. Different is not always a bad thing.

What do you think? Do the Gators look like they can bring another title home, or do you think they will fold during the season?