Monday, March 27, 2006

On the Final Four

I know that most people reading this don't actually care about sports but I couldn't resist. I am not even going to have the courtesy to explain the sports jargon in this post. I am just going to write as if you are all informed and can track with me.

This year's NCAA tournament has been great and it has sucked. Most of the games have come down to the last few seconds and many even into overtime. Tons of lower seeds have upset the higher seeds and have made great stories. The problem is that now that the final four is set, who really cares? LSU is a good story because they are from Louisiana and everyone still feels bad from Katrina but no one outside of LA care about this basketball team. George Mason is a good story because they are a number 11 seed that somehow made their way into the semi-finals but who even know where George Mason University is located? I think it is somewhere near D.C. but I will never need to know that again because they will never reach this level in sports again. Florida is a legitimate team to reach the final four and the only one I picked correctly, but their coach looks like a pretty boy who probably always got his way in life. He just has the look of a spoiled kid so I really don't want to see them win. UCLA is the only saving grace for this tournament and the reason is that they are a basketball school from an actual large market city. If it wasn't for UCLA I think the ratings for this upcoming weekend's games will reach an all time low.

So here's the story. I only picked 37 of the 63 games correctly. I picked UCONN to beat UW but I cheered for UW because that is where I got my undergrad degree. UW should have fouled UCONN and I think they would be in the Final Four.

Duke looked awful in the tournament and proved that having some of the best players means nothing in college.

Gonzaga should be in the Final Four but played like junior high students and panicked when they clearly had the game won. Adam Morrison is a great player but is one of the ugliest basketball players I have ever seen. That should help him though because ugly, white basketball players are usually good. (i.e. Larry Bird, Kevin McCale, Kurt Rambis, Jason Kidd [half-white])

I think this whole tournament should be played again and we will see four new teams reach the finals with a whole new set of stories. All in all, my brackets sucked but it was cool. That is the great thing about college basketball. It is a bunch of kids who love to play and who make it fun for us all to watch.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Shark Boy and God

Last Thursday my wife and boys headed to the Library to load up on books that never fail to induce a new “kick” for the month. Depending on what books they choose, our boys could come out of the Library as superheroes or Space Men. This week it happened to be books about astronauts so naturally my son informed me that he will be missing some school because he is going to the moon.

Anyway, this month they also came home with the movie Shark Boy and Lava Girl. We heard about the movie but had yet to see it so we really did not know what to expect. Friday night came, we ate our pizza, we popped our popcorn, and we settled in for movie night. From the opening scene when Shark Boy was separated from his father to be raised by sharks until the end when the Ice Princess saved the day by freezing Mr. Electricity, my boys were captivated. I don’t want to give the whole movie away because it is certain to be on your “I can’t wait to see this” list, so let me get to the point.

My son’s new hero is Shark Boy. In fact, his new identity is Shark Boy. Yesterday he told me that he was the king of the ocean and that he can feel his teeth getting sharper. He even lifted up his arms to show me where his gills were growing. (The great thing about our ribs is that they do look like shark’s gills under the skin).

I like living with Shark Boy. I like it because not only am I protected when I am near water, but also because it means that my boy is not giving into culture. He is not being discouraged by our public school system that values conformity over creativity. He is not discouraged by the fact that even though he is Shark Boy, he has to wake up and go to school and obey his parents. Living with Shark Boy shows me that there is more to this world than what meets the eye. And just because not everyone believes in Shark Boy doesn’t mean that he isn’t there.

I also like living with Shark Boy because that means that at some point during the day, I will have to give up my secret identity and morph into some super-hero that will assist in destroying Mr. Electricity and his “Plug-Hounds”. This allows me to get into my son’s world and it allows me to validate his being in that world. My wife and I talk about this often and we just really want our kids to live to the fullest. To live lives unrestricted by unnecessary boundaries and to have no shame in imagining and dreaming.

I also think this will help them some day when they really begin to understand what faith is all about. If they have been allowed to live by their rules and not the limiting rules of society, then they will be better prepared to stand alone in their beliefs. They will also be better prepared to believe in a God that isn’t confined by modern-day Western culture. Shark Boy and Lava Girl could do anything they wanted to do because they were in the world imagined by the main character, Max. Just like God can work things anyway He chooses because we are in the world that He created.

I don’t want to turn this into a lofty theology lesson, I just want to say thanks to my one- front tooth, 6 year old, Shark Boy.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Letting Go For Lent

Now that the season of Lent is upon us, Catholics and an increasing number of protestant Christians are releasing things in their lives for the sake of Christ (supposedly).

Here are things I am giving up for Lent....

1) I will not drink more than 2 cups of coffee and one mocha per day.
2) I will give up green beans (unless they are canned with tons of preservatives).
3) I will not go running for exercise (if I am chased by something threatening I will run up to a 1/4 mile before giving up).
4) I will not watch TV except ESPN, BBC World News, Cartoons with my kids, Movies, and British Sitcoms.
5) I will not sleep through the messages at church, especially not when I am teaching.
6) I will not drink Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer.
7) I will not streak the outfield at the Angels home opener (no guarantee after that though).
8) I will not work any extra hours.
9) I will not put any money into savings (a real big change here).
10) I will not go surfing without a wet suit.

Well, this certainly looks like a formidable task but like many others who use this time to demonstrate their loyalty to Christ, I am willing to serve.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

You Think it's Bad in Washington

Around 7:00 AM on Tuesday morning of this week, Orange County was passing the 17 consecutive hours of measureable rainfall mark. I was sure we would see our streak soar into the 20's, but the sun came out and dashed our hopes of matching the hard fought record that our friends in Washington attained earlier this year. The forecast is for rain again sometime during the month of March so we will give it another go.