Friday, January 30, 2009

Superbowl Men

The Superbowl is just a couple days away and this year not only do we have the pleasure of watching two good teams play (Pittsburgh has THE best defense in the league, and the Cards high-powered offense will certainly test that), but we also get a marquee match-up of two authentically good "men." Ben Roethlisbgerger has won accolades from coaches and peers alike from his college days at Miami of Ohio up to the present day with the Steelers. He is hailed as a genuine leader, a man willing to put in his share of work in practice and get banged up for the team. Off the field he is said to be polite and well-spoken - the kind of guy you wouldn't mind having as you next door neighbor.

We all have our faults and failings and no one is perfect, but these men - Ben Roethlisberger and Kurt Warner - are decent men that appear to stand on principles. Unfortunately, that is not something we see a lot of in the world of sports these days.

My loyalties are rather split this Superbowl. The Steelers are the closest thing to a pro team in Ohio since the Brownies and the Bungels don't really count, not to mention they have a legendary tradition and aura about them. Add to that fact that my soon to be father-in-law is a die-hard Steelers fan, there are some reasons to throw in with the Iron Curtain. Nevertheless, my swing vote usually goes to the underdogs - in this case, the Cards.

In this case, the equalizing factor comes back to the QBs. I think they are both good men doing a fine job of leading and guiding their team through the war zone we call a football field. They both have valor, the ability to lead, and personal stature.

I would be just as happy to see either of these men walk of the field rewarded with another Superbowl ring to add to their collection.

To give Warner his share of the lime light, here is a story that has been circulating. Check it out:

"In a supermarket, Kurtis the stock boy, was busily working when a new
voice came over the loud speaker asking for a carry out at register 4.
Kurtis was almost finished, and wanted to get some fresh air, and
decided to answer the call. As he approached the check-out stand a
distant smile caught his eye, the new check-out girl was beautiful. She
was an older woman (maybe 26, and he was only 22) and he fell in love.

Later that day, after his shift was over, he waited by the punch clock
to find out her name. She came into the break room, smiled softly at
him, took her card and punched out, then left. He looked at her card,
He walked out only to see her start walking up the road.
Next day, he waited outside as she left the supermarket, and offered her
a ride home. He looked harmless enough, and she accepted. When he
dropped her off, he asked if maybe he could see her again, outside of
She simply said it wasn't possible.

He pressed and she explained she had two children and she couldn't
afford a baby-sitter, so he offered to pay for the baby-sitter.
Reluctantly she accepted his offer for a date for the following
Saturday. That Saturday night he arrived at her door only to have her
tell him that she was unable to go with him.
The baby-sitter had called and canceled. To which Kurtis simply said,
"Well, let's take the kids with us."

She tried to explain that taking the children was not an option, but
again not taking no for an answer, he pressed. Finally Brenda, brought
him inside to meet her children. She had an older daughter who was just
as cute as a bug, Kurtis thought, then Brenda brought out her son, in a
He was born a paraplegic with Down Syndrome.

Kurtis asked Brenda, "I still don't understand why the kids can't come
with us?" Brenda was amazed. Most men would run away from a woman with
two kids, especially if one had disabilities - just like her first
husband and father of her children had done. Kurtis was not ordinary -
- -
he had a different mindset.

That evening Kurtis and Brenda loaded up the kids, went to dinner and
the movies. When her son needed anything Kurtis would take care of him.
When he needed to use the restroom, he picked him up out of his
wheelchair, took him and brought him back. The kids loved Kurtis. At
the end of the evening, Brenda knew this was the man she was going to
marry and spend the rest of her life with.

A year later, they were married and Kurtis adopted both of her children.
Since then they have added two more kids.

So what happened to Kurtis the stock boy and Brenda the check-out girl?
Well, Mr. & Mrs. Kurt Warner now live in Arizona, where he is
currently employed as the quarterback of the National Football League
Arizona Cardinals and has his Cardinals in the hunt for a possible
appearance in the Super Bowl. Is this a surprise ending or could you
have guessed that he was not an ordinary person.

It should be noted that he also quarterbacked the Rams in Super Bowl

Also coming from left-field...

Just in case someone 50 years from now (or 50 minutes) should look back in the annals of history and, reading the first couple posts, think that this is meant to be a blog of ceaseless pondering of existential questions and intellectual squabbles - a correction is in order. I certainly intend to post some amount of thought-provoking material, but it will be accompanied by a fair share of humorous, interesting, bizzare or otherwise off-the-wall posts. Just hang with me!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Keep It In Perspective

The renowned late Father Richard John Neuhaus passed away earlier this month after a conversion to the Catholic Faith and many years of courageous defense of the Church. Here's a profound yet short excerpt of his that helps keep life in proper perspective:

“When I come before the judgment throne, I will plead the promise of God in the shed blood of Jesus Christ. I will not plead any work that I have done, although I will thank God that he has enabled me to do some good. I will plead no merits other than the merits of Christ, knowing that the merits of Mary and the saints are all from him; and for their company, their example, and their prayers throughout my earthly life I will give everlasting thanks. I will not plead that I had faith, for sometimes I was unsure of my faith, and in any event that would be to turn faith into a meritorious work of my won. I will not plead that I held the correct understanding of “justification by faith alone,” although I will thank God that he led me to know ever more fully the great truth that much misunderstood formulation was intended to protect. Whatever little growth in holiness I have experienced, whatever strength I have received from the company of the saints, whatever understanding I have attained of God and his ways - these and all other gifts received I will bring gratefully to the throne. But in seeking entry to that heavenly kingdom, I will…look to Christ and Christ alone.

Richard John Neuhaus. Death on a Friday Afternoon

And So It Starts...

After steady prodding from my soon-to-be wife I have finally come around to actually posting something on this blog that I set up several weeks ago. Truth to tell, it's as much of an experiment as it is a vehicle to voice opinions and participate in the social dialogue, so hang on for the ride!

By way of introduction, I chose the provisional name "Crossroads" for reasons both personal and societal. I'm getting married in two weeks and that of course brings with it lot of changes, joys and trials so I find myself at a very joyous crossroads in my life. At the same time our nation and our civilization in general face a myriad of crucial and devastatingly far-reaching decisions in the moral arena. The lines of battle have been drawn up and we all find ourselves at a crossroads; we must choose which path we trod and which banner we rally behind.

So this is my simple attempt to shout into the world of blog. Let's see how it goes.

Right now this post will just echo in cyberspace since no one knows it's here, but I'm confident the echo will resonate with some people out there.