Okay, I guess I'm a typical American, because I like football, baseball, and basketball. Now, luge, bobsled, slopestyle, halfpipe - not as much. But, like millions of others, there's something about the winter Olympics that drew me in to watch sports that I know little about. It's because of the drama; the world's best on the world stage, with much of their life invested in what will be only minutes of their life, giving it all for the glory of winning or the agony of losing.
All of a sudden The Son of God was in theaters all over the place. Actually, a movie by that name - Son of God. And based on its opening weekend, it was drawing a crowd. Of course that was not the first time something like that had happened. "The Passion of the Christ" turned out to be a blockbuster, too. Who would have guessed that?
It was one of those years when my New York Giants decided they didn't want to show up for the playoffs that year. Oh, the Super Bowl was always in their stadium, but sadly no blue and white on the field. The odds makers had been predicting that Denver was going to win by one point. They lost 43-8.
I remember speaking at a baseball chapel years ago, and our boys were actually blown away. I mean, it's a while back, but they got to go with me to the Yankees chapel. And they said, "Oh, there's Don Mattingly!" Yeah, we're talking Hall of Fame here. He was a hero around our house since our kids were little. He was a Yankees first baseman. His home runs and batting average and consistent fielding made him possibly one of baseball's all time greats.
There's reality TV. And then there's the real reality TV called the Olympics. And, you know, when you watch that, you see the real deal. I mean, you've got the triple axles on the ice, you've got amazing jumps on the ski slopes, you've got those gravity-defying flights of the snowboarders. Oh, yeah, and the falls and the crashes.
When I was growing up, it was just a picture on a T-shirt. Then one day I finally got to see Niagara Falls for real. Wow! It's one of this continent's great wonders. Many miles before you get to those roaring falls you start to see all these power lines. It's Niagara's generated electricity of course, and then as you get near the falls, you see this big, ground-level cloud rising up. It's this massive mist that's billowing up from the river below Niagara. It's impressive!
Three days before our vacation, my wife and I had no idea where we were going to be able to go! We'd been too busy to think about it and too broke to pay for it. And then some friends supplied a beautiful spot in the Rocky Mountains. You know, God is really a great vacation planner.
Sometimes you find something spiritually thought provoking in the strangest places. Like in a rerun of an old episode of that hit sitcom, "Everybody Loves Raymond." Ray was trying to have that most dreaded conversation of all for many parents. You know, the one about where babies come from. Well, Ray is sitting on his daughter's bed, doing his best to get into the subject of s-e-x. At the foot of the bed he has four books open to the pages that he hopes will help. And then his daughter throws him a curve ball. She says, "Daddy, I don't care about how we got here." Ray looks surprised and very relieved. "I want to know why God put us here." Dad's expression is priceless. It's a combination of bewilderment and "let me out of here." She continues to press the question. Now, he's obviously wishing they could talk about the birds and the bees! He's stunned! He's stumped! Finally he fumbles his way into the only answer he can think of: "Well, honey, sometimes it gets... Well, really crowded in heaven, so God sends some down here." Well, his daughter's expression is a combination of bewilderment and "let me out of here."
There's nothing quite as boring as listening to information you've heard before, presented the same way you've heard it presented before. Since I used to fly quite a bit, I heard the flight attendant's announcements many, many times. To be honest, I got to the point where I didn't pay a lot of attention, because, you know, it was predictable...usually.