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Chapel Thrill

For those who wonder why so many soccer players celebrate by pointing their fingers towards Heaven…

Soccer (or football) is known as the beautiful game. As a lifelong player and fan, I can and will attest to this description with the power of a thousand suns.

Like many sports, our personal favorite(s) often reveal a philosophical belief in how we go about life on a daily basis. The specific strategy, urgency, patience, necessities, rewards, setbacks, effort and so forth of any sport can typically be closely translated into how we view our work, jobs and the complexities of our personal lives.

The following segment from a 60 Minutes interview with FC Barcelona star Gerard Piqué from 2013 struck something inside me as a viewer, a soccer player/fan and a Christian. During the time of this interview, FC Barcelona was regarded as the best soccer club in the world. With all the star power in its starting eleven and the fanfare surrounding this team in Catalonia, take a look at what the designers of the Camp Nou believed was a must-have in the walkway from the locker room to the world famous pitch.

Despite not being a Barça fan, the chapel in Camp Nou showcases (in its uniquely intimate, off-to-the-side kind of way) the link many soccer players have when it comes to their belief in God as it pertains to the beautiful game.

That’s living and embracing the beautiful game on and off the pitch.

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Bottom of the Tenth

“As a celebration of the magic of movies involving baseball, at least one scene from a different film will be posted each day for the next nine days…”
—From “Top of the First” March 28th

One of the best scenes in “Angels in the Outfield” is when foster caretaker Maggie Nelson stands up at a press conference regarding George Knox and his statements about his team being assisted by angels during their unthinkable winning streak en route to a potential pennant. Hank Murphy, the baseball club’s owner, had called the event so Knox would publicly deny any such spiritual guidance his players may have been receiving from above.

Maggie said it best.

Maggie Nelson: My name is Maggie Nelson. I take care of foster kids. One of these boys is the child who can see angels. He could stand up right now and tell you what’s going on and I’d know you’d just laugh at him. But, when a professional football player drops to one knee to thank God for making a touchdown, nobody laughs at that. Or when a pitcher crosses himself before going to the mound, no one laughs at that either. It’s like your saying it’s okay to believe in God, but it’s not okay to believe in angels. Now, I thought that they were on the same team.

Hank Murphy: Is it your belief, ma’am, that angels play baseball?

Maggie Nelson: Since the all-star break, yes. We all need someone to believe in. Every child I have ever looked after has someone: an angel. You’ve got to have faith. You’ve got to believe. You have to look inside yourself. The footprints of an angel are love, and where there is love, miraculous things can happen. I’ve seen it.

(sits)

Mel Clark: [stands] I’d also like to say something. I don’t know if there are any angels here other than the twenty-five of us in uniform. But I know there is one thing I won’t do: I won’t play for anyone but George Knox. I believe in him.

Every athlete has experienced a moment during competition when your energy levels are depleted and exhaustion has spread from your head to your toes. In this case, Gatorade will not do the trick. This situation calls for more than an energy drink. 

With a full-count, this next pitch by the Angels’ Mel Clark is for the American League Pennant…

The ending/above two clips of “Angels in the Outfield” is the perfect ending to my favorite movie made about baseball of all-time! It’s fun, has heart and lots of laughs for people of all ages. This Disney masterpiece is a timeless classic that reminds us all about the magic of sports and the inspiring nature of the human spirit.

This concludes the inning-by-inning celebration of the best scenes from the best movies involving baseball.

Can miracles from the heavens transpire in sports and life in general? To quote the young, but very wise JP, “It could happen!”