Archive for September, 2006

The St. Louis Chokers, err, I mean Cardinals…

U can just call me clutch.  I guess you really can’t put the Tigers into this catagory.  After all they have clinched a playoff spot.  But they have been in 1st place for sooo long…   It is nice to win a division title but so often anymore the team winning via wildcard wins the championship.  Look at the Steelers last year.  The year the Red Sox won the pennant they were the wild card.  Despite the Indians shortened season I have been fascinated by the late season surge of the Houston Astros, written off for dead not all that long ago (like 10 days).  It was also interesting to watch the angst in the eyes of the Phillies Phans at RFK stadium the other night as they won in extra innings.  15 innings I think.  And yesterday the Phillies sat through a 4.5 hour rain delay only to lose the the lowly Washington Senators, err I mean Expos, errr, I mean Nationals. 

 Speaking of that did you know that the St. Louis Football Cardinals used to be the Chicago Cardinals before they moved to St. Louis.  But then the moved to Phoenix and became the Phoenix Cardinals.  And now they are the Arizona Cardinals and play in the University of Phoenix Stadium.  And the St. Louis Rams used the be the Los Angeles Rams but long ago they were the Cleveland Rams and the last time a Cleveland team lost 15-14 before last Sunday was back when the Rams played in Cleveland.  So I guess that ties that all together. 

 Why do we enjoy watching this drama?  I guess it comes down to displaced emotions.  This stuff is truly meaningless in any context.  Last Sunday I was able to watch MY Cleveland Browns snatch defeat from the almost certain jaws of victory over the arch rival, the hated Baltimore Raisins.  I call them raisins because they are purple, and the look like raisins.  But now my favourite colour is puple.  Well one of my favourite colours.  I like blue and scarlett too, with gold and silver trim.  If I were starting a team today I would want to have purple jersey trimmed in gold and silver.  Say I saw something just disgusting the other day.  The Cleveland Browns are offering a ladies Browns football jersey in MINT GREEN!!!!  YuckK!! I thought I had seen it all.  Just some knew  new way to torture me I guess.  But you know I have always like blue.   Anyways, back to last Sunday.  To look into the eyes of many of the fans after the loss was like looking at someone who had just lost their last friend.  Or been fired.  Or betrayed.  You know…Sad eyes. 

Well to dig any deeper I guess you will just have to look up “choke” on Wikipedia.  Oh let me save you some time and effort.  I guess we are just happy to make the postseason afterall!!


In sports, an individual athlete, or, more commonly, an athletic team collectively, is often said to have choked when failing to win a tournament or league championship and if certain other criteria are also met, especially if the player or team had been favored to win, or had squandered a large lead in the late stages of an event. The usage of the word “choke” in this sense is generally treated as slang.

The opposite of choking is being “Clutch,” or rising to the occasion under pressure rather than collapsing under it.


Use in the USA

Use of the term “choke” in this context is most frequently encountered in the United States, and appears to be of relatively recent origin, not becoming reasonably widespread until well into the 1960s. Some of the earliest examples of such use occurred in football, the label being pinned on such NFL teams as the Dallas Cowboys and Oakland Raiders, who perennially reached the playoffs throughout the late 1960s and 1970s, with the Cowboys not winning the Super Bowl until the one held immediately following the 1971 season and the Raiders not doing likewise until 1976. In these two examples, the two quarterbacks of the respective teams, Don Meredith and Daryle Lamonica, were singled out in particular as having “choked” — and both had retired by the time their teams finally did win the Super Bowl.


Is being “crafty” all that bad?


You know it occurred to me.  I like to watch “crafty” lefthanders.  You know, like Kenny Rogers and Cliff Lee.  These are guys who don’t have the 95 mph fastball but have to rely on their knowledge and experience.  They don’t have the natural talent to overpower you so they have to be “crafty”.  They have trick pitches, usually have great control, know their opponents weaknesses and pitch to it.  What may be good in baseball may not be so good in our every day walk with God. 

 Today’s Utmost speaks of craftiness.  2 CO 4:2 states “2 We reject all shameful and underhanded methods. We do not try to trick anyone, and we do not distort the word of God. We tell the truth before God, and all who are honest know that.”  This means not resorting to something simply to make your own point. This is a terrible trap. You know that God will allow you to work in only one way— the way of truth. Then be careful never to catch people through the other way— the way of deceit. If you act deceitfully, God’s wrath will be upon you. What may be craftiness for you, may not be for others— God has called you to a higher standard.”

So this tells me to leave the craftiness to the old lefthanders.  Be sincere.  Be truthful and forthcoming.  Do not play games with people.  Be transparent.  Avoid being “clever”.  Just be yourself and don’t try to be something you are not.  Embrace your weakness and let God be your strength. 

So who is your corpse?

Forgiving requires strength

Friends, loved ones often hardest to forgive

By Terry Pluto

Thinking about forgiveness…

I know a former NBA coach who said he would watch a game film over and over and over.

“After awhile, I’d start to hate all my players,” he said. “I’d watch them make the same mistake six times and believe they were doing it to me personally.” He said that he’d see a player make two key mistakes, but it seemed like 12 because he watched the tape six times.

That’s why it can be so hard to forgive what sometimes seems a minor issue. We go over it and over it and over it in our heads. We think about it at least 10 times, but it actually only happened once.

Sir Francis Bacon said: “We read we ought to forgive our enemies — but we don’t read that we ought to forgive our friends.” Actually, we’re supposed to forgive everyone, but it’s easier to forgive a stranger or even a boss than friend or relative. We hold the people closest to us to higher standards, and tend to be less tolerant when they fall short.

A breakthrough point came for me when someone told me: “Forgiving is not the same as reconciling. Forgiving doesn’t mean letting a dangerous or crazy person back into your life.”

Suppose you were sexually or physically abused by someone. You can forgive them without allowing them into your home. If an uncle once abused you as a child, you don’t leave your kids with him — even if you have forgiven him. And, yes, even if the uncle has sincerely apologized and seemingly changed his life — well, you still don’t take any chances, or tempt him in an area where he was weak.

In his book Everyone is Normal Till You Get to Know Them, John Ortberg wrote: “Forgiveness means giving up the right to get even.” That’s because it’s impossible to ever “get even.” Trying to get even can become like poison, because it makes us obsess on the wound, it’s like picking at our own scabs with dirty fingernails. Suddenly, the cut is an infection.

In the book Forgiving and Reconciling, Everett Worthington Jr. wrote: “We usually try to suppress feelings of unforgiveness. We deny that we feel hate. We think, `That hurt didn’t matter.’ Instead of suppressing our feelings, we mostly come to grips with them.”

We don’t want to overestimate our injuries, but it’s even more dangerous to deny that we’ve been hurt. If you’ve been in an abusive relationship for years, counseling may be a part of forgiving. It won’t happen in one day, or one week.

Someone else once told me this story: In ancient days, a form of execution was to strap a fresh corpse to the back of criminal. The diseases from the corpse would infect the live body, killing him slowly. Many of us are like that — we carry around the corpses of old battles and slights, angry at some people who are dead or have long forgotten us — and it’s killing us.

It’s just a personal opinion, but without God’s strength, I have a hard time forgiving anyone. Over and over, I have to call out to God and say, “Lord, I’m giving this to you. I can’t deal with it by myself.”

Gandhi said, “The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.”

For me, it takes God’s power to help me see my situation from someone else’s point of view. I resist it. But when I take the time, and sometimes have others help me see it, then it does become easier to forgive. Rarely am I 100 percent in the right.

Forgiving does not necessarily mean forgetting. Some scars will always be with us. Forgiving also doesn’t mean the person won’t do it or say it again. On the job or with our families, sometimes we have to forgive over and over just to function.

Perhaps my favorite forgiveness quote comes from Lewis Smedes (author of The Art of Forgiving): “To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover the prisoner was you.”

Terry Pluto can be reached at Sign up for Terry’s free, weekly e-mail newsletter “Direct from Pluto” at

More photos from Surrender Sunday

Just click on the photo more photos…