Christian Athlete of the Week: Russell Wilson

Seattle Seahawks’ quarterback Russell Wilson has a big game ahead of him on Sunday when his team takes on the division rival San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Conference Championship game. If the Seahawks win, it will be their second NFC championship win ever. All of this pressure must be building up on Wilson, but he is a man of faith and knows that the God he serves is bigger than any game he will ever play. He found that God when he was 14 years old.

“I had a dream that my dad passed away and that Jesus came into the room and he was basically knocking on my door, saying, ‘Hey, you need to find out more about me,’” Wilson said. “So that Sunday morning I ended up going to church and that’s when I got saved.”

Unfortunately, his dad actually did pass away six years later. Still, throughout his life and throughout all of the adversity, Russell Wilson has stood strong in his faith.

“No one can stop what God has for you,” said Wilson.

Being a 5’11 quarterback in the NFL, that’s saying something! Check out this video where Mars Hill Church Pastor Mark Driscoll interviews Wilson about his faith and trust in God.

Russell Wilson is a work in progress at quarterback; he still has things to work on until he becomes a great quarterback. However, he noted in the video that spiritually he is a work in progress like we all are. Wilson shows that even though you’re only 5’11, you were drafted in the third round, and you don’t have the big arm that every other quarterback has, God can still use you to impact a lot of lives. Both on the field and off the field, Wilson has impacted many lives in the city of Seattle. Due to a partnership with Russell Investments (a subsidiary of Northwestern Mutual), every touchdown that Wilson scores, passing or rushing, $2,000 will be donated to his charity that deals with youth activities in poor communities. It’s great to see a man like this helping out in the community and showing love to everyone around him like Jesus commands us to. Just because of the kind of guy Wilson is, I will be routing for him to win the NFC Championship game this Sunday. That, and it would be nice to see the Seahawks finally win a Super Bowl! Good luck to you Russell Wilson and God bless you!



Arsenal Ahead of Rivals

If you’re an Arsenal fan, then you are enjoying their season so far. They have the best record in the Barcays Premier League with 48 points (15-3-3) and the best part is, they are far above Tottenham Hotspur (40 points) and Manchester United (37 points). The French-born manager Arsene Wenger has his Gunners poised for a Premier League championship run, something they haven’t won since the 2003-04 season when he took them all the way to beat other big-time rival Chelsea with the help of a young Thierry Henry. Arsenal made it back to the championship game the following season, only that time they lost to Chelsea. Arsenal is third all-time in championships won with 13 behind Liverpool (18) and Manchester United (20). Olivier Giroud is leading the team with 9 goals so far this season and is third on the team in assists with 5 (Mesut Ozil is second in the league in assists with 7). So all in all, Arsenal is having a great season thanks to Arsene Wenger’s coaching, while Manchester United is struggling during the last half of the season. Arsenal’s main concerns are Manchester City and Chelsea. Manchester City is leading the league in goal differential with 36 and Chelsea is at a solid third place right behind them with 46 points. These two teams could possibly catch up to Arsenal and knock them off from the top. Arsenal plays Fulham this Saturday, but they’re biggest game coming up isn’t until February 12th when they play Manchester United. The Gunners won’t play Chelsea until March 22nd and then right after that they play Manchester City on March 29th. Those are the three games to watch this year and they could determine who wins the Premier League title.

Arsene Wenger Credit:
Arsene Wenger

Old School Basketball

Every team in the NBA is trying to build their team through the draft and recruit young talent. Not the San Antonio Spurs! They are currently 31-8 and have won six games in a row. They have won 9 of their last 10 games. And their best five players are in their thirties. Not only that, but they have the oldest coach in the league in Gregg Popovich at 64 years old. He is showing the NBA that you don’t have to be young and energetic to win, you just have to be smart. Tony Parker runs the offense just how Popovich wants him to. They have the second-best field goal percentage in the league with 49.3 percent (right behind the Miami Heat’s 50.7 percent) and they are second in the league in assists per game with 25.3 (right behind the Atlanta Hawks’ 25.4). The most important stats however are their points per game and their point differential. The Spurs are fifth in the league with 104.7 points per game and second behind the Indiana Pacers with an 8.1 point differential. At this rate, the Spurs could be looking at another championship run and Tim Duncan could finally ride off in the sunset with another NBA Finals victory. My prediction is that they’re going to face either the Thunder or the Houston Rocket in the Western Conference Finals and then battle the Miami Heat or the Indiana Pacers in the NBA Finals. I believe that this team can go a long way, even with one of the oldest rosters in the NBA. Some of the young guys like Danny Green and Kawhi Leonard are going to have to step up if they want this championship run to happen, because the NBA season is a long one.

Experience vs. Athleticism

No matter who wins the conference championship games on Sunday, the Super Bowl will feature an experienced quarterback vs. a young and athletic quarterback. Tom Brady and Peyton Manning will face each other in the AFC Conference Championship game and Russell Wilson will battle Colin Kaepernick in the NFC Championship game. Now as history as showed us, the last Super Bowl champions have all been led by young, talented quarterbacks such as Joe Flacco, Eli Manning, Aaron Rodgers, Ben Roethlisberger, and so on. However we all know that football is a team sport, but the quarterback is the main part of the team. So which matters most? What part of a quarterback would you rather have on a team? Well, whether you have an old quarterback or a young quarterback, it all comes down to one thing: skill. If you don’t have the ability to drive down the field and win, it doesn’t matter how old you are, you’re going to lose. What I like from Kaepernick and Wilson is that they both have great arms and they have the legs to get them out of sticky situations. Manning and Brady have quick reactions and can get the ball of their hand fast enough to make a play. Experience will help you to read defenses, which is what Manning and Brady are better at doing. Wilson and Kaepernick are too young to know how to properly read a blitz, a man, or a zone coverage. However, Kaepernick and Wilson are both unique items in this conversation. Wilson has won two playoff games already (one on the road at Washington in his rookie season last year). Kaepernick took over midseason for the 49ers and led them all the way to the Super Bowl. So if you ask me, I personally think that a young, athletic quarterback is something I rather have. Nowadays, if you’re not an athletic quarterback, you’re not going to win football games. That’s why the top three quarterbacks in the draft this year are Johnny Manziel, Blake Bortles, and Teddy Bridgewater. What do all three have in common? Athleticism. They can make plays with both their legs and their feet. You’re seeing more and more quarterbacks that are dual threats. The classic pocket passer is a dying breed. So if I were to build my Super Bowl-winning franchise around a QB, it better be one that can run.



New Innovations for New NFL Head Coaches

The latest NFL Head Coaching Job news is that former Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer will be the Minnesota Vikings’ new head coach. It’s another move to help the Vikings’ defense after Leslie Frazier was let go (he was a defensive-minded coach as well). Zimmer is also the second Bengals’ coach to leave after former offensive coordinator Jay Gruden left to become the Washington Redskins’ head coach. Here is the list of the coaching jobs filled in order of date:

Lovie Smith: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bill O’Brien: Houston Texans

Jay Gruden: Washington Redskins

Ken Whisenhunt: Tennessee Titans

Jim Caldwell: Detroit Lions

Mike Zimmer: Minnesota Vikings

Now there is only one team without a head coach: the Cleveland Browns. Coaching the Browns isn’t exacty the most attractive job out there, but someone has to do it. Some possible candidates are Seattle Seahawks’ defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, San Francisco’s defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, Oklahoma college football head coach Bob Stoops, and Denver Broncos’ offensive coordinator Adam Gase. All of these guys are great candidates, but Stoops is the only one with head coaching experience. It might be after the Super Bowl is over that Cleveland fills its vacancy, but good things come to those who wait. Right?

Top College Football Recruits to Watch Out For in 2014

Now that the college football season is over, it’s time to focus on next year! New coaches have now been in place (James Franklin left Vanderbilt to go to Penn State) and old players are leaving (Johnny Manziel, Tre Mason, and Jadeveon Clowney are going up for the NFL Draft this year). So who should we pay attention to in August of 2014? Well let’s take a look shall we?

1. Leonard Fournette- This powerful running back is the number one overall recruit this year and LSU is happy to have him. With junior running back Jeremy Hill leaving for the NFL draft, Fournette will get plenty of carries down in Louisiana. He’s a hometown recruit too, coming straight from New Orleans. At 6’1 and 226 pounds, he’s going to fit right in to the SEC.

2. Jabrill Peppers- He’s a talented cornerback that’s going to Michigan this year. He got offers from almost every big name school in the country. At 6’1 and 205 pounds, he’s a pretty decent sized secondary player as well. He played mostly safety in high school and also took snaps at running back, just to show off his athleticism. He’s not the fastest corner in the 2014 class, but he’s got the hands and the big hits to make up for it.

3. Cameron Robinson- Well, add another big offensive lineman to Alabama’s roster. This offensive tackle hails from West Monroe, Louisiana, better known as Duck Dynasty land. He’s by far the biggest recruit in 2014, standing at a whopping 6’5 and 330 pounds. Nick Saban is going to have a lot of fun coaching this big guy.

4. Myles Garrett- The defensive end from Arlington, Texas is joining Texas A&M next year. Some say that he is the number one overall recruit and for good reason. He’s an athletic pass rusher that can also stop the run and  drop back into coverage. Garrett will have to impress his coaches in practice if he wants to play however. The Aggies have a lot of young defensive ends on their roster already. Hopefully wherever they put Garrett, he can help fix that horrible defense.

5. Deshaun Watson- No Tahj Boyd? No problem! Clemson quickly found a replacement in the number one overall quarterback in Deshaun Watson. Just like Boyd, he is a dual threat quarterback. He led his Gainesvile, Georgia high school team to their first state championship game victory and did it through the air and the run. He holds the Georgia state records with 13,077 passing yards and 155 passing touchdowns. He also finished his high school career with 4,057 rushing yards and 59 rushing touchdowns. He’s expected to redshirt his freshman year, but in 2015 he will definitely be the next great college quarterback.

P.J. Hairston Finds Work

Well looks like a little NCAA violation wouldn’t stop P.J. Hairston from pursing his basketball career. The former UNC shooting guard will join the Texas Legends in the NBA Developmental League this year. Hairston is expected to play in his first game on Saturday January 18th. Hairston will also be the first player ever to get signed by a D-League team midway through the college basketball season. The Greensboro, NC native was supposed to play for the Tar Heelsthis season, but due to some illegal benefits via rental car, he was suspended by the NCAA. He was not reinstated because he used rental vehicles tied to a felon and party promoter in Durham. He finished his short career with the Tar Heels after averaging 14.6 points and 4.3 rebounds last season. The 21-year-old has decided to take this route knowing that he wouldn’t play another game at North Carolina. He should be a great prospect due to his shooting range, shooting 40 percent from beyond the arc last season. The question is: will Hairston succeed at the next level? I think so. It will take him some time to adjust to the speed and talent of the NBA, but I’m sure the former Tar Heel will be wearing an NBA jersey next year.

Arkansas Razorbacks Earning Respect

Usually when people think of the University of Arkansas, the first thing that comes to their mind is their football program and motorcycle accidents. As of last Tuesday night, people are now thinking about their basketball program. After losing to Florida in overtime on January 11th, Arkansas bounced back to beat 13th ranked Kentucky 87-85 in overtime at home. The Razorbacks didn’t start off their SEC play well, losing two straight to Texas A&M and Florida, but then they notched their first SEC win against Kentucky. That loss to Arkansas was the first SEC loss by the Wildcats this season. It was all due to sophomore Michael Qualls’ put-back dunk with less than a second left that propelled the Razorbacks to victory.

Before conference games started this season, Arkansas was 11-2. What’s the secret to their success? A talented freshmen class and great coaching by Mike Anderson. The Razorback coach has these players playing as a team. They’re 15th in the nations in points per game (84.7) and 20th in assists per game (16.4). No one is selfish (the leading scorer has only 13 points per game) and leaders are stepping up (Coty Clarke is just one of five seniors on the team). As for the freshmen class, Bobby Portis is second on the team in points per game with 12.4. He is also the leader in rebounds with 6.6 per game. Nowadays if you’re a freshman and you’re not playing well, everyone looks down on you. The level of expectations for playing as a freshman has been set at an all-time high with Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker on the scene. Portis is helping this Razorback team in so many ways. Michael Qualls and Rashad Madden are slowly turning into superstars at Arkansas and they are making these Razorbacks fun to watch. Look out for these guys come February and March, because they have bracket buster written all over them.

Cristiano Ronaldo: Another Addition to His Legacy

Cristiano Ronaldo won his second FIFA Ballon d’Or award last Monday and it’s just another reason why he is one of the greatest soccer players to ever play the game. I personally think that Lionel Messi has the potential to be the greatest ever, but Ronaldo is making him work for it. Let’s review on some of Ronaldo’s achievements:

He holds the Real Madrid record for most goals scored in one La Liga season (46). Ronaldo scored 40 in 2010-11 and then he broke the record the very next season scoring 46. That made him the first European leage player to reach 40 goals in two consecutive seasons. He would finish the 2011-12 season with 60 total goals. He is also the fastest player to reach 200 goals in Real Madrid history. Not only that, but he is also Portugal’s all-time top scorer with 47 international goals. For the La Liga, he is the first player to score a goal against every team in the league in a single season. Then he also holds the world record as the most expensive player in the world. When he was transferred from Manchester United to Real Madrid, the transfer was worth 80 million euros (that’s $131.6 million). The best part about all of this is that he is only 28 years old (he turns 29 on February 5th). That shows that he still has many more years left ahead of him. Now after saying all that, I’m going to compare him to Lionel Messi:

Messi holds the record for most Ballon d’Or awards with 4. He holds the record more scoring the most goals in La Liga history with 50 in one year (2011-12). He is also the top scorer in La Liga history with 223 goals. Messi is also younger than Ronaldo at 26.

So who is the better player? I go with Messi all the way, but that shouldn’t overshadow Ronaldo’s fantastic career. Everyone knew that he was going to be a special player after that 2006-07 season with Manchester United. Could Ronaldo catch up to Messi’s success? You just never know.

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