Category Archives: Faith

Thirsty?

The late days of August, the heat of summer and football practice means thirsty players. A long time ago, in what seems like another dimension, football coaches would only let us have so many water breaks. We had a single solitary garden hose attached to an outside faucet to get drinks of water. This was in the days before sports drinks were available for purchase. Nobody had even heard the term sports drink.

One hot afternoon at practice, the trainers mixed up this concoction in a 30 gallon galvanized trash can. (The trainers told us after practice what they put in the trash can.) A full box of lemon-lime Kool-aid, a large sack of sugar, several pounds of salt, several bags of ice and they filled the can with water from that garden hose and then stirred it with a wooden stick that looked like a broom handle.

We saw the trainers doing this as we practiced. Everyone was looking over and watching them wondering, “What are they doing?” We also wondered, what was coach up to, because he was always coming up with something new to try on us.

When water break time came the senior linemen were always the first guys in line. The trainers were handing out paper cups and telling everyone to get one cupful and then to step back to let someone else step up for a cupful. Well those senior linemen dipped one cupful and drank it and dipped in for another. All of a sudden it was a drinking frenzy. The guys loved the taste and were just going crazy trying to get more with different players crowding in to get their first cupful.

By the time the sophomores got to the trash can it was close to being empty. There was also grass clippings and dirt in the drink. We were so thirsty we didn’t care what was in it because it was wet and we wanted some. I dipped my cup in and drank it and never had I tasted anything so good in my entire life, up to that moment, on a blazing hot day in the summer.

Man was created by God for God. But all of us at times choose to live our lives independently of God. We choose to fill our cup with everything possible except God. So we continue to be thirsty and unsatisfied with everything on this earth.

Jesus said in John 4:14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.

John 4:4-26

The Mystery

You have seen this player listed on the scouting report, he is 5’8” 150 pounds. You have watched film and the kid seems to be everywhere on the football field at the right place at the right time.

Over the years you have seen this kind of player on other teams. They have played in multiple positions, lineman, linebacker, cornerback, quarterback and you marvel at how does he do what he does? He gets away from blockers to make tackles. He outruns everyone to make a tackle, which seems impossible. He makes plays at quarterback or running back that you ask yourself, “Did he really just do that?”

When football coaches look at students walking down the street or hallways of the school they think, that kid looks like a linebacker or fullback or tight end etc. But when the coach looks at our, how does he do it football player, he doesn’t look like a football player, some of the time. We can underestimate what is on the inside of our young football players and it is a mystery.

The same is true of our Christian faith. You can have an individual, that does everything wrong in all areas of his life. They are the total screw up in our communities and always in trouble. Then one day they are introduced to Jesus and everything changes. They are the same when we look at them on the outside, but on the inside they are different. It is the mystery of faith and we wonder how did that happen?

Never underestimate God the Father Almighty and think again about that kid that doesn’t look like much of a football player.

1 Timothy 3:16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.

Sanctuary

The football locker room is a special place. I for sure found this out about a dozen years ago during the first year we had the Kansas Pregame magazine.

That fall, for the first game of the year, I called the opposing coach my hometown team would be playing against. I would be traveling to the opponent’s town and wanted to know if I could bring him twenty five magazines for his team. He said, “Yes, bring us some, because we have not seen them.” Now remember, this was the first year of the magazine and it was not online and we only covered hundred schools that first year.

So when I got to town that Friday night, about two hours before kickoff, I thought it would be okay for me to go into the hometown locker room. Was I ever wrong! A great big ex-lineman type of an assistant football coach was standing at the door to the hometown locker room. I told him I had twenty five of the Kansas Pregame magazines for the head football coach and would he let me in to give them to the coach? The assistant coach answered with one word, “No!”

Is the sanctuary of your church a special place? As a junior high kid, at youth group, if I had to walk through the sanctuary by myself, the hair on the back of my neck would always stand up. The sanctuary was a special place to me then and still is today.

When I go to church today and see people with coffee cups in their hands or looking at their cell phones, I wonder if the sanctuary is a special place for them?

Sometimes at our churches, we have so many announcements about fund raisers and such that it makes me think about Jesus turning over the tables and kicking those money changers out of the temple.

I pray that you see your church sanctuary as special as you see your football locker room.

Matthew 21:12-13 Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. “It is written,” he said to them, “My house will be called a house of prayer, but you are making it a den of robbers.”

Seeing Old Friends

I ran into an old friend from college at the state basketball tournament several years ago. He was coaching one of the teams in the tournament. When I went over to talk to him, he was sitting in amongst his players. As I approached my old friend he looked embarrassed to see me. The first thing practically out of his mouth was this comment, “Tim, I no longer do any of that stuff we used to do in college.” I guess he thought I might go into great detail about our past and in a loud voice try to embarrass him. Instead I said, “I don’t do any of that stuff either anymore. I grew up also.”

So my point is, don’t you ever come to this website and read these stories and then think that I must be a perfectly sinless man. Every day I must re-evangelize myself. I read my Bible everyday, early in the day. I pray and repeat the Bible verses I have memorized during my early morning activities.

And when I slack off and don’t do that Bible reading everyday, then it is easier to skip the next day and the day after that and so on. It is easy to fall away and lose the remembrance of God the Father in my life. The sinful life could then begin all over again.

I would rather stay with God the Father and serve Him. God has called you also. He has a job specifically for you at this time in history. No matter what you have done in your past, He wants you on His team. You are the only one that can fulfill that job He has for you at this present time.

Read the Book of Jonah. It is a very short book in the Bible. See how it worked out for Jonah to ignore God, and ignore the job He had for Jonah.

The Legacy of Coach Schuckman

Posted by KAKE Shane Ewing on Monday, January 16, 2017

This video was shot by Shane Ewing of KAKE Sports out of Wichita.

The real reason to coach young people starts at about half way through.

It was a pleasure working with Coach Schuckman back when I would contact coaches for team information in preseason for the magazine Kansas Pregame. He had great preseason information ready to go and all you had to do was ask for it. Always very detailed and up to date.

Doing Just Fine

Ten years ago, when we first started the Kansas Pregame magazine, my job was to contact football coaches for their team capsules and get the coaches thoughts on the upcoming season. Since I was not trained as a newspaper or magazine journalist and had never been one, my interviews were probably unorthodoxed.

Now at that point of my life, I had been on the radio as a part-time broadcaster of football and basketball games for about fifteen years. So I had interviewed coaches post game on the radio in moments of joy, sadness and anger. My thoughts on interviews were always as though I had just met someone new and wanted to make a friend. I would ask if they were married, had kids and how did they meet their wife and of course about their football teams.

What I learned about football coaches, during those years of interviews, was most football coaches don’t beat around the bush. They told me exactly what they thought about their teams, their competitors and media personnel. Lots of them would say after that, “Now you are not going to print that are you?” My response was always, “No sir that will never be in print. Nor will I tell anyone.” Direct, straight forward and telling it exactly how it was.

One day, during an interview on the phone, with a head football coach, who I had interviewed for the past couple of years, when I asked him how was the wife and kids? The coach said, “We are separated.” The coach told me it had just recently happened and he was crushed. He didn’t get to wake up in the same house as his children and he was hurting.

What do you say to someone who is hurt? Who is angry? Who doesn’t know what to do next?

In our society today many men are hurting. Someone asks us, “How are you doing?” And our answer is, “Just fine.” The reality is you are addicted to porn, drink too much, work too much and are bored at church, but you are “Just fine.” As men we hide our real feelings and thoughts just to get along and not rock the boat.

So what is the answer for men? Lots of men see church as a place for women and children. To be honest, a lot of churches are for women and children. The programs are all geared for the women and children. After a certain age the boys look around and see that Dad is not present and so he tells Mom, “I am not going to church anymore, because Dad doesn’t go.”

Let me give you a thought. Jesus said he came to serve and not to be served. Jesus was a man. So our job as men is to serve. How can you serve the church?

Most women love to cook, they don’t like to wash dishes. Go wash dishes after church dinners. Carry the full trash receptacles after those dinners at church to the dumpster. Go mow the church lawn. When it snows, go get your shovel and move snow at your church and any other church close to you. Go pull weeds in and around your church. Go to the local thrift store and tell them if they have heavy stuff to move or want hauled to the dump or recycle, here is my phone number, call me.

Take other men and boys with you when you are serving the church in physical ways. Once you start to do this work together you will have something in common and then you might be able to start sharing thoughts with one another. Just being able to talk about things with other men and the women not being present will do you all good.

Proverbs 27:17 Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.

Ron the Teddy Bear

The rumors started the minute Ron moved to town from North Dakota. He was a big kid, 6’3” and 275 pounds and would be a junior in high school. Someone had seen him and said he was going to make a great addition to our football team. All of us on the football team knew we were going to have a great football team that fall and this big new kid was just going to make us a little better.

That August, when football actually started, there was no big new kid on the team. Everyone was asking, “Where is the new kid or was that just some rumor someone started?” Well football two-a-days started before school did, so when school began, there was this new guy named Ron from North Dakota and he was every bit of 6’3” and 275. The only problem was, he didn’t go out for football that year.

We razed Ron all that school year and the next summer about coming out for football. First day of practice in 1972, Ron was out for football with us. We were excited to have him and told him so. When we finally put on the pads and started hitting each other in drills, we could all tell Ron was not real aggressive. We asked him why he wasn’t hitting anybody real hard? His answer was, “I am afraid I am going to hurt one of you guys.” We told him over and over, “You can’t hurt us.”

Ron became our nose guard on defense. He owned the territory he stood on and even double teams by the other team could not move him away. But he was not aggressive and never got a push into the backfield and never could go down the line of scrimmage to make a play. He just owned the space he stood on.

So one night at practice, after the first or second game, we were doing a tackling drill where the ball carrier had to run between two dummies lying on the ground and the tackler stood on the other end of the dummies. We each had been through this drill a couple of times this day when it was Ron’s turn to be a tackler again. This time the head coach got angry and got up in Ron’s face and I guess I should say, challenged Ron’s manhood. Where I was standing, I could see Ron’s face flush red and he got angry. I could see this perfectly fine, because I was the next ball carrier.

As coach blew the whistle, I started forward with the ball and Ron and I met in the middle of those dummies. Ron hit me hard, wrapped me up and bear hugged me. He then picked me up off the ground and body slammed me into the ground landing flat on top of me. When he got off me, I just laid there a moment and did a quick body scan to see if I was injured. I was hurting, but nothing was broken. I got up and with a two handed chest pass threw the ball at the coach angrily and said, “Thanks a lot Coach.” Coach had this stunned look on his face. I don’t think it was because I threw the ball hard at him. He was stunned, that Ron the Teddy Bear, had finally hit someone.

The rest of the season Ron never hit anyone like he hit me, whether at practice or in a game. Eventually, the coaches took him out of the starting lineup and changed to a four-man front with two safeties and that was when I became a starter on defense at one of those safety positions.

Ron died of heart problems the first part of December this year. The next day another one of my high school classmates died in Texas during a car wreck. The week after that, at a basketball game, one of my other classmates and teammates came up to me and said, “Can you believe we lost two classmates in two days?” I said, “As old as we are getting, our turn could be next. So you better get it right with Jesus.” He then said, “It is funny you said that, because the local doctors want me to go to Wichita next week and see a specialist. They think I have cancer.” He then said, “Doesn’t that make about 20 of our classmates we have lost out of our 116 graduates?” I answered, “Yes.”