About miltonhooper

I feel compelled to write. It's just something I do. I have always heard that "everything happens for a reason". I feel like I write for a reason.

Passing Toward The Prize – Revised Edition Available Now

The revised edition of Passing Toward The Prize has been released today. The original book was published in 2017. Today, after some revisions, the book has been re-released. Here are some details about the revised book from the author:

WHY HAS PASSING TOWARD THE PRIZE BEEN REVISED?

The original book had some sensitive scenes with the two main characters (Colton and Belle) having given into temptation. While this was a very realistic issue for teens, I decided that it may have been too much for readers. I really fought with changing that part of the book because I felt it was a real issue for teens but I decided to change it so that it was assumed that the characters had given in and their struggle to prove their innocence. I am hopeful that making this change might make the book more acceptable to churches and youth groups.

SO THE STORY IS ABOUT THE SAME AS THE ORIGINAL?

Yes, very much. It is still a story about a preacher’s son trying to live up to the expectations and disappointments of others as well as the struggles with peer pressure, temptation and racial discrimination.

YOU MENTION RACIAL DISCRIMINATION AS ANOTHER THEME IN THE BOOK. HOW DO YOU VIEW THIS ANGLE OF RACIAL DISCRIMINATION IN LIGHT OF RECENT SOCIAL EVENTS?

Discrimination of ANY kind is not right and should not be practiced. It is true that my book has the point of view of a white person dealing the discrimination from fellow black students. Again, this is a real issue and regardless if it is white, black, Hispanic or any other group, this storyline works to show what can be accomplished when people come together regardless of their skin color. I still think it is a story worth telling from any point-of-view.

THERE IS ALSO CONFLICT BETWEEN COLTON AND HIS FATHER IN THIS BOOK. DOES THIS REFLECT YOUR OWN PERSONAL EXPERIENCE?

Yes, it shows the never ending struggle for a son to gain approval from his father. I did experience this with my own relationship with my father. It was a struggle for us to have a real father-son relationship until the very end. My father passed away in 2018 but he actually read the book during his last days. He never said what he thought of it or if it had any impact on him. I can only hope he read the book to the end.

ARE THERE ANY SEQUELS PLANNED FOR THIS BOOK?

Right now there is a sequel in the outline stage. It will take on the story of Colton’s daughter Carrington and her struggles with becoming a female football player. She will be much like Esther from the Old Testament story.

THIS REVISED VERSION OF YOUR BOOK IS SELF-PUBLISHED LIKE THE ORIGINAL BOOK?

Yes, I tried for a year to get this revised version published through a traditional publisher but there were no takers so I decided to go through PublishDrive to review and send this book out again.

HOW WELL DID THE ORIGINAL BOOK DO?

Not well I’m afraid. I spent a lot of expense in a promotional campaign and networked with several of my pastor contacts with expectations that they would help me in promoting the book in their churches but that never really happened. It was disappointing but it could have had something to do with the sensitive parts of the book I mentioned earlier. I was also under the naïve impression that simply putting a book on Amazon would be enough. That was a rookie mistake. One highlight I won’t forget is that my friend, Tom Mobley, mentioned the book in one of his radio broadcasts of a high school football game. That was pretty awesome.

With this revised book release I have more realistic expectations and hopefully it will do better but I’m not going to quit my day job.

REFRESH OUR MEMORY ABOUT THE STORY

This is the story of Colton Preston. He is a preacher’s kid who lives with his parents in a small Georgia town. Colton is a rising star on the high school football team. He has friends and a girlfriend there. His world is turned upside down when his father decides to move the family to Savannah, Georgia. Colton must now deal with a new church and new school while missing his girlfriend, Belle. Colton tries to adjust to his new school and new team but faces racial obstacles that challenge him more than his talented arm. If you loved “Facing the Giants” and “Remember the Titans” you will love this story.

WHERE CAN WE GET THE BOOK?

The book is currently only available as an ebook but it will soon be available in a print edition.

Here are the places you can download the book for $4.99:

Apple Books

Rakuten kobo

Bookmate

When It’s More Than A Game

This week players from the National Basketball Association (NBA) walked out of their postseason Disney tournament in protest of the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

Honestly, my first reaction was: “Oh, is the NBA still playing?”

Yes, the NBA is still trying to finish their season which was delayed by the shutdown from the pandemic (which, incidentally, is still going on).

So these millionaire professional athletes decide they aren’t going to show up for “work” in protest of the shooting. While I fully support protests, I honestly don’t know what good it does for professional athletes to refuse to go to work. To bring attention to the issue? Well, I kinda think it has already gotten lots of attention.

So what happens to the normal people like you and I if we called our places of employment and tell them we aren’t going to show up for work to protest the shooting of Jacob Black in Wisconsin? Do I really need to answer that? We would be lucky that we had a job to go back to. And in the end, would our walk out really do any good? Does it really do any good that the NBA walked out?

Nope.

I can tell you that politicians aren’t going to give a darn if any of us walks out on our jobs to protest anything.

The NBA or any other leagues not playing isn’t going to hurt anybody. Sorry, but that’s just the reality. Nobody cares that a millionaire athlete refuses to play a game or practice with their team. Sure, it’s a good emotional gesture at the moment but it’s soon forgotten as the media moves on to the next sound byte.

So, go ahead and walk out. Kneel or lay down during the playing of the national anthem. It’s going to take more than that.

Hey, I love sports and I write a lot about it but in the end it is still a game. It’s hard to take someone serious who walks out on playing a game.

The 13 teams still playing in the NBA Disney tournament resumed practice on Friday and will start playing their games again on Saturday.

So what was accomplished?

Bacon Serves Up Title For Macon

In this weirdly bandaged baseball season, the Macon Bacon made the most of it by giving Macon their first baseball title in 58 years.

Just in their third season, the Bacon used a double-play to defeat their coastal rival Savannah Bananas 6-5 to win the Coastal Plain South Championship on Sunday.

It was the first professional baseball title for Macon since the Peaches won the 1962 South Atlantic League (SALLY) championship with a team which included then-minor league player, Pete Rose. The Peaches defeated the Knoxville Smokies three games to one for the title.

The Coastal Plain League is a collegiate wood bat league, which is an outlet for college players to get extra work and be seen by pro scouts during their schools’ offseason, was originally supposed to have 15 teams scattered from northern Virginia to south Georgia.

Because of the pandemic, many of those teams opted out.

Seven of the 15 teams in the Coastal Plain League have been playing this summer. Two teams in North Carolina and two teams in Virginia make up the northern pod, while the two Georgia teams and one South Carolina team make up the southern pod. Each team was scheduled to play roughly 20 against the other teams in their pod, and roughly 20 exhibition games against assorted lower-level summer-collegiate teams.

The Bacon took a 6-0 lead early with a three-run homer run Josh Hood home blast in the third inning. The Bananas made things interesting with scoring 4 runs in the bottom of the 6th to make it 6-4. For the rest of the game, it was a pitchers duel. The top of the 9th came around, and the Bananas were able to put another on the board to make it 6-5. Runners were on the corner when the Bacon were able to turn a classic 6-4-3 double play to win the game.

Although the league season is done, the Bacon-Banana rivalry will continue with the Breakfast Bowl which features a nine-game exhibition between the two teams set to begin Thursday in Savannah. The teams will play single games Thursday through Saturday for the next three weeks. Five games will be in Savannah and four in Macon.

Don’t Laugh But…Is Bubble Ball The Safest Pandemic Sport?

When I first saw this game on a Disney Channel show several years ago I laughed at how silly it looked. Today my reaction is more of an “I wonder….” since months of the COVID-19 pandemic has affected us and the sports world.

Is this Bubble Ball sport the safest pandemic sport?

Probably but don’t expect to see a pro league anytime soon. It’s mostly a recreational, team-building sport that most really don’t take serious although there are some serious leagues scattered around the world.

Bubble football was first created in Norway by Henrik Elvestad and Johan Golden in 2011,[8] when it made an appearance on their TV show, Golden Goal.[9] The game was spread in the UK by Lee Moseley who self-financed.[10] By 2014, the sport had reached New Zealand[11]. Now in the US it is overseen by its governing body, the BBA.

Players play in half-encased inside an inflated bubble which covers the player’s upper body and head. Just having a sport which covers the face gives it an advantage in safety precaution against COVID-19. This game is typically played in teams in large indoor spaces or outdoor fields and follows the same objectives and overall rules as regular soccer.

Watch a video of the sport here.

The Bubble Football World Cup was scheduled to take place in London in May 2018; however, I have not been able to find any reports on the results or if the event was ever held.

In the U.S., the only organized competition that pops up is the Bubbleball Business Association (BBA). It was established 2014, Bubbleball Inc. is a distributor of highest quality bubbleball equipment. The organization claims over 100,000 participants spanning dozens of communities, and the Bubbleball Business Association (BBA) made up dozens of businesses, distributors and educational partners, we support development of community bubbleball programs, businesses, events and tournaments domestically in the United States and internationally.

You can read more about the BBA here.

I’m not sure any forms of bubble ball is quite ready for the big leagues yet and will have a hard enough time to be taken seriously as a real sport but, as a thought, it does look like a sport that is pandemic safe.

Pandemic Is Sacking Football Season

When the pandemic halted sports in March, it seemed at the time that football season would be safe. Now as we approach kickoff, several leagues, conferences and teams have surrendered to concerns over safety and uncertainty of the effects of COVID-19. COVID-19 concerns contributed to four of the 10 FBS conferences canceling their season in 2020. The Big Ten, Mid-American Conference, Mountain West Conference and Pac-12 are out. A total of 54 schools have postponed their fall football season.  That leaves 76 of the 130 schools still in. The ACC, American Athletic Conference, Big 12, Conference-USA, SEC and Sun Belt, along with a few independents, still planning on playing.  

Honestly, I have thought that the entire year of sports should have been shutdown. I am a sports fan and hate to admit it but I think that would have been the smartest thing to do. Instead, we are getting a patched up version of our favorite sports. Major League Baseball is playing in front of cardboard fans, the National Hockey League is finishing their season playing without fans in Toronto and Edmonton and the National Basketball Association is playing in Disney World.

Now college football conferences have been dropping the fall season. I have also seen several high school football teams either postponing or cancelling their seasons. The Southeastern Conference (SEC) is still pressing ahead with playing this fall and, honestly, rather stubborn about it. What will be the quality of the season if they play? What will it mean is yet another SEC team wins the “national championship”? Will there even be a national champion this season?

The National Football League (NFL) is also pressing ahead with their season. They cancelled the preseason schedule but appear to moving forward with the regular season without any delays. Most teams will play with limited fans in the stands. Some teams may need to pipe in some fan noise.

It will be interesting to see how this all plays out.

Dude Reviews Zagg’s Slim Book Go

When I upgraded recently to my iPAD 10.2, the search was on for a new keyboard case. Anyone that knows me knows how obsessed I am about finding the right keyboard for my devices. For three months, I tried (and returned) many keyboards. Some came close but none checked off all the boxes of what I wanted.

Here are some of the MUST haves that were on my list:

  • Detachable keyboard
  • Backlit keys
  • Slot for Apple Pencil
  • Easy kickstand

After months of searching for the right keyboard case to fit my specifications, I found it. From the moment I opened the box, inserted my iPAD and started typing, I knew this was going to be a keeper. The Zagg Slim Book Go is THE keyboard case.

Here are some of the PROS and CONS about this keyboard case:

PROS:

  • Lightweight – The case is very lightweight. It won’t weigh down your backpack or if you want to carry it with you to lunch. The iPad is completely protected inside the case but it isn’t bulky.
  • Easy typing – I am a very fast typist so they keys have to be constructed for my style. At first, I was a little skeptical of the rounded keys but they have actually not hindered my typing at all.
  • Sturdy but not stiff keyboard – The keyboard is light but sturdy. I can use it in my lap without any problems although it does take up my entire lap.
  • Backlit keys – Very useful for low light conditions. There are seven different color combinations for your preference.
  • Easy detachable – There is absolutely no struggle with detaching the iPAD from the keyboard. Nothing complicated about it at all.
  • Holder for Apple Pencil – There is a slot for the Apple Pencil on both the iPAD case when you want to remove the iPAD or on the keyboard. Unlike other cases which attach a holder on the outside, this is safely stored on the inside when the case is closed.
  • Multi-device pairing – Although not a feature I was looking for, it is a nice thing to have when you are switching between your iPAD and iPhone.
  • Kickstand – This opens differently than most other cases with kickstands. Opening the stand from the top down makes it a lot easier to use on your lap.

CONS:

  • Magnet could be stronger – I like it that the keyboard easily detachs from the case but it probably could be a bit stronger. It is barely magnetic. The Apple Pencil isn’t as secure either with the magnetic holder. This is weakest part of the product.
  • Not completely perfect for lap use – While you CAN use the keyboard case in your lap, it isn’t exactly the same as a laptop. The good news is that since you can detach the keyboard, you can prop up the iPAD close by and use the keyboard in your lap.
  • A bit pricey – At almost $100 it is fairly expensive but it is worth the price. A lot better than blowing your money on Apple’s keyboard cover. I think they could come down on the price a bit. It took me a few paychecks to have the funds to purchase this one.

Let me tell you from someone that gets obsessed with keyboards, you need to try this one! If you are looking all the options I required, I am pretty sure you will be satisfied with it as well and your search will be over. It is a very versatile keyboard case. I didn’t want to limit my case to only be limited to a laptop-only configuration. I wanted to be able to use my iPad as a tablet when I wanted to read or play games then configure it for when I want to type a document.

I can honestly tell you that I have had no thoughts of returning this keyboard case. No doubts about it and I am no longer doing any exhaustive searches for other keyboard cases. For me, this is the right case.

For more information about Zagg’s Slim Book Go: https://www.zagg.com/en_us/slim-book-go-apple-ipad-10-2

Don’t Fall When Ministers Fall

People fail. It happens.

When a minister that you listen to falls into sin, it is disappointing. A punch in the spiritual gut. If you aren’t careful, it can shake your faith too.

A few days ago I learned that a popular minister confessed to acting inappropriately to his female employees. I was shocked. I still am. I enjoyed listening to his teaching – not so much his preaching – and I even went on a tour of Israel with him (along with 349 other people). I have to admit that the report of his fall threw me a bit.

I should know better. I have been disappointed by many ministers in my lifetime.

It’s a miracle that I have continued to be a believer at all. From having a father that was a minister who once told me his members were more important than me to my last pastor who kept looking at his watch when I needed someone to talk to. This latest disappointment reinforces my feelings about church and the ministry. I don’t foresee that I will even return to a church.

Again I have to remind myself that it is more important to follow God than to follow men. These ministers are not substitutes for a personal relationship with God. They aren’t God. They are human and humans fail. It’s just that we hold ministers at a higher level of expectations.

So what is a believer supposed to do when a minister falls? For me, I am removing this minister from my lists of podcasts and I won’t listen to their teachings in the future. It is important to keep focused and maintain my own relationship with God. I know what I am supposed to do and I need to continue to do it.

Yes, I know we are supposed to forgive and we know that God does forgive but we have to be honest that things won’t ever be the same. This minister is now on a “sabbatical” which means he will return when all of this dies down. He will ask a tearful forgiveness and continue his multi-million dollar business in ministry.

When a minister falls into sin and disappoints us, we don’t need to go down with them. What it should do is remind us to keep the faith and work on our own weaknesses. We all have something that wants to bring us down. I have been disappointed by ministers and the church way too many times to let this bring me down.

If I could tell you anything about this it would be that if you like a minister, you need to be very cautious and tie your faith into that preacher or church. It’s okay to like preachers and have your favorites but you’d better be vigilant. Put your faith in God, not man.

Fallen ministers usually trip up in one of three ways: sexual temptation, greed or pride. These things aren’t just limited to ministers but we all must be conscious of them as well but when these things trip up spiritual leaders, it really takes the wind out of us.

Don’t focus on the preacher or the church! It’s about God. Talk to Him for yourself. Just because a minister has a ministry on YouTube or Television doesn’t mean they are right. Just because they promise “blessings” if you will “sow a seed” into their ministry doesn’t mean it will happen. Don’t fall for it.

If you ever listen to someone, make sure you have your brain turned on and alert for those keys words “I believe” and “sowing a seed”. If you are not strong in your faith, you could fall for whatever version of Jesus they are selling.

Many years ago, I drove over a hundred miles a few times to attend a dynamic church in Atlanta, Georgia. The preacher had a TV ministry and it was an amazing experience. Years later it came out that he was having inappropriate relationships with women in the church and a DNA test revealed that his nephew was – in fact – his biological son. When all this came out I wondered if all of what I had seen and heard had been a lie. A show. Playing church.

If there’s one thing about this that I have seen is that if a minister is sinning in secret that God will eventually reveal it. He’s not going to put up with that crap.

Keep the faith. Don’t follow your faith in someone else.

Dude Talks About The Florence Y’alls

Anyone who lives in the South knows that y’all is a term we use when people from other parts of the country would say “you all”. You wouldn’t think this would be the nickname of a sports team – until now.

The Florence Y’alls.

Yep, you read that right.

This is a legit name for a minor league baseball team in Florence, Kentucky. If you have ever driven past Florence on the I-71/I-75 Interstate Highway into Cincinnati, Ohio, there is a water tower that reads “Florence Y’all”. It is said that once you cross the Ohio River into Cincinnati that you are no longer in the South. The Florence water tower originally was painted in the 1970s with the words “Florence Mall.” The use of the word “Mall” was deemed illegal because corporate sponsorships were not allowed on a city water tower. The city’s mayor ordered the “M” repainted into a “Y.” The new nickname resulted from a contest seeking ideas from fans after new ownership took over the club last fall.

The team was formerly known as the Florence Freedom from 2003-2019. When new owners took over the team after the 2019 season, they rebranded the team and named the team the Florence Y’alls.

The Florence Y’alls are members of the 14-team professional Independent Frontier League, playing out of UC Health Stadium off of Interstate 71/75. They were supposed to take the field as the new team this summer but with the COVID-19 pandemic, the team is not playing a regular schedule in the Frontier League.

For more information about the Y’alls, you can visit their website here.

Is Jesus Really Coming Soon?

I have heard all of my life that Jesus was coming soon. He was coming back in the 70s, 80s, 90s and every other decade. The most recent date he was supposed to return was on May 21, 2011 when a group led by the late Harold Camping made the bold prediction. This prediction was made in spite of the fact that the Bible says that no man knows the day or the hour (Matthew 24:36).

So what does it mean when people say that Jesus is coming back?

For Christians, it means that this is a dramatic return of Jesus Christ. When Jesus ascended into heaven after his resurrection, he told the disciples he was going to return in the same way. (Acts 1:11) At the time, most of the disciples thought that “soon” would be in their lifetime but, he we are over 2,000 years later still waiting for Jesus to return soon.

So what exactly is supposed to happen when Jesus comes back? According to most Bible prophecy experts, the next event on the prophetic calendar is what is called the rapture. This is when Jesus is supposed to return to the Earth to gather his believers in the sky. The dead believers are supposed to rise first then those who are alive at them time are to join them. (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17)

Even Christians can’t agree with the rapture or what will happen when Jesus returns. In fact, the word “rapture” isn’t even in the Bible although the description of it is there. (Matthew 24:40) There are a wide range of assumptions about how and when the rapture will happen. It will be interesting how the media will explain whatever event does happen when Jesus returns. Will it be so dramatic that there won’t be any doubt what is happening? Jesus said He would return but He didn’t say what the reaction would be here from the world.

Back to the present and we are STILL waiting for Jesus to return soon. Is Jesus coming back soon – or at all. It makes you wonder a bit sometimes. The return of Christ has been the next event on the calendar for a very long time.

I know many do not believe. This is nothing more than a fairytale to most but ultimately, everyone has to make that decision for themselves. You either believe He is coming or you don’t. There’s nothing I can say here that is going to convince you. As for me, I do still believe. I don’t know how soon “soon” will be. I think there are many times in history where the time looked pretty ripe for Jesus to return and once again it seems the stage is set for Jesus’ return. The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the entire world. Many had thought that the United States was invincible but I think we have all see how a virus could take us out even with all the military power we have.

Certainly this period of time looks ripe for Jesus to return. Sometimes it’s hard to keep waiting but there isn’t much anyone can do about it. You can rush God and his timetable. He will choose when the time will be. Soon could be today.

Dude Wants To Play Human Foosball

I love foosball. I learned to play the game when I was stationed at Thule Air Base in Greenland in the early 80s. Since then, when a foosball table was spotted, I usually ended up there playing anyone that would challenge me. My reflexes aren’t as good now and a bulged disc in my neck has virtually ended my playing days.

I still love foosball and stories about the game. So, it got my attention to see some guys in Argentina come up with a version of human foosball during the pandemic. I have seen versions of human foosball before but they have been nothing more than cheesy ripoffs of the sport but these guys came up with a way to play their game of soccer (futbol) that made sense.

You can read the story and watch a video clip here.

It is a clever way to play soccer without physical contact and risk spreading COVID-19. Could this possibly be a new normal in sports? Contactless sports?

This human foosball game features a field with zones for each player to avoid physical contact. The game, known locally as “metegol humano” divides the field into rectangular zones with while lines limiting where a player can move – helping to enforce social distancing, though limiting slide tackles or pitch-length dribbles with the ball.

This a creative version of human foosball. Other versions have players attached to poles which is a bit much and has been nothing more than an office team building event.

Human Foosball rules are very similar to the game of Foosball and do not have much in common with the soccer game. As mentioned the players are connected to rods so they can only move in one direction, instead of anywhere they like as in real soccer. The ball is served between the two teams in the middle of the pitch.

The players must then try to pass the ball to their teammates and try to score goals. The match is either played up to a certain number of goals, usually 5 or 10. Otherwise, the game can be played for a fixed amount of time, for example, 10 minutes. The team with the most goal is declared the winning team.

I think the Argentine’s have come up with a legit version of human foosball. I like it. If I were younger, I would want to play. Since there is no contact, maybe I could.

There are no plans at this time to form any professional leagues but if the pandemic lingers, there could be more of an opening for this type of sport.