Professional Disc League Opens 6th Season

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Raleigh Opens With Win Over Tampa Bay

 

The American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL) had the opening pull of their sixth season this weekend with two games on the schedule.

Indianapolis AlleyCats 24, Detroit Mechanix 12

The AlleyCats (1-0) are coming off an 8-6 record from last season and got off to a good start with a convincing win over the Mechanix (0-1).  Detroit is hoping to improve of last seasons’ 4-10 record.

Raleigh Flyers 27, Tampa Bay Cannons 22

The Cannons (0-1) challenged the Flyers (1-0) for the first three quarters before the home team Flyers pulled away at the end to win 27-22 in their opening night matchup. The Flyers have won five straight against their divisional rivals dating back to 2016.  Jacob Fairfax had eight goals in the game for the Flyers which was the second highest single-game total of his career.

The league begins the 2018 season with 23 teams divided into four geographic regions (East, Midwest, South and West).  The league lost the Charlotte Express and Cincinnati Revolution, the Jacksonville Cannons initially moved to Orlando and then landed in Tampa.  The Vancouver Riptide moved to Portland and will play in 2019.   The Nashville Nightwatch are under new ownership.

According to the AUDL website’s “Tuesday Toss”, here are the top five places to watch an AUDL game:

Austin
Long considered a great ultimate town, the Sol have quickly built up a loyal following of fans, making their home atmosphere among the best in the league. Plus, the Sol’d Out crew has officially become the greatest unofficial media outlet in AUDL history.

Washington DC
The Breeze have a new home in 2018, moving about four miles north from Gallaudet University to Catholic University. It’s reasonable to expect the fans to follow, considering that DC has steadily supported its team over the past couple seasons, in which the team has gone 20-8. Pregame concerts and lucrative halftime promotions have become commonplace for the Breeze, who count DC Mayor Muriel Bowser as a fan.

Los Angeles
Three words: Ace the Aviator. Without question, LA has the league’s best mascot. Ace is the perfect mix of entertainment and engagement, without overshadowing the game. Aviators ownership deserves a lot of credit for building a brand in a town that is overflowing with activity.

Madison
Speaking of building a brand, no team in the league has done so like the Radicals. Often, they are featured on local news alongside the Wisconsin Badgers or Green Bay Packers. As a result, Radicals players now get recognized more and more frequently around town. With a great home stadium, excellent concessions, passionate fans, and a fun and convenient postgame hangout destination, it makes all the sense in the world for Championship Weekend to return to Madison for the second time in three years.

Montreal 
Last year’s Final Four destination is certainly worthy of hosting another Championship Weekend down the road. Since the team’s inception in 2014, the Royal have delivered an exemplary gameday product, attracting fans and building a grand ultimate atmosphere. Their loyal followers are devoted to the home team, but appreciate of brilliant ultimate from either side. And their fans’ love can be attracted via great marketing, like when the Toronto Rush took the field wearing old-school Expos t-shirts last August.

This weekend’s games:

  • Saturday, April 7
    • Minnesota at Seattle
    • San Diego at Los Angeles
    • Detroit at Pittsburgh
    • Montreal at DC
    • San Jose at San Francisco
    • Atlanta at Tampa Bay
    • Dallas at Raleigh
    • Madison at Indianapolis
  • Sunday, April 8
    • Montreal at Philadelphia
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Awesome Songs of Easter

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Easter Sunday was always my favorite day to attend church. It was a tradition for me which started at an early age. When I was a child it was about wearing new clothes to church and the Easter Egg Hunt after church. As I grew older, I learned to appreciate the positive message of the resurrection. It has always been exciting to hear about that morning when Jesus walked out of His tomb. Good Friday became an even better Sunday.

During a period of my life, I was a church youth leader and my favorite activity was to direct the Easter program at church. I was always one who was a bit eccentric and liked to do things different. Each year when I planned the Easter program, I would pick a powerful Easter song and have our young people to play roles in acting out the song. These programs were a lot of work but they were always very fulfilling when they were performed. I always had a wonderful group to help me. We had fun but they were all also very committed to what we were doing.

My early productions were rather basic but I found ways to improve each year. The year I discovered the effects of dry ice was an awesome discovery as I learned how to create fog or smoke effects, especially when the stone was rolled away from the tomb. Another year I managed to save tubes of fake blood from Halloween to use them for the productions. The blood was so lifelike that one elderly lady didn’t like it and left. I’m not sure what she was expecting from us acting out a song called “This Blood Is For You”.

Since I would always use modern contemporary Christian songs, there were always the traditional people who would express their dislike for our “worldly” music. In other words, we weren’t acting out songs from the church hymnal.  That’s okay because everyone’s tastes are different, I just liked using songs that were effective to stir the emotions of people and understand the importance of this day.

It was exciting to bring life to some awesome Easter songs. When I refer to Easter songs I am referring to songs about the resurrection.

Here is a list of some of my favorites along with a link to a performance of that song:

  • “He’s Alive” by Don Francisco (Listen)
  • “Arise my Love” by Newsong (Listen)
  • “The Champion” by Carman (Listen)
  • “He Lives” by Lakewood Church by Cindy Cruse Ratcliff (Listen)
  • “Rise Again” by Dallas Holm (Listen)
  • “Was It A Morning Like This” by Sandi Patty (Listen)
  • “Jesus Is Alive” by Ron Kenoly (Listen)
  • “Celebrate Jesus” by Don Moen (Listen)
  • “Because He Lives” by Bill and Gloria Gaither (Listen)
  • “I’ve Just Seen Jesus” by Sandy Patti and Larnelle Harris (Listen)

It’s very difficult for me to pick a favorite from the list above.  I can only say that they all have their own ways of bringing out hope and maybe cause a few goose bumps to appear when you listen to them.  I think the first one that I remember which really stuck with me was the first time I heard the song “He’s Alive”.  My first time hearing this song was not the Don Francisco version but one sung by a man that has meant a lot to me.  He was my first counselor in Youth Camp many, many years ago.  He is an awesome banjo player and he performed a memorable version of this song.  I have never forgotten it.

So if you are looking for an awesome Easter song today, I highly recommend any of those on the list above.

Although not an Easter song, the final scene from the movie “Passion of the Christ” is perhaps the best movie scene which depicts the resurrection.  I think it’s pretty powerful.  You can view the scene below:

 

 

What’s So Good About Good Friday?

goodfridayThis morning I walked into our building and noticed that our cafeteria is closed for “Good Friday”.  Seriously?  It isn’t even a federal holiday and they are closed?

Well, honestly, Good Friday is NOT a holiday nor should it be.

And what’s so “good” about Good Friday?

Good Friday is the Friday prior to Easter Sunday which recognizes the crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ.  Yes, it’s a Christian thing so what’s so good about a day when Jesus was brutally beaten and suffered death on the cross?

If you need a reminder about what happened, you need to watch the movie “Passion of the Christ”.  I have only been able to watch it once.  It’s pretty graphic and closely accurate to what happened.  I warn you that the movie is pretty graphic.  You will gain a whole new understanding of how Jesus suffered and died.

And this is supposed to be good?

It is good because of the suffering and death of Jesus, as brutal as it was, fulfilled God’s plan to save people from their sins.

So why did a man have to die to save people from their sins?

Yes, I know it’s a little difficult to understand but you would have to go back in history and understand the culture at that time.

After Adam and Eve sinned the world changed.  Sin is the wickedness in each of us that causes us to act selfishly, to rebel against God, and to hurt one another.  In the Old Testament, Gold instructed people to set aside the day of atonement to make sacrifices for their sins.  They were to bring an innocent, blemish-free animal as a temporary atonement for their sins.  God gave a temporary means of forgiveness through the death of animals.  The problem with this method was that no amount of sheep or other animals could remove the sin from the world.  Jesus came as the only human being in all of history who was completely pure and without sin.  In God’s plan, it took a blameless human to become the ultimately sacrifice for sin.

This whole explanation can really get twisted depending on which religion you listen to.  It’s difficult to grasp the fact that someone who died a horrible death thousands of years ago could still affect us today.

I’m not expecting this blog to convince you if you don’t believe.  That’s totally up to you.  There is no way a person could intellectually convince you through scientific of historical facts.   Even if you go to the site of the crucifixion, it would still be hard to believe.  I have been there and seen the place and I have to tell you that the bus station next to the location kind of doesn’t fit what we imagine it to be.  But when you think about it, when, in any other point of history was a perfect situation for God to choose the time period that He did to do this?  Yes, just imagine if something like this happened today?

Good Friday is really about blood.  The blood atonement that Jesus gave for the sins of the world.  The Bible states that blood was the symbol for life.  Old Testament sacrifices were only temporary and only pardoned for a short time.  This atonement was a weekly thing but when Jesus shed his blood on this day, He voluntarily gave himself for all time and no need for future sacrifices.

So, really, Good Friday is good for us.

If you want to see a powerful music video about Good Friday, watch “This Blood is for You”

 

 

 

I’m Not Playing The Nickname Game

Milton_Hello“Cooper?”

“No, Hooper with an H”

I can’t tell you how many times I have had to correct people about my name.  When I have had to tell someone my name they usually get it wrong and they interpret it as being “Cooper” or “Hopper”.  It’s frustrating but I’m used to it.   When I give my name at restaurants I usually give my first name because they always mess it up.

My name is Milton Hooper.

I have had this name all of my life.  My first name was given to me from my Pa-Pa, my mother’s dad.  His name was Milton.  So, with that I was called “Little Milton” around the family so there would be no confusion.  I’m sure most of my kinfolks on my mother’s side still know me as “Little Milton”.   Of course, most of them know absolutely nothing about me now.

Milton wasn’t a very common name growing up.  Of course, kids are mean.  I’ve been called “Milton the Monster”, “Uncle Miltie” and “Milton Bradley” among other names I won’t repeat.  I’m not sure why people have always felt the need to default my name to a nickname instead of my given name.   I honestly never call anyone a nickname unless that’s what they want to be called.  I’m not sure why that thoughtfulness isn’t reciprocated.

I usually have let people slide with calling me “Milt” or “Hoop”.  I don’t have a lot of issues with that really.  The problem comes when, as an adult, people want to tag me as “Miltie” or “Uncle Miltie”.   I will tell you point blank that I do not like it and I will not joke about it either. What’s the deal with that anyway?  Why do people think it’s okay to immediately jump to a nickname other than your real name.

I once had a co-worker who started yelling “Miltie” down the hallway when she needed something and when I didn’t answer she came to my office and asked if I had heard her.  I informed her that I did not answer to that name and that my name is Milton.  She was taken aback by it but this is MY name right?  What is this?  High School?

In my younger years I used to be afraid to nip this nickname thing and let people get away with it.  I don’t anymore.  I had another co-worker recently who had just been moved into an office near me and when I passed by he referred to me as “Uncle Miltie”.   I stopped and walked up to his desk and told him we weren’t going to do the nickname thing.  My name is Milton, not Uncle Miltie.  He looked at me as if I had offended HIM.  Are you kidding me?  I have a right to MY name don’t you think?

milton2Honestly I don’t understand the Miltie/Uncle Miltie thing.  I know it is supposed to be because of that past comedian Milton Berle but that’s not me and it doesn’t give anyone the right to nickname me that.  Okay, so you might think I’m being too sensitive about my name.  It’s not your name is it?  Why should people assume to hang a nickname on anyone?  For one thing, it is about showing respect to others.  Honestly, being called Miltie is condescending to me.  It puts me on the same level as being looked at as a child.  I take it as being disrespectful.

So what’s the deal with people giving nicknames anyway?

It is probably a subconscious thing that people what to feel as though they have some sort of ownership of you.  This nickname tag makes them feel special in some sort of way that they have tagged someone.  Endearing nicknames are sometimes motivated by admiration or love, although some condescending nicknames, even done innocently,  ultimately depersonalize people.  Purposefully mispronouncing someone’s name is an intentional statement of power, a disrespect that essentially said “you are not important enough for me to call you by your given name.” At some level, when people really matter to us, we do invest time and care in learning their name and in saying it correctly. So it makes sense that not learning and using their preferred name would suggest the opposite – that we don’t care enough to do so.

Hello…my name is Milton Hooper.

Don’t even get me started on my middle name.

 

 

The Power of Redemption

Icanonlyimagine_1200w_tnAt times I can be a very emotional person.  There are times that I cry.  There, I said it.  Something like that is hard for a man to own up to but as I sat in the movie theater Sunday wiping away tears from my eyes after watching the movie “I Can Only Imagine” the power of redemption overtook my emotions.

I wasn’t the only one.  I heard many sniffles from the people around me.  We were all taken in from the emotional workout we had just experienced from watching the story of Bart Millard of the Christian Music group MercyMe.

As I think about this movie, I can tell you that as long as there is a God there is a chance and a hope for redemption.  I’m just crazy enough to believe that.

Forgiveness is hard.   Let’s be honest.  In fact, I think it is the hardest thing that a person can do.  The only way it can truly work is from both sides.  It is especially difficult if you are the person who was wronged to let go of the hurt and the memories that are burned into the scars of your life and to set the offender free.  We don’t like pardoning people.  Not in this day and world that we live.  We want people to pay.  We want revenge.  We want them to hurt as badly as they hurt us.  We don’t want to hear about forgiving anyone or cutting someone loose.

It’s hard I won’t lie.  I have always been passionate about defending myself when I have been wrongly accused.  I can get pretty worked up about it too.  I don’t like to be wrongly accused but it happens.  It’s not right or fair.  Life isn’t fair.  If we live and we feel we will most assuredly be hurt by someone.  I know you don’t like reading this and I honestly don’t like writing it.

Redemption is hard.  We want people to pay.

In the movie, Dennis Quaid plays, Arthur, the abusive father who tries to make things right with his son, Bart.  Bart has a hard time dealing with the change in his father.  His father is at a loss on how he can possibly make up for the years of hurt and pain he caused his son.  Sometimes we all have relationships that have gone past the point of no return.  The hurts run deep.  So deep that there is no possible way to make up for it.  Unfortunately none of us have a time machine that can go back and correct the hurts we have caused in the past.

So what does God expect from us?   Well, you’re not going to like this but He expects us to forgive – and not just one time either.  He’s also not into the “three-strikes-and-you’re-out” rule.  When Jesus was asked about this He said 70 x 7.  So, in other words, we are ALWAYS supposed to be good at forgiving.  Let me say that God also expects us to use our brains too and not keep put ourselves in a position to where we have to forgive someone that is taking advantage of us either.  If someone keeps stealing from you at some people you need to forgive them and stop giving them money.

God is kinda big on forgiveness.  We also hear the other part that is usually tagged onto this and that is forgetting.  Letting it go.  Now that’s a hard one to digest isn’t it?  Love is the key to letting things go.  It has to be.  If you don’t let things go then there is no forgiveness.

Sometimes the forgiveness never comes and the other party dies.  What then?  Are we doomed forever in the land of unforgiveness?  No.  Even if the deceased person is no longer here, we still must deal with it.  Some suggest getting a chair and talking it out as if the other person is sitting there.  I’m not sure if that works or not but we must do what works to resolve it.  We hold onto things way too long and it messes up every other relationship we have with people.  We hurt so we unintentionally hurt others when we don’t deal with it.  Get it resolved one way or the other.

What if the other person is unwilling?

That’s a hard one.  Maybe you want to redeem your relationship but the other person does not give a thought about it and has no interest in it.  All I can tell you is to let it go on your end and be open.  Never shut the door.  Believe in the power of redemption.  You know, if one thing I learned from the movie is that God is always working and sometimes we never see what He’s doing in people or how He’s working behind the scenes.  As hard as it is for us to believe that God does not give us a report of what He’s doing, He’s doing what He wants and will work in whatever way to bring redemption.

Yes, I’m crazy enough to believe that.

I am an emotional guy.  I can’t help it.  That’s who I am.  I believe that redemption is possible.  It’s hard to believe it when you can’t see it happening.

It’s true that there are some relationships that are never restored but, as the old hymnal goes – “We’ll Understand It Better By and By”.  As long as there is a God, there is a hope for redemption.

 

Obscure Sports News (3/26/18)

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Riveters’ Goaltender Katie Fitzgerald leads her team to Isobel Cup championship

METROPOLITAN RIVETERS CLAIM THEIR FIRST ISOBEL CUP

 

Metropolitan Riveters 1, Buffalo Beauts 0

On their second shot of the game, the Metropolitan Riveters scored the only goal from Alexa Gruschow who put the puck in from a difficult angle after her first shot was blocked. After that it was a tense battle which saw both goaltenders turn away shots.  The Riveters’ Katie Fitzgerald made 28 saves and shut down the Buffalo Beauts late in the game for a 1-0 win.

Guschow was named the game’s Most Valuable Player.

The Riveters finished the regular season with a record of 13-3-0 then easily dispatched of the Connecticut Whale 5-0 in the semifinals for their first appearance in the Isobel Cup final and dethroned the defending champs.

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Baltimore Holds Off Monterrey’s Late Rally for Three-peat

 

BALTIMORE BLAST WIN YET ANOTHER MASL TITLE

Baltimore Blast 4, Monterrey Flash 3

The Blast opened with a strong first half in front of a hostile crowd of 8,220 with goals from Vini Dantas, Andrew Hoxie and Daniel Peruzzi to a 3-0 lead at halftime.  After a goal from Monterrey’s Edgar Gonzalez, Juan Pereria scored for Baltimore to extend their lead back to a 3-goal difference at 4-1.  The Flash stormed back with two goals but the Blast defense was able to hold off the Monterrey rally to secure their third straight Ron Newman Cup title.

The Baltimore Blast have now won their 10th indoor title in team history.  The Blast have been in the finals in 13 of the past 16 seasons.

Goalkeeper William Vanzela was playing in only his second game after returning from injury and finished the night with eight saves and strong down the stretch to help the Blast protect their one-goal lead.  Vanzela needed only to make one last save in the final two minutes as the Flash brought on the extra attacker.

Jerusalem Big Blue Lions repeat as Israel Bowl Champions

 

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Jerusalem QB David Abell MVP of Israel Bowl XI

The 2017-2018 season ended with Israel Bowl XI being played at Kraft Stadium in Jerusalem as the Jerusalem Big Blue Lions defeated the Petah Tikva Troopers 28-20 to repeat as Israel Football League champions.  The Lions also finished the season with an undefeated record.

Lions’ QB David Abell connected with Ezzy Jaski for 28 and 30 yard touchdown passes in the third quarter to give the Lions a 22-8 lead but the Troopers stormed back with two touchdown passes of their own from Avrami Farkas to Gideon Reiz.  The second touchdown from 62 yards with 9:23 left to pull within 28-20 in the fourth quarter.  The Troopers, making their first Israel Bowl appearance, had a chance to tie the game in the late stages of the fourth quarter; however, after failing to convert on fourth-and-10 with 1:44 remaining near mid-field, the Lions took over on downs to run out the clock.

Abell would finish the game with 122 passing yards along with a game-high 138 rushing yards on 14 carries. Abell was awarded Israel Bowl XI MVP honors.

Jerusalem finished the regular season in first place and easily defeated the Tel Aviv Pioneers 54-12 in the semifinals.  This was Jerusalem’s sixth Israel Bowl appearance.  They are 3-3 in Israel’s version of the Super Bowl.

You can watch Israel Bowl XI here on YouTube.

Scoring Summary:

  • First Quarter
    • Jerusalem – Jerome Wojtalik 2-yard run (PAT Run no good)
      • Jerusalem 6, Petah Tikva 0
    • Petah Tikva – Jonathan Curran 18-yard pass from Avrami Farkas (PAT Dani Eastman Run)
      • Petah Tikva 8, Jerusalem 6
  • Second Quarter
    • Jerusalem – Ezzy Jaski 28-yard pass from David Abell (PAT Nechemia Kaplinsky pass from Abell)
      • Jerusalem 14, Petah Tikva 8
  • Third Quarter
    • Jerusalem – Jaski 30-yard pass from Abell (PAT Kaplinsky pass from Abell)
      • Jerusalem 22, Petah Tikva 8
    • Petah Tikva – Gideon Reiz 28-yard pass from Farkas (PAT Run no good)
      • Jerusalem 22, Petah Tikva 14
  • Fourth Quarter
    • Jerusalem – Abell 21-yard run (PAT Pass No Good)
      • Jerusalem 28, Petah Tikva 14
    • Petah Tikva – Reiz 62-yard pass from Farkas (PAT No Good)
      • Jerusalem 28, Petah Tikva 20

 

2017-2018 Israel Football League Final Standings

  1. Jerusalem Big Blue Lions (10-0)
  2. Judean Rebels (7-3)
  3. Petah Tikva Troopers (5-5)
  4. Haifa Underdogs (5-5)
  5. Tel Aviv Pioneers (4-6)
  6. Mazkeret Batya Silverbacks (2-8)
  7. Beersheva Black Swarm (2-8)
  • Wildcard Round
    • Tel Aviv 28, Haifa 6
    • Petah Tikva 38, Mazkeret Batya 6
  • Semifinals
    • Jerusalem 54, Tel Aviv 12
    • Petah Tikva 46, Judean 30
  • Israel Bowl XI
    • Jerusalem 28, Petah Tikva 20