Category Archives: Sports

NFL ties, Christian entrepreneurship rank as top reads on Pew for ’13

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By Jacob Trimmer
Inside The Pew

A Christian clothing line founded by a former NFL player ranks as the top read story on Inside The Pew for 2013.

Mark Clayton, who was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens in 2005, launched his own clothing line – My Christian T – back in 2011.Mark Clayton Although Clayton confirmed with Inside The Pew on Twitter in 2012 that he no longer operates the clothing, there is still an interest in the wide receiver’s entrepreneurial aspirations.

Clayton was traded to the St. Louis Rams in 2010, but injuries signed the Oklahoma Sooner’s career in the NFL. He told Sean Devine of Did You See That?! in September he has no regrets about his NFL playing days.

“Every minute, every experience, every relationship, I’ll never forget any of it. I’m working hard to come back and I hope to continue my career. Hopefully we can add some more stories, relationships, and experiences to my legacy.”

Three other sports related stories made the top 10. The filming of a biopic on high school football coach Bob Ladouceur in New Orleans came in at No. 4, while stories about Super Bowl XLVII coaches (and brothers) Jim Harbaugh and John Harbaugh were ranked No. 7 and  No. 8, respectively.

The story of Tyres Dixon, a Houston resident who works for the United Way and winner of the nonprofit organization’s Achiever of the Year, landed at No. 2 on the list.

Three stories from the Pew Business spotlight landed in the top 10. Whitening Lightning founder Jennifer Gerard (No. 3), National Association for the Exchange of Industrial Resources (NAEIR) president and CEO Gary C. Smith (No. 9), and Ezechiel “Zeke” Bambolo and First Born Son Inc. (No. 5) made the annual list.

Grelan Muse Sr., founder of Inside The Pew, was pleased at the amount of popularity generated by the spotlight. The section was officially launched in March.

“When we created the section, we wanted to help boost the presence of like-minded entrepreneurs who take Him in to the workplace every day. These types of stories are what our readers want to see. Hopefully, Christians who are considering entrepreneurship can draw from the stories of these individuals.”

Fly Away Records and its Rhythm of Gospel Music Award nominations (No. 10) and Melanie Stone’s column on the attributes of a Kingdom builder (No. 6) rounded out the top 10.

List of top stories

  1. NFL wide receiver launcher clothing line to give glory to God
  2. Goodwill Industries names Houston man 2013 Achiever of the Year
  3. Gerard to fellow entrepreneurs: Trust Him, great things will occur
  4. Filming of Bob Ladouceur movie takes place in New Orleans
  5. The First Born Son Inc. helps restore individuals and families
  6. Stone: Five marks of a kingdom builder
  7. Side of 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh we don’t see everyday
  8. John Harbaugh slated keynote speaker at FCA Maryland event
  9. NAEIR redistributes corporations’ unsold products to nonprofits
  10. Fly Away Records snags Rhythm of Gospel Award nod

Rutgers football team to worship with Somerset congregation

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Rutgers Scarlet Knights

By Jacob Trimmer
Inside the Pew

Members of the Rutgers University football team will worship with the flock at First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens at 11 a.m. onRutgers Scarlet Knights Aug. 18, according to a press release from church representatives.

The Rev. Dr. DeForest B. Soaries Jr., said the Scarlet Knights will fellowship with the church and the community in celebration of a new season. Prayers will go up especially for the team.

“As parents of college athletes, my wife, Donna, and I experienced many emotions,” Soaries said. “Through it all, however, we supported their endeavors, cheered them to victory, and consoled them during defeat. This Sunday we plan to do the same for the Rutgers University Scarlet Knights football team; I’d like these young men to look across our congregation and see a ‘red sea’ of support.”

The Rutgers football team, led by Coach Kyle Flood, not only strives for excellence on the field but excellence in academics and in service to the community. The Scarlet Knights (5-2, 9-4) tied Cincinnati, Syracuse, and Louisville for the 2012 Big East Football Championship, while Flood was named the 2012 Co-Big East Coach of the year.

Soaries said the service is open to the public. Along with the recognition of the Rutgers football team, praise and worship will take place. The church and community are being asked to wear the color red in honor of the Scarlet Knights.

Founded in 1937, First Baptist of Lincoln Gardens is a vibrant community-focused, multi-cultural and historical African-American church rooted in Baptist doctrine. The church is located at 771 Somerset St. in the Somerset section of Franklin Township, N.J.

Rutgers opens its 2013 campaign Thursday, Aug. 29 at Fresno State.

For more information on the church and its ministries, visit www.fbcsomerset.com

Hardin-Simmons welcomes 167 players for first day of fall practice

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Hardin-Simmons head football coach Jesse Burleson

Special to Inside The Pew

ABILENE, Texas – Hardin-Simmons’ football team reported 167 players on Aug. 15 for the first day of fall drills.Jesse Burleson

“We are excited to get going,” third-year head coach Jesse Burleson said of the inaugural drills. “We have put a lot of work since the final game of last year to get to this point and this is where all of that hard work pays off.

“Every position is up for grabs and we are ready to get the best 22 on the field. I probably shouldn’t say this, but it is what we believe, we expect to go 10-0, win the conference and go to the playoffs. Looking at anything less sells us short as a team.

“That is not a shot at anyone we play, it will be tough and we know that and are prepared for that. We play two of the top four teams in the nation this year, plus another very good Willamette team and our conference schedule. The road is not easy but we like the challenge.

The Cowboys return a bevy of weapons from an offense that led the nation in passing and was second in scoring a year ago. HSU will have to replace record-setting quarterback Logan Turner.

“We have people that we feel can play with anyone in the country, we have some guys that are as good as we have had in this program. We think we stack up. Obviously, we lost a very good quarterback, but we have several guys in that room that can win football games for us, it is our job to find the right one.”

Defensively, the Cowboys took some lumps a year ago, but part of that was intentional and with a stock pile of young defensive players now a year older and more experienced the expectations are high for the defense.

“We knew we were going to have some inconsistencies on defense last year, we played a lot of freshmen and sophomores,” said Burleson. “That was by design. We recruited a lot of good players, but they had to learn on the run.”

“To get where we want to be we have to be better defensively and those young guys, who are very talented, received some lumps, there is no doubt. That will make us better. We expect that we will be more consistent and we are a year stronger. We expect with this many returners we will be able to build around them and keep getting better.”

HSU will open its season on Sept. 6 at Willamette (Ore.) at 9 p.m CST.

 

Tebow: Just win, baby

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Tim Tebow with Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels

By Paul Hughes
Special to Inside The Pew

If Tim Tebow never plays another down as an NFL quarterback it won’t be because he can’t. It will be because they say he can’t.Tim Tebow with Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels

I don’t even say “because they think he can’t,” since thinking — actually assessing the data they have in front of them — hasn’t been much involved here.

And the bottom line of that data, the evidence people so often claim they “need” before they can “know” what to do, is that when Tebow plays, his teams win.

This has been the flat out facts since before high school for the man, who’s now approaching five years out of college.

But because he doesn’t play what and how they think he should play, and they are in charge, they will continue to ignore those facts.

Despite our vaunted “rugged individualism” and supposedly believing in bootstraps and quality, we Americans actually have a long history of living as if might makes right, and that whoever is in nominal, public, and visible charge has that might.

And is therefore right.

So if the New England Patriots — who just plucked the man out of oblivion — play him in a different role it will be seen as vindicating that pre-conceived, pre-judged (i.e. prejudiced), and unproven notion, that he can’t play quarterback.

Some news stories indicated that Tebow would now be open to playing a new position, where he had in previous instances apparently declined this.

Perhaps he was committed to what he wanted, to what he believed was the correct and only way to do something, and perhaps to a fault. But now fullback or tight end seems open again.

And he may get the chance: Last week, we learned police want to talk to a Patriots receiver; he’s entering some legal trouble, which would affect his availability to play football. A second player has had multiple surgeries.

Perhaps that was the team’s idea all along, since they surely would have known such a need was beginning to churn. Training for a new season, they’d seek someone who knows how to play the game.

Tebow was in Nowheresville.

The team was hedging bets.

He’d become available.

A match was made.

So Tom Brady may be throwing to Tebow — in the same division as the New York Jets and the same conference as the Denver Broncos. The Patriots have epic rivalries with both these teams.

Recent reports have indicated tight end is not an option. But when the Patriots signed Tebow, someone asked Coach Bill Belichick what position he’d play. His response was, “We’ll see.”

A more likely scenario has Tim Tebow available at the right price — no guaranteed cash and the league minimum for two years if he makes the team — simply to bolster their quarterback ranks.

Meantime the Jets jerked Tebow around all last season. They may be paying for that one — and in more ways than one — for the next couple years.

But undeniably, we live in interesting football times, my friends.

In fact, interesting times are commonly a result when one’s cherished pre-conceptions don’t jibe with truth. As Zig Ziglar used to say, we’re like a cross-eyed discuss thrower: we don’t set many records but we do keep the crowd alert.

We’ll have to endure the crowing by the naysayers, convinced they were right about Tim Tebow — when they had decided beforehand, stacked the deck against him, refused the plain proof, and now may have the opportunity to say, “We told you so.”

But we’ve endured worse.

And Tebow has lived in it.

And anyway, it will be fun to see a situation develop where what’s actually happening is what’s been said all along: that Tebow can play, and should play, and will win if he does. Because that, exactly, is what has happened when a team actually, you know, tries it.

In the little ebook I wrote when Tebow was producing the proof while playing for the Broncos, one point was that Tebow would pick up somewhere, with somebody, that could, somehow, see this — and know what no one else would even look at: the simple bottom line results that when Tebow was allowed to play by the powers-that-be, he certainly could play professional football, and his teams won.

And this is a team sport, right?

Here it is in the form of a proof:

When Tim Tebow plays, his teams win.
His team is the New England Patriots.
If they let him play, they will win, too.

Even if it’s not what anybody thought it would look like in the end.

 

Paul Hughes is a writer in Southern California. The ebook is Tebow: Throwing Stones.

 

Filming of Bob Ladouceur movie takes place in New Orleans

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Bob Ladouceur

By Ginny McCabe
Special to ASSIST News Service

NEW ORLEANS, La. (ANS) — With the cast that stars Jim Caviezel, Laura Dern, Michael Chiklis and Alexander Ludwig, When The Game StandsBob Ladouceur Tall is currently being filmed at a high school football stadium in New Orleans, La. Directed by Thomas Carter, the movie is slated to open in theaters on Sept. 19.

Inspired by a book of the same name from Neil Hayes, and based on a true story, the movie is the latest installment from the same company that has delivered a string of successful films like Soul Surfer, Courageous and Fireproof, among others.

Produced by Mandalay for Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions (SPWA) and its AFFIRM Films division, this inspirational, sports drama draws its material from legendary De La Salle High School football coach Bob Ladouceur, “Coach Lad” (Caviezel) and his assistant coach Terry Eidson (Chiklis), who took the Concord (Calf.) Spartans on a 151-game winning streak from 1992 to 2003, shattering all records.

According to MaxPreps.com reporter Mitch Stephens, Ladouceur currently coaches varsity running backs for the Spartans. In May, Comcast Sports Net Bay Area’s Mike Maoicco reported that San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh approached Ladouceur about working as a consultant in “team dynamics” for the reigning NFC  champions.

The moving story unfolds as Coach Lad and Eidson demonstrate the power of team building that is founded on strong principles like character, faith, responsibility and commitment, said producer David Zelon. He said, in the end, the team and its players learn to stand for something much greater than winning.

Ladouceur’s achievements span more than three decades with the Spartans and include a historic 12-year, 151-game run of consecutive wins, 20 undefeated seasons, seven national titles, five CIF Bowl championships, 17 state championships and 28 CIF North Coast titles. Ladouceur retired in January 2013 and he holds the title for the highest-winning percentage of any coach (.934) with a 399-25-3 record.

“The story of ‘When The Game Stands Tall’ resonates far beyond football or sports in the way all great sports films do. At its core, this is a timeless and universal story about character, hard work and love. Coach Lad’s inspirational and unyielding focus on building integrity, discipline, faith and commitment above all else is his foundation for excelling in coaching and life, and is what gives this story its unique power and magic,” said Steve Bersch, president, SPWA.

“On the surface, it appears that these players just won a lot of football games, but what makes this story so special is that this is a coach who placed little value on winning, instead focusing his players on giving a ‘perfect effort’ in life,” added Zelon. “Underneath it is a resounding testimonial about how much more kids can achieve when they are challenged with responsibility and commitment.”

“I think a ‘perfect effort’ means that you are striving to be the best man you can be on and off of the field. When I was first offered the role and when I read the script, what resonated with me was the coaches’ approach. It not only impacted one group of kids, but generations of kids,” remarked Ludwig, who plays star running back Chris Ryan in the movie.

“Their objective was to turn these boys into men and create a brotherhood. It had nothing to do with winning games and that’s why they were so successful at it,” he continued.

Inside The Pew sports writer Jacob Trimmer contributed to this report.

Colt McCoy, Austin pastor throw support behind military nonprofit

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By Jacob Trimmer
Inside The Pew

A nonprofit that addresses the needs of active military has received two more celebrity supporters for its boot campaign.

On May 23, the Boot Camp Campaign announced that NFL quarterback Colt McCoy and Matt Carter, pastor of The Austin Stone Community Church, are featured on theMatt Carter, left, and Colt McCoy and organization’s official photo. According to a press release distributed from the Boot Camp, the photo release coincides with the release of McCoy’s and Carter’s book, “The Real Win: A Man’s Quest for Authentic Success.”

“The real win means trusting the Lord and walking with Jesus no matter what,” write Colt and Matt. “That kind of faithfulness is possible for any man who follows God with all his heart. No matter what circumstances threaten him, a faithful man is the most truly confident man in the room.”

McCoy was drafted by the Cleveland Browns during the 2010 NFL Draft. In April, the quarterback was traded to the San Francisco 49ers. As a Longhorn, McCoy led the University of Texas Longhorns to the 2010 BCS national championship against Alabama. Carter oversees the flock at the 8,000-member church in Austin and is an author and speaker at conferences around the nation.

The Boot Camp awareness campaign has enlisted more than 300 actors, professional athletes, musicians, politicians, and other celebrities who have laced up combat boots for the cause.

Boot Camp, a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit organization based in Austin, Texas, is a patriotic movement raises awareness of the challenges active military men and women face upon returning home. The nonprofit was founded by five Texas women in 2009. Proceeds from sales of the boots help wounded military and their families with job placement, mortgage free homes, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) counseling, and adaptive clothing.

To purchase boots and read information about the needs of active military, visit http://www.bootcampaign.com/.

Texas court rules in favor of Kountze cheerleaders in Bible banner lawsuit

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By Tonya Andris
Inside The Pew

Hardin County District Court Judge Steven Thomas entered an order on

Kountze High School cheerleaders display a banner at a football game.

Photo courtesy of KHOU

May 8 that will allow a group of Kountze cheerleaders to display banners with Bible messages during school-sponsoring sporting events.

Thomas’ ruling states: “The Kountze cheerleaders’ banners that included religious messages and were displayed during the 2012 football season were constitutionally permissible. In addition, neither the Establishment Clause nor any other law prohibits the cheerleaders from using religious-themed banners at school sporting events. Neither the Establishment Clause nor any other law requires Kountze ISD to prohibit the inclusion of religious-themed banners at school sporting events.”

Kountze, a town of 2,100 residents 95 miles northeast of Houston, made national headlines in September 2012 when an unknown person filed a complaint with the Freedom From Religion Foundation that the banners, produced by middle- and high-school students, were unconstitutional because they advocated a particular religion.

After learning of the complaint, Kountze superintendent Kevin Weldon banned the cheerleaders from displaying the Bible-inspired messages on the banners. Then, in September 2012, Beaumont attorney David Starnes and Liberty Institute filed a lawsuit, Coti Matthews on behalf of her minor child, Macy Matthews, et al., v. Kountze Independent School District, on behalf of Kountze ISD cheerleaders and their parents.

On Oct. 18, 2012, the court granted a temporary injunction allowing the student-made religious banners to continue until a final decision in the case is made.

“We’re excited, relieved, and glad it’s over with,” Coti Matthews, mother of one of the cheerleaders, told ABC News.com May 8.

“We especially appreciate the efforts of Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, who intervened into the case in support of the cheerleaders,” said Hiram Sasser, Liberty Institute’s Director of Litigation. “The extra efforts of Deputy Solicitor General Adam Aston were instrumental in the successful resolution of this case.”

 

Young: The trials of Tim Tebow

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By Mylow Young
Special to Inside The Pew

Tim Tebow has made headlines again but perhaps for the very last timeMylowYoung2 as a member of the NFL. On April 29, Tebow was released from the New York Jets and it is speculated that he will not be signed by another team. Critics have insisted since the day he was signed by the Denver Broncos as the 25th pick in the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft that Tebow doesn’t possess the skills to be an NFL player. He only went out and proved them wrong by leading Denver to six consecutive come from behind wins in the 2011 season that helped catapult the Broncos to the playoffs and a victory over the top defensive team in the league, the Pittsburgh Steelers.

But when all-world quarterback Peyton Manning became available in free

Tim Tebow

Tim Tebow

agency before the 2012 season, Tebow became expendable and was packed off to New York. In his first season with the Jets, Tebow was promised an opportunity to compete but was mislead when the team stuck with the inconsistent incumbent, Mark Sanchez. As the circus atmosphere in New York, escalated there was no doubt that Tebow would soon find his way out of yet another NFL door.

So what’s next for Tim? He insists he is an NFL quarterback, possessing the skills to lead a team to victory but will he get another shot at it? Many advise him to look to compete at another position while others suggest he go to Canada where the opportunity to succeed is a bit more prevalent. Tebow has decided to trust God. On Wednesday, he tweeted Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and don’t lean on your own understanding. Acknowledge Him in all your ways and He will direct your path.”

“How can he lack understanding on why he was released?” a prominent ESPN sports show panelist asked, making reference to Tebow’s skill set. “Tebow was saying, I tried everything else and it’s not working so I give up, you take it Lord” was the surprising response from the other panelist. Someone in secular media gets it!

I don’t feel sorry for Tebow; there’s no need. But I do believe that he is in a season of trial and is definitely in the fire. He has shown the wisdom and maturity to know that the position he’s in and the status that has been placed on Him is bigger than he is. I believe, and my guess is that Tebow believes as well, that it is God’s will that He endures what he must to first of all bring glory to God and secondly, to become the man he is destined to be off of the football field.

He has chosen to trust God above all else and that’s why I cheer for him. He’s trusting God above the possibility of never playing in the NFL again. But Tebow’s trials are much bigger than football, much bigger than a game. The difficult part is… the entire world is watching.

Mylow Young, a licensed minister and native of Philadelphia, is author of “Crack House Exodus: Against the Gates of Hell.” Follow Mylow on Facebook and on Twitter @mylowyoung.

Book review: Former NFL quarterback encourages others to be their best

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By Tonya Andris
Inside The Pew

For 14 seasons, Randall Cunningham was the versatile NFL quarterbackLay_It_Down_Randall_Cunningham whom teams depended on to make miracles happen on the gridiron.

Now, Cunningham, 50, is a pastor, a mentor, and an author. His second book, “Lay It Down: How Letting Go Brings Out Your Best,” (Worthy Publishing, $19.99) was recently released. The book takes readers through several episodes in his professional and private life that brought him to rely on God for support and clarification. The most pressing situation – the accidental drowning death of his 2-year-old son, Christian, in 2010. Cunningham fittingly alludes to the death of his son in the title of chapter 2, “The Biggest Hit I Ever Took.”

Instead of showing frustration for his son’s death, Cunningham immediately praised Him. “I got in my car, backed out of the driveway, and began to scream, ‘Hallelujah! Praise God! Thank you! I love you, God.”

“The goal of the book is to allow people to think about life solutions,” said Cunningham, who spent his career playing for the Philadelphia Eagles, the Minnesota Vikings, the Dallas Cowboys, and the Baltimore Ravens. “There is no way we could have got through this (the death of Christian) on our own.”

Fittingly, Cunningham uses football-related phrases to frame his story. Nice touch. For further study of the chapter, the book includes reflection questions and epigraphs from the Bible, C.S. Lewis, Tim Tebow, Tony Dungy, Tony Dorsett, Martin Luther King Jr., and Nelson Mandela.

Mentorship takes on a circular meaning in “Lay It Down.” Cunningham said mentors have been “divinely planted” in his life.

“I’ve always had mentors, I just didn’t realize it,” he told Inside The Pew. “When I was in Pop Warner as a boy, there were men who volunteered their time to coach me. When I attended church, I had pastors who would pray for me. There were teachers who took a vested interest in me because if they didn’t I would not have become the man I am today.”

Cunningham credits Troy Johnson and Robert Johnson for introducing him and his wife, Felicity, into discipleship.

In the book, he also mentions how he is mentored by the nearly 12,000 members of his Las Vegas, Nev., church – Remnant Ministries.

As an NFL player, Cunningham considered the late Reggie White as his mentor, among others. Near the end of chapter 4, he speaks highly of hall of fame defensive end. But, before the “minister” began to connect with him, Tom Cameron introduced him how to stand with God and become a born-again believer. The prose here was engaging.

“It was Reggie White who got in my face and told me you better straighten your life up,” he said.

Just as some of the same ways teachers and pastors mentored to him, Cunningham serves the same role to teens who participate in the high school track and field and club track and field teams he coaches. As a coach, he said is able to mentor to athletes, especially those who are fatherless.

Cunningham wrote, “The building block of our culture begins with strong families, and the father is vital to that equation. Children need a father who is there. … Mentoring begins as a father.”

The book can fit into the classifications of a biography and inspirational non-fiction (well-organized story telling in several chapters). Cunningham’s message is clear as the reader closes its covers: set goals, stay focused, and never hesitate to rest on others for support. These attributes have taken Cunningham pretty far.

“Lay It Down: How Letting Go Brings Out Your Best” is available at Amazon and Borders. To learn more about Remnant Ministries, visit http://www.remnantministries.net/.

Cunningham to NFL Draft hopefuls: ‘Pray for favor’

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By Tonya Andris
Inside The Pew

Back in 1985, Randall Cunningham was a quarterback from theRandall Cunningham University of Nevada at Las Vegas with hopes of becoming a professional football player in the NFL.

It didn’t immediately happen.

During the NFL Draft, he had to wait until the second round for his dream to come to pass, when the Philadelphia Eagles took Cunningham with the 37th pick, the first quarterback selected in the second round.

Cunningham said he got impatient when he wasn’t chosen in the first round. He said he went to the store. He said when he got home, Cunningham recalled he had a message from the Philadelphia Eagles that the team had chosen him.

His first year, he was back-up to the aging veteran, Ron Jaworski. During rookie season, the Santa Barbara, Calif., native completed 34 percent of his passes, with one touchdown and eight interceptions.

With the 2013 NFL Draft set to start April 25, Cunningham said it is essential for NFL hopefuls to keep the faith and to be patient.

“At this point, there is nothing else they can do but pray and ask that God give them favor with these teams,” he told Inside The Pew during an interview about his new book, “Lay It Down.” “Being drafted is only the beginning.”

Unlike last year’s draft where Robert Griffith III and Andrew Luck were the known to be the top two draft picks, there is speculation about this year’s top picks at quarterback. According to The Sporting News, quarterback Geno Smith (West Virginia) could go first and while The Orlando Sentinel suggests quarterback EJ Manuel (Florida State) could go high in the second round.

Three-day coverage of the 2013 NFL Draft, held in New York City, will be broadcast live on ESPN and the NFL Network beginning at 7 p.m. CST.