Category Archives: Sports

Track and field ministry reacts to bombings at Boston Marathon

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By Tonya Andris
Inside The Pew

The April 15 bombings at the Boston Marathon has caused great concern within the track and field community.

Steve McConkey, president of 4WINDS, a track and field ministry that works with athletes worldwide, said the attack will change how road races will be conducted in the United States.

“You will see Olympic type security at all events, including more track and field meets. Sad day for the running community in the USA.

“We need to pray for those injured and for the families of those who died at Boston. Pray the authorities would find who is responsible.”

On Tuesday, federal agents continued their investigation for possible clues to the Boston Marathon bombings that killed three people, including an 8-year-old boy, and injured 170. Authorities have asked the public to help by submitting video clips or other evidence that could lead to answers. Two bombs exploded within seconds of one another at the finish line of the storied race.

McConkey said he was 100 meters from where the bomb went off during the 1996 Atlanta Summer Olympics. Steve was with his wife, Liz, their son, and a family friend.

After the Atlanta bomb, McConkey said members of his family were interviewed by the FBI because they saw a person with a large Army bag going in the direction of where the bomb eventually went off in Atlanta. In Atlanta, they saw people being pushed back or more people would have died. They were close enough to feel the wind from the bomb.

The McConkeys have been involved in world-class track and field ministries since 1981, spanning eight Olympics. Their ministry is based in Madison, Wis.

Read more about this ministry and keep up with the latest news from in track and field at

Meals on Wheels Abilene recognizes Hardin-Simmons baseball players

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Special to Inside The Pew

ABILENE, Texas – A group of Hardin-Simmons baseball players haveHSU baseball been named Volunteer of the Month for April for Meals on Wheels Plus Inc. in Abilene.

HSU athletics announced April 4 pitcher Tyler Brunnemann (Garden Ridge, Texas), Andrew Bell, infielder Eric Zamora (Garland), third baseman Jordan Dotson (Lewisville) and pitcher Chas Quisenberry (Lubbock) were recognized for the efforts by the Abilene chapter of the national nonprofit organization.

Hardin-Simmons baseball has had a group of players volunteering with the organization since October 2008 and the players started this on their own back then and it has continued to be a tradition for the program.

“This is something they have done on their own,” said HSU head coach Steve Coleman. “We believe that there are a lot more important things to college kids than playing baseball or going to school. We want them to be well rounded. It is always nice to see your kids being recognized for helping others.

According to Meals on Wheels, the athletes delivered two routes a week and one player volunteers in the pantry twice a week bagging groceries for their clients. The teammates made deliveries every Monday and Wednesday on non-game days.

Meals on Wheels provides meals to homes of seniors whose mobility is limited. Learn more about the Abilene initiative at and the national organization at

John Harbaugh slated keynote speaker at FCA Maryland event

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By Jacob Trimmer
Inside The Pew

John Harbaugh, Super Bowl XLVII winning head coach of the Baltimore Ravens, will serve as the keynote speaker of Maryland Fellowship of Christian Athletes banquetJohn Harbaugh and fundraiser at 6 p.m. on March 4. The event will take place at Martins West, 6817 Dogwood Road, in Baltimore, Md. Harbaugh, who has been head coach the Ravens since 2008, led the Ravens to a 34-31 victory over the San Francisco 49ers (coached by his equally talented brother Jim Harbaugh, on Feb. 3. Learn more about the Central Maryland Fellowship of Christian Athletes at

Harbaugh’s alma mater, Miami (Ohio) University announced Feb. 26 the school will induct John into the “Cradle of Coaches” next year. According to The Associated Press, the statutes honor Miami grads “who have been names a coach of the year at the college or professional level, won a national college or NFL title, or been inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame or Pro Football Hall of Fame.” More irony, John will join Bo Schembechler, among others, in the “cradle.” Schembechler coached Jim while the younger Harbaugh was a quarterback at Michigan.

Tebow to headline sold-out men’s conference

Where ever Tim Tebow speaks, it is almost always guaranteed to quickly sell out. The 2013 Wildfire “Men’s Impact Weekend” conference in central Virginia is no different.

The New York Jets quarterback will headline the conference on at the Liberty University Vines Center in Lynchburg, Va., on March 8-9, starting at 5 p.m. Tim Clinton, founder of Wildfire, said Tebow will share his testimony of faith on March 8.

To get on the waiting list, visit

Other notable guests slated to speak at the conference include John Smoltz, former Atlanta Braves pitcher; Willie Robertson, star of the reality show, Duck Dynasty; Joe White, president and founder of Kanakuk Kamps; Rick Rigsby, a dynamic motivational and leadership speaker; and more!

This annual gathering will also feature inspirational praise and worship with Michael O’Brien and the Wildfire Worship Band. Attendees can expect a two-day event packed full of workshops, exhibits and fun around the stuff that men love — hunting, fishing, motorcycles, racing, athletics, extreme sports and other outdoor activities — taught by some of the leading experts in the world.

Davis makes history

Congratulations to Texas Wesleyan University distance runner Jessica Davis for becoming the first athlete in the school’s history to make the finals of the NAIA indoor national championships in the 5K-meter run. She clocked a time of 17:57.71. Finals for the 5,000 is March 2. Davis looks to continue her success when she competes in the 3K-meter run on March 1 during the three-day event in Geneva, Ohio.

Contact Trimmer at

‘God has brought me this far’: A glance at Super Bowl warriors Kaepernick, Lewis

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By Aimee Herd
Special to ASSIST News Service

NEW ORLEANS, La. (ANS) — “God has brought me this far, He’s laid out a phenomenal path for me and I can’t do anything but thank Him.” — Colin Kaepernick

On Feb. 3, the Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers will wrangle on the grid iron in Super Bowl XLVII.

The faith of a few members of the NFL has been increasingly highlighted in recent years, and it is certainly not lost on some of this year’s players.

Colin Kaepernick is the first. In fact, forget the eye-black-with-Scripture so significant when worn by Tim Tebow in his time as a Gator; 25-year-old Colin Kaepernick of the 49ers has plenty of it-in the form of tattoos on his arms.

Perhaps literally guilty of “wearing his heart on his sleeve” (pun intended), Kaepernick seems to back up the tatt depictions of his Christianity with a personal devotion to the God he follows.

“My faith is the basis from where my game comes from,” Colin explained in a Daily Sparks Tribune interview last year. “I’ve been very blessed to have the talent to play the game that I do and be successful at it. I think God guides me through every day and helps me take the right steps and has helped me to get to where I’m at. When I step on the field, I always say a prayer, say I am thankful to be able to wake up that morning and go out there and try to glorify the Lord with what I do on the field. I think if you go out and try to do that, no matter what you do on the field, you can be happy about what you did.”

Regarding his tattoos, Kaepernick told Reuters, “I don’t really care what people think about my tattoos. I got them for me and to show people this is what I believe in. God has brought me this far, He’s laid out a phenomenal path for me and I can’t do anything but thank Him.”

On the young quarterback’s right bicep the word “Faith” is inscribed, and “to God the glory” and a scroll with Psalm 18:39 elsewhere on the same arm.

On the other side of the field, there is equal passion for the Lord, probably most prominently displayed by the Ravens’ defensive leader and linebacker, Ray Lewis.

“I just know that when you put your trust in God, that anything is possible,” Lewis told a CSN reporter about making it to this year’s Super Bowl contest. Earlier this year, after returning from an injury, Lewis announced that he would be retiring at season’s end.

Lewis’ fiery on-field persona is balanced by a strong faith in the Lord, one that has helped lead the Ravens through the season, as Lewis reads and preaches from the Bible in the locker room, prior to games.

While Lewis’ faith has risen out of troubling circumstances and a very different scenario than that of, say, Tim Tebow-Ray is just as passionate, and has had a huge impact on his teammates, especially this year.

Orlando Magic vice president Pat Williams described Lewis’ faith this way, “He’s come from a totally different background than someone like Tim Tebow. He has come to Christ later in life but isn’t that true of so many? The Bible teaches us that not only are our sins forgiven but they are forgotten.”

What does Lewis say?

“Don’t look at my yesterday, look at my tomorrow,” explained Ray in a Fellowship of Christian Athletes interview. “I’ve said it before, God never changes. The relationship was there all along.”

Super Bowl inspiration: Gospel celebration set for Feb. 1 in New Orleans

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By Grelan Muse Sr.
Inside The Pew

BATON ROUGE, La. – The great sounds of gospel music will take center stage at Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans on Friday, Feb. 1 with the 14th Super Bowl Gospel Celebration.

The musical celebration begins at 7:30 p.m. at the Lakefront Arena on the campus of the University of New Orleans, 6801 Franklin Ave. in New Orleans.

Slated to perform at the NFL-sanctioned event are some of the best gospel artists today, including Donnie McClurkin, Bishop Paul S. Morton, LeCrea, Pastor Marvin Winans, and Fantasia Barrino. Kirk Franklin will serve as host of the music portion, with “The View” co-host Sherri Shepherd as MC for the event. Also, the audience will be treated to performances featuring the sixth annual NFL Players Choir. The 40-member ensemble includes current and former players and coaches. The choir allows NFL players who are Christians to share their love for Him in song. Past participants have included Donovan McNabb, Kurt Warner, Cris Carter, Darrell Green, Deion Sanders, John Elway, and Lovie Smith.

Melanie Few Harrison, creator and producer of the Super Bowl Gospel Celebration, announced Jan. 28 the celebration will feature a tribute to Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis as the second Lifetime of Inspirations award winner. Super Bowl-winning coach Tony Dungy is the only other winner of the prestigious award, as he was present the award in 2009.

“His (Ray Lewis) accomplishments and triumphs have inspired football fans, teammates and colleagues – a true representation of what the essence of the convergence of faith and football is all about,” Harrison said. “As a big supporter of the event, Ray Lewis has attended many Super Bowl Gospel Celebrations and sang in the NFL Players Choir, so we are beyond thrilled to honor him in what is sure to be a memorable year.”

Tickets are available through Ticketmaster. Learn more about the SBGC and the performers at

Side of 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh we don’t see everyday

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By Tonya Andris
Inside The Pew

By now, you’ve seen the clip.

When 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh’s challenge of the catch made by Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Harry Douglas was denied, coach went into a rage. Fortunately, for him, the call had no bearing in the result of the Jan.20 NFC Championship game, as his 49ers held off the Falcons, 28-24, to advance to Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans.

Harbaugh’s sideline rants have been the ridicule of many since he has become the 49ers head coach. Some sports journalists don’t care for the guy, especially since Harbaugh is hush-hush on issues related to his team that would probably make a great story.

Just when the reporters have the chance to learn about a different side of Harbaugh, they sorta passed it by. But I don’t completely blame them. When Harbaugh took his annual trip to Peru to do the Lord’s work in June 2012, the mainstream reporters asked about it, but he didn’t really elaborate.

However, Harbaugh was more than willing to discuss the trip with media that could relate, such as The Catholic News Agency. Judging from the quote, the trip was quiet personal for him. “The doors that God will open for you by the people you meet or by the circumstances you’re in (allow) your character to be shaped and your spirit to grow. Those kinds of doors are opened for (me) here.”

If you want to go back farther, I found a Bleacher Report guest column from 2008 written by Carla Ingle. The column, titled Jim Harbaugh and Jesus Take The Field …, was created while Harbaugh was head coach at Stanford University. Ingle reveals when Harbaugh was quarterback of the Indianapolis Colts from 1994-1997, he would acknowledge God before beginning his press conferences. Ingle wrote, “When he first started playing for the Colts it would warm my heart when a reporter would interview him and the first thing he would say was ‘I’d like to thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for making all this possible.’ Then he would continue on with the interview and address whatever question that had been posed to him.”

Then, Ingle began to notice when the wins began to disappear, there was no mention of God and some “not-so-kind words” came from Harbaugh’s mouth. Did that make Harbaugh less of a Christian? No – not in the Father’s eyes. If we are honest with ourselves, we are human and guilty of this at times.

As Christians, we should be careful not to assume everyone who doesn’t put their faith on public display every day is a fair-weather Christian. He uses us in different ways. If only Harbaugh’s acknowledgment to the power of God was heard beyond the readers of the CNA others will begin to think a little differently about him.

Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh, Jim’s older brother and opponent on Feb. 3, was quite open about his team’s inspiration after they defeated the Denver Broncos in overtime, 38-35, in the AFC Divisional Playoff on Jan. 12 and in the win against the New England Patriots for the AFC Championship. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to see Jim Harbaugh open a press conference in 2013 in the same fashion he did during that great 1995 he had with the Colts? Either way, we know there is more than rage that sits in the heart of Jim Harbaugh.

Related story

Harbaugh finds gratification helping others in Peru 6/27/2012

Texas Wesleyan, Northwood, SAGU join Sooner Athletic Conference

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By Jacob Trimmer
Inside The Pew

Texas Wesleyan University, Northwood University, and Southwestern Assemblies of God University are on the move.

The three Christian-based universities– all longtime members of the Red River Athletic Conference – are among four universities slated to join Sooner Athletic Conference beginning in the 2013-14 academic year.

Also joining the SAC is Southwestern Christian University in Bethany, Okla.

The announcement was made jointly by the schools’ presidents – Texas Wesleyan’s Frederick G. Slabach, SAGU’s Kermit Bridges, and Northwood’s Kevin Fegan on Sept. 18

Texas Wesleyan, located in Fort Worth, as well as Cedar Hill’s Northwood and Waxahachie’s SAGU, have enjoyed their tenure with RRAC, but are looking forward to what the new relationship will offer, Slabach said.

“This move isn’t just about joining a more competitive conference,” Slabach said. “The closer proximity of other conference schools gives our student-athletes the benefit of spending more time in class and less time on the road.”

Having 10 schools in the SAC — which is based in Oklahoma City — means the conference will be able to advance two teams out of the conference to post-season competitions.

“The competitive environment in the Sooner is demanding,” Slabach said.  “But we look forward to the challenge.”

SAC Commissioner John Hudson said the conference is delighted with the additions of these three great institutions and believes the move creates one of the strongest conferences in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA).

“These are exciting times in the conference,” Hudson said during the press conference. “Expansion into the Metroplex area is great for the Sooner Athletic Conference and brings Northwood, Texas Wesleyan, and Southwestern Assemblies into the NAIA’s premier league.”

Current SAC schools are John Brown in Siloam Springs, Ark.; Mid-America Christian in Oklahoma City; Oklahoma Baptist and St. Gregory’s in Shawnee, Okla., Wayland Baptist in Plainview, Texas; and the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma, in Chickasha, Okla.

Poll: Hardin-Simmons volleyball team to retain title

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Special to Inside The Pew

Two-time defending American Southwest Conference volleyball champions Hardin-Simmons is the preseason choice to win the ASC West Division and HSU senior Madison Reyes and junior Christine Sas have been named the preseason offensive and defensive players of the year in the division.

The Cowgirls went 29-6 in 2011 and won the ASC title. HSU received 11 of the 12 votes in the poll of the leagues head coaches and sports information directors and had 71 total poll points. Texas Lutheran received the only other first-place vote and was a distant second with 60 points.

Concordia, Schreiner, Howard Payne, and Sul Ross State rounded out the poll.

Reyes, who was the league MVP as a junior outside hitter, led the ASC with 3.84 kills per set a year ago. She was also the MVP of the ASC tournament.

“It is an honor, I think preparation is a lot of what went into,” said Reyes. “I want to work hard for my team to keep the honor.”

Sas, who is also an outside hitter, averaged 3.77 digs per set and also had 2.84 kills per set and led the league with 58 aces.

“It is really exciting, because I take a lot of pride in my defense,” said Sas. “As a non-defensive player, it is nice to be recognized.”

Texas-Dallas was the preseason pick to win the ASC East. UTD’s Dana Hilzendager was the preseason offensive player of the year in the ASC East and Texas-Tyler’s Emily Wood was the preseason defensive player of the year.

NFL Hall of Fame QB Jim Kelly shares parenting plays

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By Dan Wooding
Founder of ASSIST Ministries

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (ANS) – NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly shares fatherhood advice in his new book, The Playbook for Dads – with Ted Kluck – (FaithWords/Hachette Book Group, September 2012).

Kelly, who spent 11 eleven seasons as quarterback of the Buffalo Bills, helped lead the team to the playoffs eight times, including four Super Bowls.

The Kellys have shared Hunter’s story all over the world and in Jill’s book, Without a Word. Relaying insider information on his toughest job, Kelly tackles 10 important lessons that fathers should be sharing with their children.

“Being a father is hard work,” writes Kelly. “It’s hard work just like being a quarterback was hard, relentless work … But I can honestly say that it’s the greatest, most important job in the world.”

According to a news release, relating personal experiences on and off the field to fatherhood, Kelly walks fathers through his game plan, challenging them to coach their children through 10 important lessons: thankfulness, confidence, respect, preparation, passion, perseverance, character, responsibility, teamwork, and spiritual life.

“It seems like many of these principles are fading away in our society, and I think it’s our job as fathers to preserve them and pass them along to our children,” writes Kelly. In September 1997, three months after their infant son, Hunter, was diagnosed with a fatal disease, Jim and his wife, Jill, founded the Hunter’s Hope Foundation. Sadly, Hunter died at age 8 from Krabbe diesease.

Each parenting lesson begins with a letter to his late son and ends with a letter to his two daughters, Cam and Erin. Kelly shares details of his and his wife Jill’s journey to Christianity after the passing of their son, and how that experience has changed their lives for the better – forever. FaithWords publishes books for the growing inspirational market.

Based near Nashville, Tenn., FaithWords has grown dramatically by acquiring a solid list of faith-building fiction and high-profile authors with edifying messages, including best-selling authors Joyce Meyer, Joel Osteen, John Eldredge, and David Jeremiah. Several FaithWords titles have appeared on national best-seller lists, most recently Every Day a Friday by Joel Osteen, Living Beyond Your Feelings by Joyce Meyer and I Never Thought I’d See the Day! by David Jeremiah.

Gold medalist Gabrielle Douglas’ strength is in Lord

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By Aimee Herd
Special to ASSIST News Service

LONDON, UK (ANS) — One of the favorites for Team USA this Olympics has been 16-year-old Gabrielle Douglas, who helped her team garner gold in women’s gymnastics. She also competed in the All-Around competition, along with teammate Aly Raisman, and Gabrielle took gold once again.

Setting Gabrielle – affectionately called “Gabby” by her teammates and fans – apart is her willingness to share with the press, Facebook and Twitter friends, about what gives her strength, courage and peace in the midst of the fierce contest of skill: her faith, and relationship with the Lord.

Upon learning that she and her fellow USA gymnasts had won gold, she posted on Facebook, “We are the 2012 London Olympic Gold Medalists!!! We are all so happy right now. It’s a dream come true! Gotta give God the Glory! Thank you everyone for praying for me! It means so much to me! Now I have to prepare for the All-Around competition! I am so excited! Gabby.”

In an Us Weekly interview, Gabby said, “Right before a competition I pray and listen to music.” And when she was asked by the press how she focuses and stays calm when surrounded by the immense pressure of the Olympic competition, the teen replied that she meditates on Bible scripture.

In evidence of that, on the morning of the all-around competition, Gabby tweeted, “Let all that I am praise the LORD; may I never forget the good things He does for me.”

A video posted on Crosswalk describes the journey Gabby and her family has taken on her road to the Olympics, including the difficult decision by her mother Natalie – a single mom– to allow her youngest daughter at 14 to move halfway across the country to train.

Despite the cultural differences, Gabby found a second home with her host family in Des Moines, Iowa, and the move for intense training paid off.

Watch the moving video here.