Rick Reilly on Bonds

I have a short-term subscription to Sports Illustrated which I bought from a girl at church who was selling magazine subscriptions as a fundraiser. Some issues of SI are better than others, but one of the high points is always Rick Reilly’s back page column.

The July 23 issue of SI focused on Hank Aaron and the home run record chase, and Reilly’s column, Giving Barry His Due, was particularly enjoyable, as he suggested different ways to properly celebrate Barry Bonds’s impending record-breaking home run.* Here are some of my favorites:

  • Light one of his baseball cards and hold it up like a Bic at a concert.
  • Call the Hall of Fame and ask which cap will appear on Bonds’s head in his Cooperstown exhibit—the size 7, the 71/2, or the 8?
  • If you’re watching TV, flip to something a little more plausible, like MacGyver.
  • Pull out a copy of Game of Shadows and begin reading aloud how Bonds used steroids, human growth hormone, insulin, testosterone decanoate, bovine steroids and female fertility drugs to help him set this record. And then watch Bonds step on home and point to God.
  • Squirt juice out of a giant syringe.
  • Remind yourself that they put a gold medal around Ben Johnson’s neck for a while, too.
Reilly closed his column by putting Hank Aaron’s achievement into perspective:
Remember this: The man who held the record before Bonds—one of the most principled and honorable men you will ever meet—is reluctant to even speak to Bonds on the phone, much less be there to witness the record breaker. Just because a thief paints over a masterpiece doesn’t mean the masterpiece isn’t still underneath.
Bonds will end up with more home runs than Aaron, but I’m convinced that in the long term, Aaron, and not Bonds, will be remembered as the Home Run King, while Bonds will be remembered as a colossal talent who ruined his legacy by cheating.

*Through the seventh inning of tonight’s game against Atlanta, Bonds remained homerless. It’s starting to look increasingly hopeful that he won’t break the record against my beloved Braves!


The Eight Questions Meme, Sort Of

Several days ago, Edward “Hollywood” Carson tagged me to do this on his blog, so I decided I would comply, but with a couple of changes. I’m supposed to make up and then answer eight questions. Well, eight questions is a lot, and since I have to come up with them on my own, I’m going to limit it to 5.

1. What is something about you that embarrasses you, or at least that you wouldn’t want everyone on the World Wide Web to see?

I can’t swim. Not a bit. I don't really have an excuse, I just never learned how. When I was younger, I was greatly ashamed by this, but I’ve had enough people joke with me about it over the years that now it just annoys me. One of my college buddies actually gave me a couple of lessons over the course of a couple of years, and I learned how to float on my back, but if I were ever in a situation where I had to put that into practice, I’m almost certain that I would choke (both metaphorically and literally).

2. In the About The Author link on the side of the page, you describe yourself as an ultimate frisbee player, but it seems like every other post you write is about baseball, while you hardly ever talk about ultimate. What’s up with that?

It is a firmly-held conviction of mine that baseball is the best sport of all time. It is not the world’s oldest sport, but the meticulous documentation of its history is unmatched. It is not the most demanding sport physically, but hitting a major league fastball has been called the most difficult thing to do in sports, and when placed alongside the grind of a 162 game schedule, it makes baseball demanding in a unique way. The sound of football pads crashing against each other is impressive, and the swish of a basketball net is cool, but no sound in sports compares to the poetry of the crack of the bat. I could go on and on.

Baseball is fun to play too, and for a while, I was pretty good at it, but I was never going to make it to the big leagues. I wasn’t even good enough to really play in college.

Ultimate doesn’t have nearly the history of baseball, but it has come a long way in the last 30 years. I made great friends in college through the frisbee team I played on, and when I’m healthy (which sadly is rarer and rarer these days), I can be competitive at the highest levels of ultimate, which is pretty neat.

Baseball is the better sport. Ultimate is the sport that I am better at.

3. What is your favorite animal?

Turtles, without a doubt. When I was little, I never really had much interest in pets, unless I found a turtle in the yard.

I’m not sure I can explain what the big deal about turtles is, but I’ll try: They’re easy to care for, generally very nice, occasionally friendly, and usually, not in too big of a hurry. People could learn a lot from turtles.

I’m not a big fan of snapping turtles though. They’re the jerks that give the rest of the turtles a bad name.

4. It’s pretty clear from reading your blog that you are a Christian. Why is that?

Honestly, the reason I became a Christian is because my parents are Christians—it’s just the way I was raised. As I got older though, especially when I went away to college, I examined my own beliefs and also learned about some other religions, and while some of my ideas have changed, my faith is probably stronger now than it has ever been.

When it comes down to it, the Person of Jesus is entirely unique, and, in my opinion, irresistibly appealing. There’s no one I would rather imitate.

5. If you were Barry Bonds, on the verge of making history by breaking Hank Aaron’s career home run record, what would you do?

I’d consult the nearest physician as soon as possible. With as many foreign substances as I’d have injected into my body, I’d be pretty sure that I had some major problems.

There you go. Since I only answered five questions, I’ll only tag five people: Angela, Clay Hendrix, David McMahon, Paul Murphy and Sam Travaglini. Technically, you’re supposed to answer eight questions, but I guess it would be pretty hypocritical of me to hold you to that. I’ll look forward to the responses.


Beckham Debuts Tomorrow

I’m not a huge fan of soccer, David Beckham or Beatles songs, but I thought the combination of all three made for a pretty sweet commercial:

I’ll be watching the Braves and Cardinals tomorrow night during Beckham’s MLS debut, but I’m intrigued enough that I’ll probably record the game.

It will be interesting to see how much of an impact he has on soccer in the United States—will we ever really care about it?

Shopping At A Discount

I got home fairly late last night—around 12:30AM—and as I pulled into my parking spot, stumbled across a rather curious covert operation in progress near my apartment building.

A pick-up, with the engine running, was pulled up next to the dumpster, and a group of about four people were quickly and silently working together to extract a large piece of wooden furniture from the trash bin and put it in the back of the truck.

The group seemed a little concerned at my arrival, but I didn’t care too much about their midnight treasure hunt and just went up to my apartment.

It didn’t surprise me that someone would get furniture out of a dumpster—people love thrift stores, flea markets and garage sales, and dumpster diving is not all that different. What did surprise me is that this group thought they needed to wait until late at night and be sneaky about it. I mean, who cares if someone takes away the trash that you don’t want?

Who knows, maybe the furniture collectors were Swedish. Apparently, it’s illegal to find treasure in another man’s trash there…


Keeping My Fingers Crossed…

I’ll be out of town for the next few days—it’s time for our Summer Youth Group trip.

When I was young, I always looked forward to such trips, but now that I’m in charge of organizing them, they tend to fill me with a sense of dread.

This year, we’re going to Springfield, Missouri where we will spend a day working at a Children’s Home, and then we’ll head to Silver Dollar City for a day of “fun.”

Youth trips are always a big gamble—sometimes they’re great fun and sometimes they’re just a source of great drama. With the way this summer has been going, I’m afraid it will be more of the latter.

Pray for our safety. And my sanity.


Exploding Pictures

This year on the 4th of July, I got to witness Fayetteville’s fairly impressive fireworks display, and fortunately, had my camera on hand to snap some pictures.

My camera isn’t really suited for night shots of sudden explosions, plus I’m not exactly bursting with ability when it comes to photography, but I got some pretty interesting shots which didn’t necessarily look as much like fireworks as they did other things…





And a couple of shots closer to what you would expect:


Bad Decisions

I’m around teenagers a lot. I’ve spent the last several summers working with youth groups and at summer camps, and now I am a youth minister year-round.

Working with young people definitely has its upsides. Teenagers have a different perspective on things than do adults, and being around young people with so much energy can make you feel young yourself. Also, the teenage years are a time of drastic change, and it’s fun (and rewarding) to watch young people grow physically, emotionally and spiritually.

But there’s one thing about working with and being around young people that I can’t stand, and that is having to sit back and watch as they make terrible decisions.

Of course, making poor, ignorant decisions and then learning lessons from their consequences is a part of growing up, but that’s not really what I’m talking about here. I’m referring to those terrible, life-altering decisions (or maybe more often, a series of poor decisions) that put you on the wrong path in life.

I’m thinking about someone in particular as I write this, but really, I’ve known way too many people who fit this descriptionthey start off on the right path but then, sometimes suddenly and sometimes slowly, begin to make a series of bad decisions which cause their lives to spiral out of control.

It upsets me. It baffles me. It keeps me up at night.

Sometimes I feel that if only I could make these decisions for them, then they would turn out alright.

One day when I was thinking this, I suddenly wondered how God feels when I make bad decisions. God, who could have created us however He wanted to, but decided to give us the gift of free will, a gift which people often use to make terrible decisions, sometimes devastating ones that destroy the lives of others.

If the poor decisions of someone else can upset me, as self-centered and unloving as I can sometimes be, so much, how much more must they grieve a God who defines selflessness and love?


Independence Day

“I must study politics and war that my sons may have the liberty to study mathematics and philosophy.”
—John Adams, 1780


The Great (Fire)Wall

Being all about censorship as communist governments have generally tended to be, the People’s Republic of China has constructed a massive firewall to restrict certain internet sites that the government doesn’t think its citizens should have access to.

The popularly-named “Great Firewall of China” blocks sites including Wikipedia and the BBC, but through this neat website where you can test your URL on the firewall, I discovered that The Doc File isn’t blocked—I guess I’m just not that controversial.

Before I ran the test, I thought I understood why I wasn’t getting a lot of hits and page views from China’s 1.3 billion inhabitants, but now that I know that my blog isn’t one of the sites being blocked, I’m completely at a loss.

Maybe I should write more posts in Mandarin?

The Doc File © 2006-2012 by Luke Dockery

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