Monday, December 7, 2015

John Harbaugh: A Man of Faith

John Harbaugh is the head coach of Baltimore Ravens. He is the winner of Super Bowl XLVII in 2013, in which he and the Baltimore Ravens defeated his brother Jim and the San Francisco 49ers by a score of 34-31.

Harbough is also known for his faith, which he exudes with confidence.  Harbough is a football player who did not want to let go of the camaraderie that he experienced as a player and so like his father and his brother, he became a coach. 

He says, "God puts people in your path for a reason." He believes in selfless individualism--not selfish individualism. People need to be humble to be their best. He believes the way you manage relationships in coaching is very important. Faith and relationship with Jesus Christ is the most important priority.

On a personal level, Harbaugh prays every night with his wife. He likes to be intentional about his life. He likes to read and study the Bible.  He regularly attends Mass and believes Confession is critical--helps him stay convicted.  He also goes to team chapel services. His studies have helped change--they help him in his job.

Harbaugh believes it is important to prioritize.  Anything that gets between you and God is bad. 
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Sporting Chance Press is the publisher of Sports and Faith: More Stories of the Devoted and the Devout by Patrick McCaskey, Senior Director of the Chicago Bears.  McCaskey's Sports and Faith series discusses athletes and others who lead exemplary lives.


About Sporting Chance Press:

Our goal at Sporting Chance Press is to provide entertaining books that can give readers a lift in sports and in life. We publish books that give readers insight into the hero within each of us. When sport is at its best, there is a payoff constantly taking shape – a payoff "at work." We are improving—whether it is building self esteem, improving health, developing strong social skills, or learning the habit of achievement. There is a discipline needed in preparing for sports contests and life contests. Getting our bodies and minds in shape for the competition is critical. If we can approach sports training and life with enthusiasm, the contest is pure joy. If we can approach sport and life with passion and not pressure, we can achieve and release that fearless hero within. 
Lawrence Norris

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Santiago Pilgrimage Spawns Flowering of Literature: Hiking the Camino

We plan to cover "Pilgrimage" in our next Sports and Faith book.  We all know the term pilgrimage is a journey to a holy place made by people looking to find a more spiritual meaning in their lives. Those who go on the pilgrimage are pilgrims, seekers, trekkers, pellegrinos (ital.), or peregrinos (span.).  Pilgrimages were very popular in Christian circles for a long time.  In some ways, certain pilgrimage journeys have fallen out of favor. But in recent years, many Christians are adding them to their "bucket lists."  In the Christian world, there a pilgrimages to the Middle East, Rome, Lourdes, Fatima, Santiago and more.  Millions fly into to these places, but historically people walked to many and the journey was very important and meaningful.

The popular 2010 film, The Way, featured the resurgence of el Camino de Santiago de Compostello.  The Camino de Santiago is a pilgrimage that mostly runs through northern Spain to the burial place of St. James at the Cathedral in Santiago. An ancient pilgrimage that can begin in many different places.  One of the most popular tracts begins just across the French border in Saint Jean Pied de Port. The French route is 500 miles long and it takes people around a month of fairly difficult walking to make it. 

Pilgrimages like the Camino de Santiago, the Way of St. James, illustrate a theme that we present at  Sporting Chance Press.  Pilgrimages involve substantial physical assertions dedicated to God and illustrate just how we "pilgrims" can dedicate our mind, body and soul to our creator.  In our Sports and Faith series, the idea behind Patrick McCaskey's books is not simply to show how athletes can be faithful, but to illustrate a fanatical desire to dedicate all we do for Christ.  For many people in modern times, the physical has been left out of the equation.

The Camino de Santiago has also spawned a recent flowering of literature by a diverse group of pilgrims.  One that I was interested in is simply called Hiking the Camino by Franciscan Priest Father Dave Pivonka published by Servant Books an imprint of Franciscan Media. Father Dave Pivonka's book looks at his Pilgrimage journey from the eyes of a young priest at his 10th anniversary of his ordination. His story gives us "pellegrino"-wannabes a taste of the journey--sore feet and all--but it also gives readers a taste of the faith experience that Fr. Dave experienced along the Way.  It seems that everyone's Camino  experience is unique, but with some similarities.  The pilgrims that make the trek find crowded hostels, physical hardship no doubt, and a lack of privacy that most Americans would find challenging.

In Hiking the Camino, we follow Fr. Dave's passage from the start.  He makes a decision to go; receives permission; finds a fellow priest to accompany him; gets his equipment; begins his journey; and then suffers along the way and experiences many great things that will cause him to forever think of his life before the Camino and after the Camino. 

I have to say that I was well disposed to reading Fr. Dave's book as I am a big Camino fan.  It was great to read Fr. Dave's narrative in that it gave me a sense of not only what one might experience, but it also examined Fr. Dave's outlook, his sense of love and holiness. His book offered a good example for myself.  I will never go on the Camino de Santiago myself, but I will use parts of Fr. Dave's experience to model my own journey to Christ.


About Sporting Chance Press:

Our goal at Sporting Chance Press is to provide entertaining books that can give readers a lift in sports and in life. We publish books that give readers insight into the hero within each of us. When sport is at its best, there is a payoff constantly taking shape – a payoff "at work." We are improving—whether it is building self esteem, improving health, developing strong social skills, or learning the habit of achievement. There is a discipline needed in preparing for sports contests and life contests. Getting our bodies and minds in shape for the competition is critical. If we can approach sports training and life with enthusiasm, the contest is pure joy. If we can approach sport and life with passion and not pressure, we can achieve and release that fearless hero within. 
Lawrence Norris

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Knock Knock...Who is there?...Read..Read Who...Read my book.

Pillars of the NFL: Coaches Who Won Three or More Championships examines the football lives of the greatest coaches in the history of the NFL.  It's written by Patrick McCaskey, Senior Director of the Chicago Bears.  If you know Patrick, you know he is as enthusiastic about the Bears as he was when he joined the organization over 40 years ago when he graduated from Indiana University.  

One of the good things that happens when you are a football person and you work on a book like Pillars is that your appreciation of the men covered becomes ever greater and you also learn to value different approaches to the game.  

There are certain similarities between some of the coaches approach to the game. For example, Bill Belichick's serious, disciplined and well organized approach to team development is an awful lot like Paul Brown's. But you learn the differences as well. Brown was extremely well organized--so much so that he did not believe in long practices and lengthy nights for his coaches. I don't think Belichick agrees with that. And today there are many head coaches like Joe Gibbs whose assistant coaches work practically non-stop in extraordinary hours in preparation. 

Both Gibbs and Bill Walsh were said to be football geniuses.  Gibbs half time adjustments were famously productive and insightful. Walsh could make an apposing coach look silly, his game plans were so effective. But Gibbs was so confident in his management abilities that he started another sports career with his NASCAR team.  Walsh thought he quit the NFL too early and then he went back to coaching Stanford, but he worked a long time on a detailed football book called Finding the Winning Edge that can only be bought for hundreds of dollars today. 

George Halas like some other NFL founding fathers had to be concerned with the health of the league practically as much as their teams.  Only the Bears and the Cardinals survived since the first meeting at Ralph Hayes Hupmobile showroom in Canton, Ohio. Halas and Curly Lambeau had similar backgrounds in that they both were running their teams with survival as a premier objective and also actively being player-coaches the first decade of the league.  The differences though were many. 

I can go on and on, but you'll just have to buy yourself a copy of Pillars of the NFL for yourself.  Chances are  you will learn some things about some of the great coaches and maybe come to appreciate more the differences in approaches and how such varied approaches can work.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Lynch Third on Edmonton Eskimos Debt Chart

Jordan Lynch of Edmonton Eskimos
Jordan Lynch has moved up on the depth chart for the Edmonton Eskimos this season.  American football fans might be surprised to hear that Lynch frequently plays on special teams.  The bigger field in Canadian football makes for a more challenging game for quarterbacks in the CFL.  Teams may need more QBs than they would normally take in the states and they make use of  backup QBs on the squad. Lynch's athleticism has been used by Edmonton on kickoffs. He has seven special teams tackles. He has also come in occassionally to run an offensive play where his running skills are acceptional.This year Lynch rushed 39 times for 155 yards and four TDs. Luynch completed 3-of-4 passes for 14 yards and a touchdown. 

Back in the United States, Lynch played quarterback at Northern Illinois University and Mount Carmel High School. Lynch's home was on the south side of Chicago in the Mount Greenwood area.  Lynch played for the Chicago Bears briefly before moving to Canada.

Sporting Chance Press is the publisher of  Sports and Faith Book II: More Stories of the Devoted and the Devout, Sports and Faith: Stories of the Devoted and the Devout, and Pillars of the NFL: Coaches Who Have Won Three or More Championships .

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Jordan Lynch Making Headway in Edmonton

The Edmonton Eskimos have a number of quarterbacks and Chicagoan, former Mount Carmel and NIU Quarterback Jordan Lynch is being used right now where they need him.  Last season Lynch had a try out with the Chicago Bears.

This interview will give you an update.


Lynch is moving up in the rooster as the Eskimos traded Matt Nichols who was second in line to Edmonton starter Mike Reilly. Reilly is a veteran player who was injured earlier this season, but appears to be preparing to come to play the team's Labor Day Classic in Calgary.
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Sporting Chance Press is the publisher of  Sports and Faith Book II: More Stories of the Devoted and the Devout, Sports and Faith: Stories of the Devoted and the Devout, and Pillars of the NFL: Coaches Who Have Won Three or More Championships by Patrick McCaskey.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Dayton Dragons v. Lake County Captains Recalls Fred Merkle in Father's Day


The Dayton Dragons are a Class A Minor League Baseball Team in the Midwest League that is affiliated with the Cincinnati Reds.  The team is famous for its fans that regularly sell-out Fifth Third Field where they play and have routinely exceeded 500,000 plus attendance.

On Father's Day, the Dragons played out a game scenario that has been repeated occasionally in much the same way for well over a hundred years. The Dragons were playing the Lake County Captains from Eastlake, Ohio, a team affiliated with the Cleveland Indians.

History

Back on September 23, 1908, the New York Giants played the Chicago Cubs in a critical game that had great importance in the Pennant race.  The game was tied at 1-1 in the last of the ninth inning and Moose McCormick was on first base for the Giants.  Young second baseman, Fred Merkle came up next and drove  one into right field along the line.  Moose lumbered to third and Merkle played it safe and stayed at first. Shortstop  Al Bridwell was  next and he managed to line one into the center field giving McCormick more than enough time to tag home for the winning run. 

Merkle was a young rookie, in fact the 19-year old was said to be the youngest player in major league baseball.  He had been riding the bench for most of the season and he knew the drill at the end of the game when the Giants played in the Polo Grounds.  In the Polo Grounds, the second a game ended, the players scurried on out to the clubhouse before the crowd flooded onto the field to make their exit through the field.  And Fred did just that.  

The only problem was that the Cubs second baseman, Johnny Evers has been making noise to home umpire Hank O'Day that a runner on base in those circumstances was  supposed to follow to the next base and safely tag the base even when the runner ahead scores.  If the runner does not tag the next base, by Rule, Rule 59 in fact, the runner could be forced out and the run negated.

Technically, Merkle should have tagged second, but the rule was rarely enforced particularly when the ball made its way out of the infield.  In the Giants-Cubs game, the play was appealed. Witnesses suggested that the actual game ball had been tossed into the stands by one of the Giants and "a ball" perhaps not the actual game ball, had been eventually thrown to second to force Merkle was called out some time after the play had ended for most everyone.   Because the fans were swarming all over the field, once the appeal was made and Hank O'Day had called Merkle out, the game could not continue. 

In 1908, baseball was truly the National Pastime and since it was before radio,  the newspapers took the story to the nation.  According to one scribe, young Fred Merle was a "Bonehead"  and in New York especially, he was raked over the fires in print.  The storm might have dissipated had the National Baseball Commissioner Harry Pulliam ruled on Merkle's behalf after the Giants appealed the ruling.  But Pulliam collected witness accounts and gave the "case" even more media attention as he "held court" and decided the issue.  

Public Bonehead, Private Hero

When the season wound down and the Giants and Cubs were tied for the Pennant at the end, it was decided that the September 23rd game was ruled a tie and would be replayed on October 8 for the Pennant.  Although Merkle did not play that day, the Giants lost the contest and the Cubs moved on.  The ridicule went on for Merkle and tragically followed him throughout his remaining career and even after his death in some cases. The whole episode and the 1908 year and baseball season is explored in Public Bonehead, Private Hero: The Real Legacy of Baseball's Fred Merkle.

 

Today

And yet what happened yesterday, suggests that in baseball, even painful lessons are sometimes forgotten.  The Dayton Dragons were facing the Lake County Captains.  Jose Ortiz singled to left field to score Gavin LaValley from third base for the 5-4 win in the 11th. In this case, Dayton first baseman Paul Kronenfeld played Merkle's role and headed down the tunnel at the end of the game along with his other teammates and the umpires.  The Lake County Team and their manager, apparently felt that Kronenfeld had not touched the base and an appeal was made.  At this point, the Dragons manager Jose Nieves believed that since the umpires had left the field, the game was effectively over and the call should have quickly confirmed the 5-4 win.  But for some reason, a call was made to the umpires' supervisor resulting in a 33 minute wait.  Eventully, the game was ruled a 5-4 victory for Dayton.

The Captains final Tweet for the game:

 The call will stand, Captains lose and officially protest the game as well. Captains fall without actually allowing the winning run, 5-4.












Friday, June 12, 2015

Mike Sanford and Indiana State Football Program


Mike Sanford

Mike Sanford, a former quarterback for the USC Trojans of the 1970s, is in his third season as head coach of the Indiana State Football program and he is making strides to turn the program around. 

Last year, the Sycamores finished with an 8-6 overall record with its first trip to the playoffs since 1984.  Sanford was named the AFCA Regional Coach Of The Year.

The Sycamores were led by quarterback Mike Perish who ended his career with school record for pass completions, attempts, yards and touchdowns.  Last year he also set a season record for touchdown pass receptions at 21. Perish graduated from Marist High School in Chicago.

The Sycamore's defensive squad was led by Connor Underwood a First Team All-MVFC performer who finished the season with 94 tackles, a school record 13.5 quarterback sacks, and 25 tackles for a loss.  Underwood is starting his senior season. Underwood lettered in football, basketball, and track at Washington Community High School.  He played for Coach Darrell Crouch.

Coming on staff with Sanford, was linebacker guru, Brian Cabral, who came over from a long coaching career from the University of Colorado. Cabral is the Associate Head Coach and Defensive Coordinator. Cabral has been one of the nations top recruiters and player developers of Polynesian players for decades. 
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Sporting Chance Press is the publisher of Pillars of the NFL, Sports and Faith: Stories of the Devoted and the Devout, and Sports and Faith Book 2: More Stories of the Devoted and the Devout by Patrick McCaskey.





Thursday, June 11, 2015

Fr. Ted Schmitt Receives Sporting Honor Posthumously



Father Ted Schmitt
The Fr. John P. Smyth Award was given to Fr. Ted Schmitt (posthumously) at the Sports Faith International Awards Ceremony at the Marriott Lincolnshire on May 24, 2015.  The Smyth Award is given annually to an outstanding Catholic athlete or coach who has chosen a  religious vocation. Fr. Ted Schmitt passed away suddenly in December of 2014.

Father Theodore (Ted) Schmitt, was ordained at St. Mary of the Lake Seminary in 2002 at age 57. He grew up in Chicago, the son of a Chicago Police Officer. He was an altar boy at St. Genevieve Grammar School and he attended DePaul Academy. He played several sports as a boy. He was inspired to consider a religious vocation by his Irish Catholic mother and parish priests. He went to St. Joseph College in Rensselaer, Indiana.

After graduation, Schmitt taught and coached football at Driscoll Catholic High School in Addison, Illinois. After studying film at Northwestern, he was employed by Universal Studios in Chicago and a vocation to the priesthood seemed millions of miles away. He worked for Universal in Chicago, New York and at Universal City, California. He was a friend to many Hollywood celebrities. He became very successful, but found that he had become a “lousy human being.” A priest helped him sort things out and he enrolled at Mundelein Seminary in his 50s. 

As a priest one of his goals was to use athletics as an evangelical tool for Catholic grammar schools, high schools and non-Catholic ones. "Athletics, done right, can be a wonderful way to grow closer to Jesus Christ.”

Father Schmitt was football chaplain at St. Patrick High School in Chicago and Nazareth Academy in LaGrange Park. Nazareth head coach Tim Racki reported Schmitt “said Masses or held prayer services before every game. We considered him part of the team." Schmitt saw Nazareth Academy recently win the Illinois 6A State Football Championship. Many said Father Schmitt played an important role in that accomplishment. He was also chaplain to the Streamwood Police and Fire Departments. He was an avid amateur boxer.

In his last assignment at St. John the Evangelist in Streamwood, he was credited with "re-energizing" the parish and was present in Washington DC as the school received the coveted Blue Ribbon Award. School officials state that with Fr. Schmitt's and other positive influences, the enrollment at the school has increased by 100.   

In December of 2014, the energetic and enthusiastic priest died unexpectedly.

For more information on the remarkable life of Father Ted Schmitt see Dolores Madlener's feature "Five Minutes with Father" in the Catholic New World.
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The Fr. John P. Smyth Award is awarded by Sports Faith International that is Chaired by Sporting Chance Press Author and Chicago Bears Director, Patrick McCaskey

Monday, June 8, 2015

Bear Wosnick Enshrined in the Sports Faith Hall of Fame

Bear Woznick was enshrined in the Sports Faith Hall of Fame on Sunday, May 24, 2015, at Marriott Lincolnshire Resort. 

Bear Woznick
Bear Woznick, like his name, is a "big surf dude, with muscles to back it up." As Masters Tandem Surfing World Champion, he has developed tandem teams and events around the world. In tandem surfing, he lifts a women over his head while he is riding on the surfboard--sometimes the woman stands his hand.

Bear's Book: Deep in the Wave
As an author Woznick shares his love for surfing and for life in Deep in the Wave. For Bear, surfing is a metaphor for life, extreme sport is an expression of living life to the fullest, living life in faith. Woznick says living recklessly is living uninspired in mediocrity. According to Bear, in tandem surfing, "the man is lifting and carving, slicing through sometimes heavy water and he is holding his partner, a woman who trusts in him athletically holding her form in perfect stillness and calmness." 

As an extreme athlete, Woznick has "Run with the Bulls" twice in Pamplona, surfed world class waves, and earned a ninja black belt. Bear says: "the wildest thing you can do is abandon yourself to God will." He encourages men to think of God's plan for their lives as one of action, he encourages men to be active for the faith and they will be more engaged in life, seeing and experiencing the beauty that God has created. 

Woznick is a popular speaker, author, and radio host. Woznick's Deep Adventure Radio show is aired on 300 stations. A rare combination of serious adventure seeker, husband, father and devout Catholic, Bear’s creed, “the most radical thing you can do in life is to abandon yourself to the wild adventure of God’s will,” dynamites an opening in men’s souls to the possibilities that God has for them. A rare combination of serious adventure seeker, husband, father and devout Catholic, Bear’s creed, “the most radical thing you can do in life is to abandon yourself to the wild adventure of God’s will,” dynamites an opening in men’s souls to the possibilities that God has for them. 

Sporting Chance Press author Patrick McCaskey is chairman of Sports Faith International, an initiative that honors athletes who live exemplary lives. Sports Faith International looks to inspire and transform the current sports culture though media initiatives that feature and encourage faith based living. McCaskey is Senior Director of the Chicago Bears.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Painless Father's Day Shopping at the Christian Shop

Chicago Bears Senior Director Patrick McCaskey will be signing his new book, Sports and Faith Book 2 just in time for Father's Day at the Christian Shop tomorrow, Saturday June 6, 2015 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.  The Christian Shop is located at 325 E. Dundee Rd. in Palatine, IL. McCaskey will also be signing Pillars of the NFL: Coaches Who Have Won Three or More Championships, his encyclopedic look at the great coaches in NFL history. So if you are looking for a great Father's Day gift, here's you chance!

Sports and Faith 2
Sports and Faith Book: More Stories of the Devoted and the Devout includes stories of current professionals like Jeremy Lin and Josh McCown, and legends like Stan “the Man” Musial and Bob Cousy.  Spotlighted are teams such as Bob Ladouceur’s De La Salle squad portrayed in the motion picture “When the Game Stands Tall.”  The author spends time with benevolent Tom Monaghan and faith-based institutions like Notre Dame, Ave Maria University, and Belmont Abbey College. The author dives into a few Bible stories and he reveals some McCaskey history.  Humorous poems, which the author is famous for delivering, are included.  

Sports and Faith Book: More Stories of the Devoted and the Devout takes on some sad developments—the recent tragedy in Kabul where Dr. Jerry Umanos and John and Gary Gabel were killed in cold blood. Also examined is the Washington Illinois tornado and the people who remediated the suffering. Burke Masters (featured on cover), Matthew Lightner, and Grant Desme—three promising athletes who decided on a role of lifetime service are spotlighted. McCaskey recalls the stories of those who strove to make the cut on and off the field. 

Pillars of the NFL

Pillars of the NFL: Coaches Who Have Won Three or More Championships is an encyclopedic story of the NFL and it's greatest coaches, written at just a level of detail that makes it readable and enjoyable, but not overwhelming.  Dan can pick and chose the coaches he wants to read about or he can read the book cover-to-cover.  The 10 greatest coaches of the NFL are Halas, Lombardi, Noll, Belichick, Walsh, Gibbs, Chamberlin, Brown, Ewbank, and Lambeau.  

Now's your chance to get these books signed by Patrick McCaskey of the Chicago Bears. And if you can't make it on Saturday, call and order your signed copy for pickup later:

 (847) 991-8994

Sports and Faith Book 2 is the second in the Sports and Faith Series which began in 2011 with publication of Sports and Faith: Stories of the Devoted and the Devout published by Sporting Chance Press.  Patrick McCaskey is a Senior Director with the Chicago Bears and Chairman of Sports Faith International, an initiative that recognizes athletes, coaches, and administrators who lead exemplary lives.  McCaskey is also Chairman of WSFI Catholic Radio 98.5 FM which airs in portions of northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin and can also be found online. 

 

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Grayslake Public Library Offers Patrick McCaskey Presentation

Grayslake Public Library
Patrick McCaskey, director of the Chicago Bears and author of "Pillars of the NFL: Coaches Who Have Won Three or More Championships," will share stories about the most legendary coaches the game has seen at 7 p.m., May 28 at Grayslake Public Library. 

McCaskey will also discuss the Bears and his family's long connection with the NFL.  He will also highlight the story of the Chicago Bears, including his family's football roots. A question-and-answer period will follow the presentation. Tickets are required and available at the Adult Reference Desk.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Bears Draft Kevin White

The Bears picked the 6-foot-3, 210-pound Kevin White from West Virginia last night with their number 7 pick in the first round of the 2015 draft.   After transferring from Lackawanna College in Scranton, Pennsylvania, White played at West Virginia, but he learned some lessons along the way.  

White was red-shirted in his first year with the Lackawanna Falcons  and then because of problems with financial aid paperwork, he sat out another year before he actually played for Head Football Coach Mark Duda.  His coach helped ground White and the athlete has a fondness for the school as was evidenced by his recent pre-draft visit.  During White's visit, he said: “Coach Grande (Assistant Coach) and Coach Duda are strict on grades. One thing that Coach Grande said was that I could serve a Slurpee at 7-Eleven or I could own it. That stuck with me for a long time."

White left the school which is "said" to be down the road from The Office Dunder Mifflin Paper Company.  And like the Office, Lackawanna College has a lot of fans as it successfully turns out a large number of students who like White, go on the big college programs.  

According to Head Football Coach Mark Duda: "The goal of a great two-year college football program (at Lackawanna College) is to successfully recruit young men and take on the responsibility to do what our program can to prepare and help young student athletes to move on to a four-year institution. Seeing these players commit to a NCAA institution to continue their college educational and playing career is a source of great pride and satisfaction to our coaching staff."

At West Virginia, in his final season, white had 109 receptions for 1,447 yards and 10 touchdowns.  Most analysts believe that he will contribute immediately to the Bears efforts this year.
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Sporting Chance Press is the publisher of Pillars of the NFL: Coaches Who Have Won Three or More Championships.



Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Bill Dana's Story in Sports and Faith Book 2

Bill Dana and Danny Thomas
Bill Dana had his own program, “The Bill Dana Show,”from 1963 to 1965 and it was rerun on the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) in glorious black and white in the 1980s. Dana’s real name is William Szathmary; he was born in Quincy, Massachusetts, on October 5, 1924. Dana’s father, who came from Hungary at the age of 14, did real estate work until the stock market crash in 1929. Dana never knew luxury; in fact, when he went into the service during World War II, he couldn’t believe he was receiving free food.

Dana was the youngest of six (he had four brothers and one sister). While a student at Daniel Webster Grammar School, his teacher said to him one day, “Szathmary, you’re a buffoon.” He replied, “Let’s keep religion out of this.”

The Szathmary family was fairly ecumenical. They were Jewish, but were raised with Catholics. Dana knew the Stations of the Cross, and he used his knowledge of Catholicism in his humor:
“During the ceremony where novitiates become Brides of Christ (Religious Sisters), the bishop noticed an Orthodox Jewish man praying loudly. Not being able to conquer his curiosity, the bishop had to stop the ceremony long enough to ask the man, ‘Sir, I realize you are not a Catholic. I must ask you why you are here at this marriage of our Lord to these novitiates?’“
 
The old man answered with a lovely, Jewish accent, ‘I’m on the groom’s side.’”
— Bill Dana

Dana had a long career in comedy, as both a writer and comedian.  He is one of the McCaskey's favorite stars. 

Monday, April 27, 2015

Sports and Faith Book 2: More Stories of the Devoted and the Devout Takes a Look at Bob Cousy


 Sports and Faith Book 2: More Stories of the Devoted and the Devout takes a Look at Bob Cousy and many other stars.
The Boston Celtics were not a very good basketball team before  Bob Cousy arrived from Holy Cross in 1950.  Cousy became the most beloved athlete in Boston. The “Houdini of the Hardwood” was a great ball-handler, passer, and shooter. He was only 6-foot-1, but he had speed and quickness, great peripheral vision, big hands, and long arms. He played for the Celtics from 1950-1963 and during that time he led the league in assists for eight years in a row and played in six championship seasons. His record breaking 28 assists in a single game that he set in 1959 held until 1978 when Kevin Porter got 29. He scored 16,960 points in his career—an average of 18.4 per game. He had 6,959 assists—an average of 7.5 per game.  He averaged 5.2 rebounds per game and he held an .803 foul shooting percentage.   
Cousy was an NBA All-Star every season he played and was named the All-Star Game Most Valuable Player in 1954 and 1957. He was named the NBA Most Valuable Player in 1957. His play excited the Boston fans and the city developed a taste for the game. His 50 point performance in a playoff win against Syracuse in 1953 made an impression on fans that they simply never forgot. He went 30–32 at the free throw line and scored 12 points in the game’s fourth overtime period.
His behind the- back dribbling and passing punctuated his approach that was part showman, part street ball, but all explosive.

Thought from St. Benedict

 
Sports and Faith Book 2: More Stories of the Devoted and the Devout will be available in mid-to-late May.  In the book, Patrick McCaskey includes religious quotes that go along with the content.  This is one quote that I though especially helpful:
 
Not to desire to be called holy before one is; but to be
holy first, that one may be truly so called.
To fulfill daily the commandments of God by works.
To love chastity. To hate no one. Not to be jealous; not
to entertain envy. Not to love strife.
Not to love pride. To honor the aged. To love the younger.
To pray for one’s enemies in the love of Christ. To make peace with an adversary before the setting of the sun. And never to despair of God’s mercy.
— Rule of St. Benedict

Friday, April 24, 2015

What was the Hupmobile?

Some football fans know that the original organizing meeting that started what would become the NFL was at Ralph Hay's Jordan Hupmobile Showroom.  But what was the Jordan and the Hupmobile?



Hupmobile
On September 17, 1920, George Halas and a group of men met at Ralph Hay’s Jordon Hupmobile car showroom in Canton, Ohio.  Ralph Hay owned the Canton Bulldogs and he knew several other team owners.  While sitting on the bumpers and running boards of the Jordan and Hupmobile cars, they organized the league that we call the NFL today.  Chances are you have not heard of the Hupmobile and the Jordan car makers that long ago went out of business. 

Hupmobile was manufactured by the Hupp Motor Car Company, from 1908-1941. The company was started by Robert Hupp in Detroit.  His first car was a little two passenger Runabout.  The car company was fairly successful and many Hupmobiles followed and their offerings grew from two passenger vehicles, to three, and four.  A tour took a four passenger touring model around the world in 1910-1912.  In 1916, another Hupmobile, made a trip though all 48 states.  The company continued through much of the Depression and had a labor dispute that led to no new models being manufactured in 1937.  A promising new Skylark debuted in 1939, but the company ended it car manufacturing 1940.  The company continued to manufacture parts for the war effort in the 1940s and made parts for other companies as well.  It morphed into a manufacturer of parts for appliances, heating and cooling equipment and other industrial parts until it disappeared in the 1990s.

The Jordan had a shorter life than the Hupmobile and lasted from 1916-1931. The company was found by an advertising executive in Cleveland, Ned Jordan.  Jordan made his vehicles from parts assembled by other companies and his advertising was a driving force behind his company.  He offered cars in an attractive variety of colors with models like the Playboy and Tomboy.   His advertising was whimsical and took car buyers to beautiful locations in ads that ran in the Saturday Review Magazine.