The 6th man

March 6, 2008

I received news yesterday that has really got me thinking. Please allow me to elaborate.

Before I go into my news, let me just say that one of the things that really inspires me is the 6th man.  For those of you who are not big sports fans, the 6th man is the basketball term for the man or woman who does not start, and is not necessarily the biggest “star player” on the team, but they frequently come in and assert their importance in the way they play their role.  That role may be a 3 pointer, or rebounding, or blocked shots, or even scoring field goals (not through the uprights), but there is no doubt that they a)make a huge impact and b)are in the game for a very specific task.

Some examples of great 6th men are Kevin McHale, Bill Walton, Dennis Rodman (pre-skirt days), Leandro Barbosa, and others who I will no doubt be chastised for forgetting.

So yesterday I received some news that a close friend of my family had been diagnosed with lung cancer.  His name is Bob.  Bob lives in Fremont, Ohio. 

Bob is an amazing guy who always has a smile on his face.  Bob and his wife Judy helped out in the youth group at our church growing up.  They were not the youth pastors, but their impact was widespread.  They invited teens into their home and let them play and eat and hang out and be kids, and never asked anything of them.

If you needed to talk, Bob was there.
If you needed a hand fixing your new “used” red Pontiac 1000 (honestly, it wasn’t a chevette), Bob was there.
If you needed a ride when the 1000 broke down, Bob was there.
If the youth group needed a place to hang out and play games, Bob was there.
If the youth pastor needed a task to be done, there was no doubt that Bob was there.  Probably smiling.

Bob was never the star, but he was always accomplishing his role – the task God had given him to accomplish in his life during that time.  It was a great lesson for the son of a pastor in a small town in Ohio who would eventually become a pastor himself, but not before sitting in an assistant position for 10 years.  It was a great lesson for me.

Not everyone is the “star”, but the truly special people of this world are the ones who are not, yet shine brighter than everyone else.  This story reminds me of a story that Buddy told about a “6th man” in his church in New York.

Who has been an example of the stellar “6th” man in your life?

Until next time…

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Day of Encouragement

March 4, 2008

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Perhaps you’ve had one recently…Perhaps not.  Mine was the last 24 hours.  It was interesting because it had been a long weekend and I was tired.  There had been a few ups and a lot of downs. 

Without going into details about what the ups and the downs were, I think I was just tired, and so the downs were highlighted in my mind.  It wasn’t a bad weekend.  It was just a hard one.  Maybe you’ve had one of those before?

And then it happened, starting yesterday morning.

Someone wrote me an email that was so encouraging, it could have, by itself, put a smile on my face for the rest of the day.  But it wasn’t by itself.
A short while later, someone called my cell and left an incredibly encouraging voice mail.  Then I received a facebook wall comment that was encouraging while I was playing basketball last night. (My team won by the way, 48-38, with yours truly putting up 12.) 

I went to bed smiling and had a great night’s sleep, which is not unusual for me, I sleep quick and good on a typical night.  But this morning, I received a comment on this blog that was, once again, incredibly encouraging.

So I start off this day with the anticipation of readiness for a long, adventurous week, but armed with a little help from people who have communicated to me how much they appreciate me.

So I wonder who needs some encouragement today from me…from you?

Until next time…

Sunday Morning Recap 15

March 3, 2008

Sunday, Sunday, Sunday, it’s time for the Sunday morning recap at Fellowship Church.  Billy already gave his here.  Here are some thoughts I had about my weekend at Fellowship Church.

*I attended a benefit dinner for Hearts for Heat this weekend.  Hearts for Heat is a ministry of Fellowship Church, and is doing an amazing job of providing oil for people in Worcester County.
*I ate with Massachusetts State Rep. Lew Evangelidis at the dinner.  Turns out he plays in my basketball league.  We haven’t played against one another yet, but when we do…
*Saturday we helped the Dancy’s move into Holden.  The team is coming together and the future of FC looks great!
*After that, I was sore.
*It’s amazing how when things fall apart, like in music practice or whatever, that God comes through and gets us past it.
*We are only a few weeks away from our Easter service, where we’ll all find out how to vote.  Should be a great service.
*Billy made some hilarious confessional videos for the service yesterday.  There was a lot of laughter, specifically at the last one when he was jamming out to Feist.
*Totally psyched about the guitar hero championships next Saturday at “The FC.”  Played for the first time in 2 months yesterday against Carie.  Gonna need to practice this week.
*I confessed that there are times I don’t think I can do the thing God has called me to do.
*Yes, I really did fail my broadcasting platform, and yes, then I did graduate with a real degree after working my tail off on learning how to talk.
*Yes, this was Moses’ problem too.
*No, I don’t doubt that I made the right decision to stay at Fellowship. 
*Were you inspired to find out what God’s vision is for your life?
*I love Fellowship Church in Holden!
*Have a basketball game tonight.  Pray for me that I don’t injure myself, and that some state rep for Mass. doesn’t injure me in any great way.
*My dad just called me and told me that his attendance at church yesterday was 800!  Go Hillcrest!

How are you doing?  Anything I can do for you?

Until next time…

The Ramblings of Marty

February 28, 2008

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Although rambling rarely gets me anywhere, this morning will be more of a rambling post, because I have so much on my mind.

We’ll start our morning with a shout out to my Savior Jesus Christ, who loved me with amazing love and grace, and proved that love by taking the penalty for my sins by sacrificing himself as an atonement for the world.  I have believed and trusted (and failed many times over), and so this motivates me to do all of the things I do, including blog.

Also, yesterday, I was privileged enough to be on this list of growing blogs in WordPress.  I’m not on the list today yet, but I was yesterday, and that was pretty cool.  Thanks to those who read my blog and gain some value from the thoughts that flow through my head.

I wanted to give a shout out to two new friends who blog.  I’ve wanted to do this for a week now, but every day I’ve forgotten in the daily grind of things.  But you should really check out Steve and Garrett’s blogs.  They don’t blog on a daily basis yet, but when they do blog, it’s usually pretty interesting.

Last night my basketball team played a make up game.  It was the first game Carie was able to attend.  As you may recall, our team now has been beaten by 40 points, 20 points and in this post, 1 point.  Our team rallied around one another last night to win in an impressive 11 point game.

I say it was because of Carie.

My friend, Scott put in his usual 15 points, along with an impressive 3 pointer as the opposing team was attempting a comeback in the start of the 2nd half.  I chipped in 13 points, but with the addition of a really tall new guy who didn’t have a great shot but was a great presence in the middle, I was able to play the role of a shooting forward instead of a power forward, which you might say is not my calling.

So we won 46-35!

This weekend will be another great time at Fellowship Church.  I’m excited about what God is doing here on a regular basis, and this week will be Al’s first week being here two weeks in a row.  Woohoo!

Last week we announced that we will be combining our services for Easter Sunday, so be aware Fellowshippers that we’ll have one service at 10:30 am for Easter!  We’ll be announcing our new theme for this year that day as well!

Yesterday I took part in Watercooler Wednesday, an event you might want to look into if you enjoy blogging and culture.  It’s the brain child (I believe) of my new friend Randy Elrod, and it was a lot of fun to check out. I’ll be a regular at the cooler, Randy.

So my mind is now empty for the most part.  This afternoon, I’ll be sharing an idea we’ll be using for our Easter series for the purpose of utilizing and helping someone’s personal vision and potential.  I’ll post it around 2 pm.

Until next time…

The last shot, part 2

February 26, 2008

So I decided to write the story and show a different video this afternoon. 
So here’s the end of “the last shot.”

As you might recall, the ball was inbounded with 6.1 seconds left.  I grabbed the ball thinking that I would dish it off and decided instead to heave it to the basket from about 4 feet past the 3 point line.  It fell just short, clanging off the rim, and I ran towards the ball.  The ball flew toward my teammate Tim, who was guarded on all sides, and threw it back to me.

I shot the ball, and the ball fell through the hoop without even the slightest of touch to the metal.  If the net had a wider mouth, it would have gone through without touching the fabric too.  We jumped up in celebration.  And I was a hero once again!

But my foot had been on the line.  Which meant that the shot did not count for three points, it counted for two points.  And we lost 41-40.

So enjoy this video.  It’s 5 minutes, and you have to watch the 5 minutes to get the full effect, but I do admit that I laughed as hard as I’ve laughed in a while.  Thanks to Ragamuffin Soul for sharing this with me and his readers.  The funny thing is that I’ve sat under preaching that’s not too different from this.  Amazing!  Enjoy and have a great night!

The last shot

February 26, 2008

Yesterday’s lively discussion about the Link was great, and I’m pumped about some great ideas we now have for the future of this amazing event.
Billy had some thoughts on the service and the Link you might want to check out.

And now, an interesting story.  Yesterday afternoon Carie and I had some extra time, so we hung out and chilled.  It was a great time!  We went out together because I had a basketball game in the evening.  After our mini-date, I headed for home to get changed and go play some basketball for my team that has been beaten by 40 and 20. (But we’re getting progressively better). 

The game started out as both of the others had, with the other team not being able to miss, and our team not being able to place the orange spherical object in the horizontal metal hole.  But slowly but surely, our team came together, and we began to dominate post play, which really helped our guards get out on their shooters and they were shutdown from about 5 minutes left in the first half until about 10 minutes were left in the game.

The problem was we still couldn’t hit a good amount of our shots, and so the game remained close after we had come back from an 11 point deficit.  One of the brighter spots in our game was the awakening of my good friend Scott Herzig.

The man became on fire, draining layups and 3 pointers in a beautiful display of basketball marksmanship not yet seen by our team this year.  Our low post guys, myself included, communicated and did a great job keeping the ball out of the middle for easy shots, then when our guards shut down their 1 or maybe 2 shooters, life was good.

We went up by 3 with 2 minutes left in the game, then we forgot how to win, because we continually gave the ball back so they could attempt to get some shots off and foul shots.  We did this by means of travelling, fouling, turning the ball over, and (yours truly) grabbing the ball and allowing it to slip out of our hands and to the other team. 

Eventually we found ourselves in a position where we were down by 3 points with 6 seconds to go,and all of their 6 points were from foul shots (though they missed about 10 during the same time period).  I was totally reminded of this story.

The ball was inbounded to me at half court, and I was going to pass it off to Scott, who no doubt would have put the ball in the hole to win, but he was well-covered.  So I took the shot from about 4 steps past the 3-point line and with about 4 seconds on the clock. The shot was just short and I ran inside to help with the rebound.  This was unnecessary however as the rebound went to Tim, my teammate, who lobbed it back out to me.

I had no clue how much time was on the clock, so I dribbled, took a step back, and launched what would be the last shot of the game. 

This afternoon on my afternoon video blog, I’ll tell you what happened.

tca-ballers.jpg  I’m the tall one in the middle.  My best friend in high school, Clay, is the second to the right on the front row.  This year, our team went 18-3. Good times!

TCA Cheerleaders The Cheerleaders at my high school.  Someone had put this on a facebook account.  Holy early 90’s!

  tca-jh.jpg  Let the “Wonder Years” jokes begin.  January, 1988

Until next time… < The last shot, part 2

Holy Cross Women

Last night, Carie convinced me to go with her to the mall to pick up some curtains for the house.  This action was definitely going to make me late for the game I was supposed to be attending that evening.  First of all, my game was cancelled because of weather.  I was supposed to be playing an 8:50 pm game in Rutland.  So because of that, I decided to go see the Holy Cross womans team play Army.  It was #1 verses #1, and they were playing to see who was still going to have that title.

Brian Wilson attends Fellowship Church and is an assistant coach of the Holy Cross team, so occasionally I’ll go watch some games.  They say if you want to know how to play basketball the right way, go watch a women’s Div. 1 game.  So last night I did, but Carie and I showed up late.

I listened up til halftime on the local radio station that broadcasts the games, and the Crusaders (HC) were down by 6, having been down by as much as 9 earlier in the game.  They were like 6 for 23 near the half.  When we finally walked in the Hart Center, the Crusaders had taken a one point lead and the fight was on in the 2nd half.

Back and forth the two teams fought.  A 3 pointer here. A layup there.  Foul shot after foul shot.  I was really impressed with the quality of play of both teams in the 2nd half, on both sides of the ball (For you who aren’t real big sports fans, that means offensively and defensively).

For a while, from about 5 minutes to go, until about 2 minutes to go, the scoring was scarce.  I began to notice a disturbing trend, however, on the HC side of the ball.  They held a 5 point lead for several minutes toward the end, and they could have built that lead up, except they kept missing their free throws at the end of the game.

Finally, Army took a lead with (check this out) 0.6 seconds left in the game.  Time Out – Holy Cross.

The ball was on the sideline after the timeout, and both teams began to move.  Holy Cross with the picks and Army with the defense.  On the far side of the court, Ashley McLaughlin set a back pick for Laura Aloisi, who moved toward the basket.  The person inbounding the ball threw what appeared at first to be an overthrown ball to McLaughlin, but in reality, was a picture perfect, Tom Brady (pre-superbowl) like pass to Aloisi, who happened to be right in front of the basket.

Now games like this often make me think back to days of yesteryear, when I was lighter of foot.  And I was reminded of this game in 8th grade, when our junior high team was playing a team that we always liked to beat.  We were down by 5 one particular game with 14 seconds to go when I dribbled the ball down the court, and shot a successful 3 pointer with 3 seconds to go to only be down by 2.

We took a time out and everyone congratulated me, and it was all good, right?  So we planned this amazing defense and went out to the court.

The problem…I thought we were down by 3.

On the inbound pass, the passer, threw it immediately to me in the center of the key, and all I had to do to tie the game was go up (wide open) for a layup. But since we were down by 3 (or so I thought), I dribbled out to the 3 point line.  Actually, I walked out to the 3 point line, and got called for travelling. Game over.  Thanks for your help Marty.

Back to the Holy Cross game.

Aloisi had momentum.  A lot of momentum.  Too much momentum. So when she grabbed the Tom Brady-like pass, she had a wide open layup that she threw up into the air, and the ball hit the back of the rim and bounced on to the other side.  No good. Game over.

I felt so bad for her and the team.  For the most part, this was their chance to play in the big dance in March.

But the beautiful part of any sporting event and competition is this:  It’s really not the end of the world, its only the end of the game.  And tomorrow there will be another one.  And in that, who knows?  Maybe the ball will not have so much momentum and wil drop in instead of going long…

Or perhaps I won’t get called for traveling.

Until next time…