Category: Dallas Stars (Page 1 of 4)

Sports Joy

Baseball season has begun and the Rangers have a cool new logo to promote this as their 50th Anniversary Season. I love the logo because it incorporates the old cowboy hat from their very first logo in 1972, still my favorite Rangers logo of all time. Never mind that this is the Rangers’ 51st season – the Cowboys pulled the same math miscalculation in 2010 with their 50th anniversary patch during their 51st season, and nobody seems to care. It’s a neat little design that highlights a milestone moment for a beloved baseball team.

And it’s probably going to be the highlight of the season.

This is still the same ol’ Rangers. What other team can average seven runs per game and still be 1-3? What other team can be up 7-0 in the 4th inning and lose 10-8? What other team places its ace starting pitcher on the injured list with a finger blister three innings into Opening Day? What other team loses in extra innings on an overturned illegal slide video replay call from New York City?

I watch and cheer for the Rangers mostly out of duty. They’re my team. I’ve been with them for all fifty years. Rooting for the red dot in three stadiums. “It’s baseball time in Texas!” Sunny, Pudge, and Chad Krueter. Feliz versus A-Rod. Nellie Cruz’s drop. Chan Ho Park. Expectations are low and nobody gets hurt. It’s an obligation for me. There’s not a ton of joy.

Over the past couple of months, I have become really excited for the Mavericks and their sure-to-be deep playoff run that starts this weekend. They have the second best record in the NBA since January 1 and they’re playing as well as anybody in the league. They’ve secured home court advantage for the opening round of the postseason for the first time since they won it all back in 2011. And they’re not facing the Clippers! I’ve been enthusiastically following this team and looking forward to these playoffs for weeks.

But Luka strained his calf in the second half of the season finale Sunday night and he’s questionable for Saturday’s tip-off against the Jazz. If he can’t go, this is a quick series and it’s one-and-done, again, for the little Mavericks. That excitement is now gone.

The Stars are barely hanging on, backing into their NHL playoff spot via the wild card. Hard to get too excited about that.

My sports hope this spring and summer is in the Midland RockHounds. They will be my sports joy. The AA affiliate of the Oakland A’s and our new hometown team plays their home opener tonight against Corpus Christi and we’re there. They are also celebrating their 50th anniversary season with updated logos, featuring a more anatomically correct Rocky the Hound and including a cool paw print made up of five drops of oil. They’re off to a 2-1 start after opening the season on the road in Amarillo, atop the standings in the Texas League South Division.

We show up early, we wear the gear, we cheer for the players by first name, we toss dollar bills when they hit homeruns, and we always have a great time. I can get pretty excited about that.

Peace,

Allan

What If?

Prediction: Stars lose tonight. The Dallas Stars are off to the best start in ten years, not just in the win-loss column, but in several other categories, too. The Stars’ power play and penalty kill are both on an NHL record pace. Dallas has scored nine power play goals in their first three games with a league-leading 56.3% scoring rate. And Joe Pavelski and John Klingbert are killing it at both ends of the ice.

But they lose tonight. This evening at home against Detroit, Dallas will debut their new alternate sweater and uniform and it is hideous. They’re calling it “Blackout,” but it looks like something out of Tron. Black is the primary color and the trim is called “Skyline Green” to match the neon tubes that outline the legendary 72-story Bank of America Plaza (InterFirst Plaza a long time ago) building in downtown Dallas. On a hockey player, it looks more like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle green. They’re not as bad as the alternate unis and logos they suffered through for two seasons back in 2003-2005 . But they will lose tonight with these awful sweaters and they will become a jinx for this club. They’re too gimmicked up. They don’t look real. It looks like something out of an energy drink commercial.  They won’t be able to win in these things. Starting tonight.

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Ten months into the global pandemic and counting, the national surveys and polls show that the people around us are searching for what’s significant and lasting. They’re looking for something solid and dependable and real. Transitioning now into the post-pandemic future, they’re seeking what’s trustworthy and true. The people you’re running into every day are disappointed, disillusioned, and divided; but they’re open to something different. They want an answer to everything that’s gone wrong; they’re looking for a solution to everything that’s broken. That way, that truth, that life is our Lord Jesus Christ and you’ve got him! And the time is right now to make him known to our desperate and dying world.

Your life, your words, your attitude can be the walking, talking proof that good overcomes evil. You can show people that love is greater than hate, that unity is more fun than division, that peace is far more effective than violence, and that forgiveness always beats revenge.

What if you and I remained calm when the people around us are anxious and demanding? Everything is turned up so loud right now, what would it mean to others if you were quiet and calm? I think it would be noticed.

What if you and I spoke with humility and grace? Instead of saying things so other people will like you or approve of you, what if you only said things that were encouraging to others and built others up? That kind of language would really stick out.

What if you and I tried to love everybody? What if we were known for how kind and graciously we treated others, even when we disagree? Wouldn’t that get people’s attention?

And what if we committed to that right now? Instead of being paralyzed by what we’ve lost in the past or stuck while we wait for the conditions to be perfect later, what if we committed to seizing the opportunities all around us right now? Opportunity is not something that happens at a dim distance somewhere in the future; opportunity is what you and I have right in front of us today!

Here’s our new normal: the virus and the political and social chaos have laid us bare. We’ve been cooped up in our homes with our broken habits for months and it’s revealed to us that our lives, this country, and the world are in more trouble than we thought. The folks around us know right now, more than they’ve ever known in their lives, that the answers cannot be found in government, science, technology, or in just trying harder. They’re looking for the way, the truth, the life right now more than they ever have. And you’ve got that in Jesus Christ!

The new normal is not to be feared. It is to be embraced and engaged as God’s time and place for something beautiful and eternal and new. What if right now you committed to living in a way that points others to what and who they need the most?

Peace,

Allan

Thoughts and Prayers

Only one team in NHL history has ever come from down three games to one in the Stanley Cup Final to win the championship.

The Toronto Maple Leafs in 1942.

So, you’re telling me there’s a chance!

Go, Stars.
Allan

Stars Cash In on Vegas!

Lord Stanley, here we come!

The Dallas Stars beat Vegas last night in a wild come-from-behind overtime thriller to advance to the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time in twenty years! NHL playoff hockey is by far the most exciting thing in sports and the Stanley Cup is truly the most difficult trophy to win. But after scoring three unanswered goals against the top-seeded Golden Knights, the Stars are four wins away.

You can’t help but fall in love with this grinding, never-day-die, team of destiny. They changed coaches in the middle of the season, they’re playing with a backup goalie who had never started a postseason game before this season, and they’ve got more playoff goals from a minor-league call-up than from their leading scorer. Alex Radulov plays with such determination, Jamie Benn seems to be everywhere, the defensemen are scrapping and scoring like the Stars teams of the late ’90s, and Khudobin is absolutely standing on his head in net. This team is never out of it — so fun to watch.

It’s not too late to get on the Stars bandwagon. Just don’t shave until they get four more wins.

Peace,

Allan

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