Sunday, August 19, 2018

The Dodger's Challenge ≠ Kershaw's Challenge

Dodgers fans must be scratching their heads. This team, one that most MLB fans expect to win the National Leauge (at least the NL West) is third in their division, two games behind the Arizona Diamondbacks, and a half game behind the Colorado Rockies. Between a teammate like Yasiel Puig and a loss on Saturday night to the Mariners in an extra-inning walk-off balk (you have to read it to believe it) they certainly have their challenges. Their best pitcher Clayton Kershaw is, however, not one of them.
Today, the three-time Cy Young award winner earned his 150th win. He is 6-5 on the season (sustained a lower back strain earlier this year) with an ERA of 2.47. Though it is a challenge for me to find much good in anything Dodger blue, I have to admit I look forward to teaching about this 6'4 lefty whose fastball challenges most batters. Here's why.

Kershaw's Twitter profile reveals a person who lives and loves Sports and Spirituality.
Underneath his name/number are but two items: 
Colossians 3:23 and a website address:
The Bible passage to which Kershaw refers is a letter from St. Paul addressed to a congregation at Colossae in the Lycus Valley in Asia Minor, east of Ephesus. Colossians 3:23 says: Whatever you do, do from the heart, as for the Lord and not for others. Beautiful. Why? Because what the Lord asks of us to do for Him, cannot be but for the good of all creation.

Since 2011, Kershaw's Challenge, his foundation has sought "to serve vulnerable and at-risk children living in Los Angeles, Dallas, Zambia and the Dominican Republic. Our goal is to partner with organizations that are committed to this as well and work alongside them on specific projects to make life better for children." I love that they work in the city where he grew up: Dallas, the city where he now works: Los Angeles, and two places abroad. And yet, his philanthropy is not separate from his faith, but rather, a result of it. Their mission statement reveals 
Kershaw’s Challenge is a faith-based, others-focused organization. We exist to encourage people to use whatever God-given passion or talent they have to make a difference and give back to people in need. We want to empower people to use their spheres of influence to impact communities positively and to expand God’s Kingdom. We believe that God can transform at-risk children and neighborhoods through the benevolence and impact of others.
I have one friend—just one!!!— who is a Dodger fan. He pointed out that the prayer Clayton Kerhaw offers everyday is a good one. It's not challenging either. It's one we can and should all say. He prays,  "Lord, whatever happens, be with me." I don't doubt that Kershaw offers the same daily prayer whether he is on the mound or working with the young people his foundation serves. And to me, that's the joy of Sports and Spirituality.

NB: I'd rather just give to his foundation, but I have to admit, these shirts are nice!
Photo Credits
CK Pitching

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