South Park – North Park – Golden Hill

Monday, June 24, 2013

Pastorgraphs: “A House Un-Divided”

E-Vangel Newsletter
June 24, 2013

Pastorgraphs: “A House Un-Divided”

There are few households with as close loyalties between UCLA and Mississippi State as ours. As improbable as it seems, the Bulldogs and Bruins are playing for the College World Series Championship. First pitch in Game One is 5:00 PM Pacific Time today. The first team to win two games takes the trophy back to either Starkville or Westwood. If the Bulldogs win, it will be their first National Championship in ANY sport. If UCLA wins, it will be their 109th.

This year marks my 50th year as a Bulldog fan. The early 1960s were exciting times to be a State fan, playing the likes of Adolph Rupp’s Kentucky Wildcats and Bear Bryant’s Alabama Crimson Tide. That was when my older brother Norman enrolled at Mississippi State and took me to my first college football game in 1964 (MSU vs. Florida – Steve Spurrier was Florida’s quarterback). I was hooked, and have remained so for half a century, although not as avidly as in the past. (I’m mellowing in my old age.) I can now pull for UCLA and even Ole Miss – when they are NOT playing the Bulldogs. Two brothers and most of my nearest relatives attended State. For the record, I graduated from Delta State, but always sided with the underdogs from Starkville who managed to eke out one major upset a year that kept me a fan through some otherwise lackluster seasons.

When my brother-in law Kimo Shearin (photo) retired after twenty years as a Paratrooper with the 82rd Airborne, jumping out of planes over Iraq and Afghanistan, he fulfilled a lifelong dream and enrolled at UCLA, where he graduated with honors, and is now completing his Master’s degree. Because Kimo works part-time with the UCLA Athletic Department, I have been able to attend UCLA games in football (at the Rose Bowl), basketball (John Wooden Classic), and baseball (Jackie Robinson Field), as well as a Lady Bruin’s volleyball game in which the daughter of my Yazoo City High School classmate, James “Mac” McGraw, was the UCLA team captain (and best player).

Kimo and I attended what we believed would be the ONLY game between our two favorite schools ever (in any sport) back in December 2009. That’s when the photo was taken. MSU was invited to play UCLA in the John Wooden Classic in Anaheim. No way were we going to miss that! Highlight of that game was when we learned 99-year old Coach John Wooden was in the press box. What an honor to be in the same arena with a living legend. The Bulldogs caught the Bruins on a bad rainy day, and managed a win. Kimo and I survived that rivalry, and we will survive this one, too.

So when we sit down to watch the first pitch, we will be loyal to our teams, proud that both these unlikely finalists have made it to the big stage in Omaha. UCLA is scrappy, and can win games with only one or two runs. State has more gun powder and great pitching, and has been able to “stay loose” amid the high pressure of the College World Series. It should be fun to watch.

So is there a spiritual side to this E-Vangel? Glad you asked! A couple weeks ago, Anita’s sister Brenda sent a link to an inspiring story about the Bulldog baseball team. It is the story of how Matt Jolley became the chaplain of the MSU baseball team. You may read the story at this link:  Matt’s journey of faith is quite inspiring in itself. But how his persistence has led to a spiritual awakening among the Bulldog team (first one or two players, then four, then eight and then the coaches) is very uplifting. And no, I don’t think God has any favorites in this series. I suspect a few prayers will be going up from the Bruin’s locker room, too. But the story is worth reading.

So regardless of the outcome, our divided house will stand. We are very proud of our ties to Mississippi State and UCLA and the legacy both great institutions have in our family.

Bless you all, Bill Jenkins

From the Quote Garden:
“Material possessions, winning scores, and great reputations are meaningless in the eyes of the Lord, because He knows what we really are and that is all that matters.”
~ John Wooden ~
Christ United Methodist Ministry Center
“Christ in the Heart of San Diego”
3295 Meade Avenue - San Diego, CA 92116 - (619) 284-9205

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