Monday, February 17, 2014

Announcing More Than A Game
From the very outset, let it be known, I have friends from all walks of life, many from the world of soccer. I am grateful that I have a pretty good audience that enjoys my writings and therefore, will understand the intent and heart of this article. While it isn't intended to offend anyone, especially friends who are not people of faith or don't take faith seriously, it is my work and I know some who love the game and are also serious about their faith. This particular article, if given a chance, may illustrate life traits for everyone. If interested read on, if giving it a chance you may get something out of this.

I grew up in, and am proud to say I love the great state of Tennessee and the University of Tennessee athletic programs. I have had many close associations, from friends and family who have played sports there, gone to school there, or even in some instances, friends who have coached there. Growing up in the mountains of East Tennessee, 100 miles Northeast of Knoxville one couldn't help but love Tennessee. While I am not sure if the phrase "my blood runs orange" originated there, it was the first place I heard it. I grew up not being able to attend the games and when it comes to college, the team was the Volunteers. I grew up listening to the Hall of Fame Tennessee announcer John Ward. Now he was an announcer and one that will never be replicated, there were, are others like him like Georgia's Larry Munson who was spectacular. Great radio announcers paint pictures with words as well as any Rembrandt. These men are legendary.

They also have something else about them though, a passion for the game and the team they were announcing. www.mosaicwichita.comAs a former active athlete and a current occasional participant and definite fan of sport, sports over the years have lost something to me, that is the passion for the home team.  Currently as I write this during the Olympic games, I miss the days of Al Michaels announcing "The Miracle Game on Ice."  "Do you believe in miracles?" A call I will never forget from an announcer clearly cheering for his home nation. Now don't get me wrong, I appreciate a good story, like how an American and Russian athlete can fall in love in the midst of the Cold War, but all of that said, as much of a peacemaker in my faith as I try to be, (and often fail) as much of a world and Kingdom citizen as I am, I still appreciate and find nothing wrong with, National Pride in certain areas, especially during sporting events. I am saddened to see television, radio and other sports authorities try to be impartial at sporting events. I don't think I am the only one as I hear others speak on this. There are benefits that can be learned, not just in sports, but in faith and in life from a good patronizing sports announcer, like a Larry Munson cheering for Georgia, a Vin Scully cheering for the Dodgers, or even a John Ward cheering for a Tennessee Volunteer.

As many know, I love soccer, I have played, coached at a high level and have lately been a fan of the game over the years. In Wichita it has always been The Wichita Wings and now the Wichita B-52's. I have had season tickets for several years, and attended Wichita pro soccer games since back in the late 1970's and early 1980's. As a result of going to the games and watching the games at watch parties; up until recently I didn't listen to the games on the radio. I am a part of the supporters section in Wichita and stay after the games cheering on the team and seldom even get to the car in time to hear the teams post game show.  This year though something happened. During the game our supporters section started doing a chant for the radio announcer, Dan Lucero. It got me to thinking.

www.thevirtualpew.comDan announces the games and provides the color for local radio station KSGO, 1410 AM for the Wichita B-52's. I heard fans talking about him, then something happened, my wife had surgery and we had to miss a couple of games, we were stuck in the hospital, during a game, unable to attend or watch and I was forced to listen to the radio. From that first listen, I was hooked. Dan brought back all of the fun of the glory days of radio for me.  He was the John Ward of the Tennessee Volunteers, The Vin Scully of the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Larry Munson of the Georgia Bulldogs. While Dan is young he still paints a pretty darned good picture. He does it with passion and talent which God gifts only a few people with. He has a passion that is absolutely non apologetic, he clearly loves the Wichita B-52's and the game of soccer. 

  I can tell you, announcers like Dan, the few times this season when I listened, took me to the game, he got me excited. I appreciate that he calls it like he sees it. One may not agree but there are benefits to honesty, even if that honesty disappoints someone. I mentioned Georgia's Larry Munson above, I have heard this about Dan as well, one may not like the Georgia Bulldogs, or the Wichita B-52's for that matter, but they will appreciate the loyalty and excitement that only a fan can bring to the game. I will never forget Larry Munson's call of Herschel Walker running over Tennessee Defenders. While I couldn't see the game, I felt the power of Walker from Munson. I had the opportunity living where I did to switch back and forth on the radio between John Ward and Larry Munson calling the game. Ward was obviously in pain, Munson was in jubilation, I loved both calls of the game which is why I had to switch back and forth on the radio dial. I was experiencing the game from all sides. An announcer brings you to the game.

As I have thought over the last few days I have reflected; there are many benefits to exhibiting passion, benefits I have learned and recalled from being blessed to listen to radio announcers who love what they are doing. When one cares about what they do they bring others pleasure, especially those supporting the same team. One can joy at the passion they exhibit in the thing they love to others, even when distance separates them.

www.thekeystonekid.orgAs I have thought through the week, I have wondered, do we in life, whether of faith or not, bring passion to life in such a way that others looking or listening in take their specific skill or gift sets to the world around them, bringing others around them into another's world? This isn't to say everything has to be done to make one feel hunky dory and wonderful but just like that Tennessee and Georgia football game all those years ago, the experience of life in full is far better than a one sided adventure where we experience a limited experience. One of the things I appreciated about Dan this year was he was not only a fan of the Wichita B-52's, he knows the game and appreciated the good he saw in certain officials, players, communities and so forth. He was also open to expressing his displeasure calling it the way he saw it, sometimes calling an official incompetent, because they were, or an opposing player a thug, because he was. I think Dan understands the team he represents and the audience.

Sometimes just like in sports, our commitments, responsibilities and obligations will take us to differing places, and sometimes to differing conclusions. That is okay but what we do, what we represent, should be done with passion. For me that is the ultimate lesson I wanted to reflect here, there are passions we have that are nothing more than time consuming, maybe with a little fun, if we don't dedicate ourselves fully to those passions.  When we are passionate about something, the comments of the naysayers aren't all that important because we know what is and is not of value in our own hearts, that thing of value is what we should stand for, should represent. That is ultimately what can give us joy and satisfaction in life, it is what can get us to the place where we don't care what others think, say or do.   

For me, and I assume others, there are passions in life, but for me as a Christian, and for others who say they are people of faith, their faith and for Christians the person of Jesus Christ must be the ultimate passion. Nothing: soccer, movies, television, sports, or even for that matter our Sunday gatherings called church should come close to being as important as the person of Jesus whom we as Christians are named after. Jesus went further, saying; we must take up our cross and follow him daily.  There is no debate on the responsibility of the Christ follower to be dedicated to the person of Jesus. At that point, how we announce the game of life can make a difference to those watching and listening to our daily play by play in this thing called life. 

Now in closing, I have no idea of where any of these individual announcers stand on issues of faith, to be honest, it doesn't matter as far as this object lesson. What matters is that whether they intend it or not, their passion moves me and causes me to reflect on my own life and example. For that, I am grateful not just for their ability to cause me to think about and enjoy this thing called sport but their ability to take me to the place that in my own life, I can learn from those examples and hopefully become half as good at what I do with my passions and vocations, as they have been in theirs. That hopefully isn't just an area of thought for me to reflect on, but one for you as well.  

The following is a special video featuring Tennessee's own John Ward.  To see the video below, just click on it, if there are problems, click on the following link:

The Virtual Pew and our other work is supported solely by the kind contributions of others. You can click on the donate button below to give any amount to this work that does so much more than just post articles on the net; I draw no ongoing salary from the church I pastor, Mosaic Wichita which is predominantly a homeless church; I am grateful for any small amount you can contribute to help with this ministry.  Believe me there is much more going on than most realize. I will also provide information to verify the ministry and income that comes into this ministry and work.  Thanks and feel free to share any material from The Virtual Pew, I only ask that appropriate credit is given and a link to the original site with the materials provided.

Click here to read about, and order the book, The Keystone Kid 

Click here to visit the web page The Virtual Pew

Click here to follow The Virtual Pew on Twitter

Mike Furches on Faceboook.

Click here to visit Mosaic Church where Mike is Pastor

The Keystone Kid/Virtual Pew Message Boards

Click to subscribe to my blog

There are hundreds of postings so make sure to check out the archives. You can also contact me for a free audio book link of The Keystone Kid at You can visit

Hopefully you will consider a gift to The Virtual Pew.

Now I get asked this quite often, Can we repost your blogs or articles? The short answer to that is, what an honor that you would ask, and by all means, spread the word. Here is our contact information

The Virtual Pew
1249 N. St. Francis
Wichita Kansas, 67214

Click on the following links to learn more about The Virtual Pew

Donations to The Virtual Pew

The Virtual Pew Blog

Personal Furches Web Site

Hollywood Jesus

Reviews With Mike

The Virtual Pew Sermons

The Virtual Pew News

The Virtual Pew Live Radio Web Page

No comments: