Thursday, June 10, 2004

June 10, 2004

10:06 PM This afternoon I stood behind Kevin McHale. I also walked by Patrick Ewing. I saw Larry Bird from a distance, and I was sitting down when B. J. Armstrong passed by. It happened at the NBA Pre-Draft Camp at Moody Bible Institute. Mark is working at the Solheim Center this summer, which means he is helping with security at the Pre-Draft Camp. This is the camp where the top college players come to show off their basketball skills and convince some NBA team to draft them. Mark said that 60 top players came to the camp, along with several hundred NBA coaches, team executives, former players, and a few current players. Mark and the other Moody students serve as the first line of security. Then there are several layers of NBA security. No one gets in without some kind of credential. A few guys tried to crash the camp but they were spotted and thrown out. When Mark called last night and asked if I’d like to come down and visit, I immediately said yes. Mark said he had already met Larry Bird, Dominique Wilkins, and had even done a dance with Bill Wennington. He said Patrick Ewing is a great guy and loves to laugh. The Moody staff isn’t allowed to talk to the NBA players (except to say hello) unless the players talk to them, so it’s not like they’re having long conversations with these superstars. Still, it’s a kick to say, “Hello, Mr. Bird” and to welcome Isiah Thomas to the Solheim Center. Basically all the big names in the NBA come to some part of the Pre-Draft Camp. Mark had made friends with the head of the Bulls security team who is part of the NBA security at the camp. He said it would be fine if I came down to visit the camp. That’s how I got in. After that, there isn’t much to tell. We watched the college guys play a game. I didn’t recognize any of them–-but they were all big stars somewhere. Mark and I walked around, trying to see who we could recognize. That’s when we saw Larry Bird sitting at midcourt watching the game. Ditto for NBA coach Lenny Wilkins. Patrick Ewing was on the running track above the floor. When we walked to the other side, I told Mark, “That’s Kevin McHale.” He had no idea who he was–-so I tried to explain he used to play with Larry Bird. Then we stood behind the coaches for the Portland Trailblazers. The high point came when Patrick Ewing came by, Mark said hi, and Patrick patted him on the back. As I leaned against the rail, I looked at the players, coaches and the media (Andy Katz from ESPN was a few feet away). I guess there were 300 people total. The owner of the Orlando Magic looks like a 35-year-old frat guy. He was wearing a shirt that wasn’t tucked in and blue jeans. That made me ponder the net worth of all those NBA superstars plus all those team owners and executives in the Solheim Center at that moment. If you figure that most NBA teams are worth several hundred million dollars, the total net worth of those people milling around must have been several billion dollars. I think I had $10 in my pocket. One other note. When I go into a room, I’m often the tallest person. At 6’3”, I’m taller than most people. But today I was a shrub in a forest of tall people. Everyone (except for B. J. Armstrong) was taller than me. Most of them were way taller. I was looking up at everyone. Even the coaches were tall. The NBA must be the most concentrated aggregation of tall people in the world. When I mentioned this to Marlene, she said, “So now you know how the rest of us feel.” When the game was over, Mark and I went to the Solheim lobby where I sat down and ate Tootsie Rolls while we watched the NBA elite exit the building. Then I left and came home. It was a blast being there, and even though I can’t think of a single spiritual application, I still felt I should write about it so I could actually say I stood two feet from Kevin McHale and Patrick Ewing walked right past me. It’s not much, I suppose, but it’s as close to fame as I’ve been all week long. 6:53 PM Barb King from Albany, NY has been reading about the Hot Dog Challenge we had. She makes her own nomination—athough it’s a bit far for our bike team.

I read about your food excursions and wanted to tell you that we have a place locally called Jumpin’ Jacks. It’s an outdoor fast food place right on the Mohawk River. The grill man takes orders one right after the other— sometimes getting up to the 10th person in line and asking what they want. So you can’t dawdle, daydream or chat. You have to be on your toes and ready to shout your order to him. Once you tell him what you want he translates it into Jumpin’ Jacks lingo – whale fry, 747, 707, twister – you get the idea. When you move down the line and pay, if you leave them a tip the cashier shouts “SUBWAY!” and all the workers yell “THANK YOU!”. I have no idea what it means but that is what they do. They have great cheeseburgers with cooked onions, really good onion rings, seafood breaded on premises and lots of other things. Their signature item is a Jackburger which is a burger and a cheeseburger with cole slaw on it on a three part bun.

6:51 PM Just received this letter from a prisoner named Wayne in Brandon, Mississippi:

Dear Brother Ray, I have just read your book An Anchor for the Soul. Man what a blessing. And a blast to read. The reason of this letter is to ask you if you have other stuff to read. I’m in jail in MS on a murder charge. And want to learn more about Jesus. Man thanks for anything you can send me. Yours through Christ, Wayne

10:31 AM Andrew Comiskey has written True Justice: Halting the Push for Gay Marriage. Every paragraph is bursting with truth. Highly recommended.

Our sin is not that of the raving fundamentalist; it is the sin of passive, naive centrism

9:26 AM Saturday will be a busy day at the church. From 8 AM-12 noon, the Allied Force high school ministry is sponsoring a car wash in the west parking lot. We also have an all-day membership seminar. And the Faith and Freedom concert that night. 9:25 AM Counting Down … 2 Days until the Faith and Freedom Concert, Saturday, June 12, 7 PM. 9:23 AM Next Thursday the Civil War tour will be in Washington, D.C. We’ll spend all day on a “Christian Heritage Tour” of Washington, including a visit to the new World War II Memorial on the National Plaza. 9:23 AM Today’s entry in the Crosswalk weblog is called Standing for the Truth—What Your Church Can Do.

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