Wednesday, July 19, 2006

"Digging Deep into the Suitcase of Courage" and other Liggettisms

This is the best Tour de France since 1989! So much is said and written about what the French call the "convicts of the road" - the mighty superhumans who race their machines day in and day out. I want to salute another cycling hero of mine - Phil Liggett. Phil Liggett is the voice of world cycling. The man who has provided commentary on every Tour in recent history. I actually met Phil in Cape Town in 1993 (when I was still good enough to be racing in events that Phil did TV commentary for). Anyway, I salute you, Phil, with these classic Liggettisms:

"And Armstrong is coming down the finishing straight like a grand prix motorcar!"

"An absolute beast of a man" Used in reference to Ulrich From 2004 TdF

"he's sitting at the back of the peleton nursing an injury. no word on the specifics of the injury but rumor is he has a boil on the you-know-what." 2004 TdF

"There's Armstrong. His face giving nothing away. He is in complete concentration but I imagine that his ears are twitched back just listening for the whistle of a tire on the pavement -- the sound of an attack." 2004 TdF

"Ullrich and Kloden are having a bit of conversation back there. I wonder if Lance understands any German?" 2004 TdF

"Oh my there's some rubbish in the road. it appears as if a mini tornado has been through here. and (unknown cyclist) behind him as if to find someone to blame well he's going to have to look to the heavens. 2004 TdF


"If there's one thing Cadel Evans has learned in his first Tour de's how to hurt himself!"

" he would rip the bike in half if he had half the chance" Regarding Botero chasing Vino on the Galibier.

"well, are you coming or not and the answer is NOT!" Refers to "The Look": Armstrong looks straight into the eyes of Jan Ullrich.

(The Peloton passes a field with white cows) "The peloton is passing a field of white cows. This region of France is known for its bovine....(goes off on tangent)....Of course, none of that matters to any of the riders, except that they might like a nice steak at the end of day." - 03 TDF

"Tap tap tapping out a rhythm" - One of the many pedaling related quotes

"These riders know how to win in style."

"Hes' praying for the summit to come as soon as possible"

"he's soaked in talent" On Ulrich

"Ullrich is pumping those two pistons he calls legs."

"Now the boys are enjoying a nice slice of tailwind"

"Simoni has been reduced to a touring cadence." When Simoni got dropped from the leading group.

"The crowd is cheering for their Pin-up Boy!" Virenque nearing the finish
of stage 7.

"Armstrong has let them all have their chances and now he is reeling them
in like some great fisherman."

"...and Fabian Cancellara is riding to a high level of superbness..."

"...and there's Roberto Heras, the little boy in the blue jersey"

"He's lit the blue touchpaper" -- i.e., someone has attacked. Apparently another 'chiefly British' term. Blue touchpaper is evidently highly flammable paper used to lit fireworks and such.

Paul says something like "Look at Armstrong; what is that face saying?" and Phil says "It's says 'I'm going to win the Tour de France' Regarding 04 TdF; stage to La Mongie or Plateau de Beille when Armstrong was in a small group in the final climb to the summit.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem

I pray that July of 2006 doesn't turn into August of 1914. Do I need to say more?

Monday, July 10, 2006

Rest and Relaxation

What did I do last week? Where in the world was I? Holly and I had the most incredible week - pure rest and relaxation. Last Monday we drove down to San Antonio, and spent the night in the Palacia del Rio. Then we spent three days in New Braunfels. What did we do? Nothing! It was wonderful. I slept more last week than I have in the past month. We slept late, we took afternoon naps, we ate wonderful food, we drove around aimlessly, we kept the cell phones turned off, we hung around historic Gruene, we went antique shopping (that was Holly's idea), and . . . we went tubing down the Comal River (aka "toobing"). Just look at that picture. Wanna go?

When I preached my series on the 10 Commandments last month I really wrestled with the Sabbath commandment. Jesus was always in trouble for violating the Sabbath traditions of the Jews, and today any mention that we observe the Sabbath gets those Christians who think the OT doesn't apply to us all riled up. I think both extremes miss the point. Jesus said the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. Sabbath keeping is not about legalism or what you do on Saturday - it's about rest. Doing nothing. Chilling out. It's God's will.

Here's a wonderful observation I'm borrowing from Wade Hodges' blog: "Dualism brought in its wake an emphasis upon asceticism. This life-style, a stark departure from the Jewish norm in Scripture, is still present in varying forms in the Church today. Asceticism results in a debasement of life. The enjoyment of the physical is rejected in favor of the general mortification of the flesh. Physical appetites and pleasures are considered unworthy indulgences which foster entrapment, so the body must be policed by rules. Thus one must seek to restrict or restrain oneself from, to deny or give up, anything enjoyable which may prove a hindrance to the cultivation of one’s “spiritual” life. . . .Though rejected by Paul, the ascetic attitude of “Do no taste! Do not touch!” (Col. 2:21) remains deeply embedded in the history of Christian thought. At the time of the reformation, the Dutch scholar Erasmus noted that Christianity in his day had come to be defined not in loving one’s neighbor but in abstaining from cheese and butter for Lent. . . The overall thrust of Scripture , however, reflects a different emphasis. Though physical pleasure is not the highest good or the solitary goal of life, one should receive and affirm in with an attitude of grateful acceptance. . . .If we find enjoyment in the here and now we should not be surprised. We know this enjoyment comes from the hands of living Creator who brought us into being with our best interests at heart. Hence, the Jerusalem Talmud states that in the life to come a person must give an account of every good thing he might have enjoyed in this life but did not. In the rabbis view, not to enjoy every legitimate pleasure was in essence to be an ingrate before the Master of the Universe. The next time someone tries to make you feel guilty because you’re enjoying life too much just tell them that you’re getting ready for the Day of Judgement."

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Le Tour

I just got through watching the prologue time trial of this year's Tour de France. Game on! This is the first time since 1988 that no past winner has started the race. Until this morning I missed Lance - but now I'm so glad he's retired. This race will be very exciting. I hope Americans can get over this personality driven fad with the "Tour de Lance" (thank ESPN for that gem!) Lance is not the greatest Tour rider ever - Eddy Mercx is. And there are really great American riders who have been living in Lance's shadow for too long - Floyd Landis, Dave Zabriski, George Hincapie, Bobby Julich, Levi Leipheimer. What's the big deal about the TDF? It's the greatest show on earth! It's chess at 40 mph with the 189 fittest athletes in the world enacting pure drama for a solid three weeks! Watch the Tour this year. Let the bug bite you! Oh, by the way, the super-fast rider in the blue and red Supermanesque "skinsuit" in the picture is . . . Me! That was the 1994 University of Port Elizabeth Criterium series. Ryan and I knew how to bring it on faster than a speeding bullet!