Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Miami Heat Win on 6-20-06 Just As No One Except God & Riley Predicted

Pat Riley said they would win on June 20th with "15 strong" and they did. Watching the game, it did seem like a foregone conclusion...and not because of friendly referreeing either. Miami played with heat last night and wore out the Dallas Mavericks. Tired, hunched over, and in Dirk Nowizki's case, flailing in desperation, they succombed to the relentless tenacity of Miami.

Dwayne Wade punished Dallas for every good deed, every lead, every recovery from certain death, every grasp at victory. He snatched it away. He took it. He overwhelmed them with his effortless shooting that made their very determined defense look lackluster.

Wade wasn't the winner who mattered to me though, even though watching him move with grace, make points when it counted reminded me of ol' what's his name. No, this game belonged to an the aging great (and no I'm not talking about Poopy Pants Payton). Having watched Alonzo Mourning play with gusto and perfect timing for years, it is great to see him have a ring. This fan says "Way to Go Zo!". Way to go, indeed. Mourning blocked key shots and was the defining force in the momentum change during the game. He's been doing this for years. Finally! A ring!

And then there is Shaq. What is LA thinking now? Does Shaquille O'Neal feel the satisfaction of owning a ring he promised Miami while LA tolerates the decision to stick with spoiled, selfish, silly Kobe Bryant? Shaq didn't seem spiteful. He stated his gratitude for playing for "the best coach ever". I wonder what Phil Jackson thinks of that. He humbly acknowledged that Wade, "Flash", is the star. He seemed relieved, actually. I wonder if Bryant hadn't been such a baby, if they could have had a cohesion like Wade and O'Neal have now. I wonder if LA fans wonder the same thing.

Something else struck me after this game. Do you ever recall the players talking up God, their wives, their fathers, their families after winning a World Championship? Me neither. These hot rods seemed genuinely thrilled to be surrounded by their loved ones. They seemed genuinely grateful for God's grace--and on national TV. No kissing the trophy like a personal beloved pet, no hoarding it (ala Michael Jordan), no real selfish ambition displayed at all. What's up with that?

I did some Internet sleuthing. Evidently much of the team goes to Chapel before each game. Same goes for Dallas--except I saw no mention of Mark Cuban gracing God's presence. Some of the Miami Heat including Wade and Udonis Halam, make the church service a pregame ritual. Even Riley focused the team by focusing on something greater:

The chaplains frequently find ways to blend team themes with religion, giving the word "faith" secular and spiritual connotations.

Before Game 4, a slip of paper was clipped to players' scouting reports: "Faith is daring the soul to go beyond what the eyes might see."

The laminated cards were entitled "Fifteen Strong," which has been Riley's theme throughout the playoffs.

The first quotation, from 1 Corinthians 12:12, was slightly altered to make the connection: "The body [team] is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body [team]."

The center of the card explained that God "intends for us to experience life together." It again compared the team to a body, "a collection of small cells. The life of the team is found in the cells. The members of the team attain success when they depend on one another, sharing and helping each other. God expects you to do whatever you can to help the team."

It closed with a quote from 1 Corinthians 12:24, 25: "But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other."

So I wasn't imagining it. Miami winning was a miracle.

No comments: