Wide Receiver Joe Anderson’s Dream

Joe Anderson / Instagram

Joe Anderson / Instagram

Joe Anderson has a dream, and he has been relentless in trying to follow it. He is a wide receiver who went undrafted out of Texas Southern University in 2012 but was able to catch on for a little while over the past few years with the Chicago Bears and Philadelphia Eagles. But he’s now a free agent, unsigned, and he wants a job badly. His old wide receiver job. So he went to the Houston Texans’ facility with a cardboard sign that read, “Not homeless … but STARVING for success. Will run routes 4 food.”

He posted a photo of himself (top) on Instagram, and it got picked up and went viral. It’s a great story, with many inspiring elements as told by SB Nation:

Joe Anderson Is Following a Dream, and It Took Him to the Texans’ Doorstep

Rick Monday’s Greatest Play

The scoreboard reads, “Rick Monday … You made a great play …”

And he did. This deserves to be remembered: Rick Monday’s Greatest Play

A Great Act of Sportsmanship


Wonderful story from CBS Evening News: Mitchell Marcus big game

Tim Tebow – Inspirational or Offensive?

Denver Broncos quarterback, Tim Tebow.

A story on Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow is low-hanging fruit for us. It’s a little too easy to line him up as another athlete with an inspiring story on this website and write an article about the man who to us is such an inspiration and a great story that should make everyone smile, at least just a little, and feel good inside. So we didn’t do our own piece, we waited for the other media to write one. And we waited all season. We waited while the Tebow-bashing and criticizing played out in the mainstream media.

Frankly, it confuses us that anyone could watch this athlete, understand his back story, and come up with the conclusion that his is anything but an inspiring story. Most of the media doesn’t seem to get it. Which just goes to show you how out of touch most of the mainstream media is with mainstream America.

Eighty-five percent of Americans identify themselves as Christians. So you’d think that Tebow giving praise to his “Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ” very publicly after every game would be no big deal, not news, not a “man bites dog” story, but the opposite. Other football players at every level get on bended knee for a brief moment, bow their heads, cross themselves when they’ve scored a touchdown. Not all of them, of course, but enough to notice. Maybe Tebow, whose kneeling pose in prayer has become known as “Tebowing,” holds his prayer a little longer than the others. Or maybe it’s that he’s been so open about his faith, that when he points his finger to heaven reflecting the cheers and applause that shower down upon him when he scores up to a higher power, everyone knows exactly what the gesture means. Other athletes do it constantly. But maybe there’s some ambiguity in their gestures because they don’t talk about their faith as openly as Tebow does.

A little background on Tim Tebow, just in case you didn’t know (and you might not, because most of the media doesn’t focus on the back story):

• Tim was born to Baptist missionary parents in the Philippines.
• While she was pregnant with Tim, his mother, Pam, suffered a life-threatening infection. She went into a coma. She also suffered from dysentery. She was treated with an array of drugs as a result – drugs that shouldn’t be used on a pregnant woman, because of the danger to the fetus. She pulled through her illness, but doctors warned her to expect her baby to be stillborn. They said if Tim went to term and survived, that he could be severely disabled as a result of the drug treatments she received. They asked her to consider an abortion. Pam refused.
• In a high school game as a sophomore, Tebow hurt his right leg on a play in the first half of a game. His coach told him to toughen up, that it was probably just a bruise. Tebow continued to play and in the fourth quarter, ran for a score-tying 29-yard touchdown. After the game, x-rays showed a broken fibula. And not just a hairline fracture – a “jagged break of his lower leg,” as his coach described it. He didn’t play the rest of the year.

You’ve probably seen this drink commercial, “Appreciate That,” where Tebow outlines the things people have said he couldn’t do:

Overcoming adversity? Yeah, just a little. Inspirational? We think so.

We wanted to highlight this piece of commentary by the Miami Herald’s Linda Robertson: Inspirational or offensive, Tim Tebow’s no phony. Unfortunately, however, her column is no longer accessible through the Miami Herald website, so we’ve had to link to the only place on the web we’ve been able to find it. It’s poorly copied and pasted — there are no paragraphs and some sentences run into the next, but it’s still readable. We hope you enjoy it.

Record-Setting 74-year-old Body Builder Inspires Fellow Athletes

Now if this woman isn’t inspiring, I don’t know what you would define as inspirational. Meet Ernestine Shepherd, now 74 years old and in the best shape of her life! She’s in the Guinness Book of World Records for being the oldest female bodybuilder ever. She didn’t even start working out until she was 56 — she got motivated to get healthier after her sister passed away from brain aneurysm.

Here’s a little window into her workout regimen — remember, this is at the age of 74: She wakes up at 3am every day to begin her fitness routine, but first, she takes time out for devotionals; then she gets her day going with a 10-mile run, after which she does weight training. She can bench press 150 pounds.

“Don’t let life pass you by,” she says. “You can be fit. I feel so much better now in my 70s than I did in my 40s.”

Inspired ON by a … Bow Tie

If you see a bit of a proliferation of bow ties during Fox Sports’ baseball coverage this year, don’t be surprised. There’s an interesting and inspiring story behind them, brought to you by baseball writer (and former Baltimore Sun sports columnist) Ken Rosenthal. Here’s the story: Bow Ties on Fox.

The Odds Against Antonio Dixon

Antonio Dixon

Former Washington Times colleague David Elfin has written a fabulous piece for AOL’s NFL Fanhouse about Philadelphia Eagles defensive tackle Antonio Dixon. This is a great football story that has as much if not more going for it than that of Baltimore Ravens tackle Michael Oher, as chronicled in the book and movie, “The Blind Side.”

A few excerpts from Elfin’s story about Dixon:
• Dixon’s father was sentenced to 25 years in prison while Dixon was only 3 years old
• Dixon and his four siblings spent years in homeless shelters while growing up
• He estimates he went to some 15 elementary schools and never learned to read

This is an inspirational story about perseverance and overcoming odds no child or teen should ever have to face. Read the full story here: Antonio Dixon Has Beaten Longest Odds.

An Inspiring Struggle for a Coach and a Team

We’ve been avoiding posting inspirational stories here that have a sports connection. We seem to have a lot of them lately. But you can’t deny some of the incredibly courageous and inspiring events that often, seemingly, take place during athletic competitions. Just this past Saturday, Nov. 27, we saw yet another example during a high school cross-country race held in Fresno, California. Holland Reynolds of San Francisco University High School willed herself to finish a race after collapsing with little more than five yards to go to the finish line.

The video of her, which is now getting aired on TV stations across the country and is being seen on YouTube, shows her struggling to even remain upright not far from the finish line. And this wasn’t any ordinary cross-country race; this was a race that had layers of meaning to it. It was the last cross-country meet of the year for Holland and her school. It was a meet that would determine the state championship. And it was the last race her coach, Jim Tracy, would be coaching. He was recently diagnosed with ALS, or Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis — more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease — and his health and ability to even walk is declining quickly.

Holland hit the wall, as they say in racing. She went down completely, sprawling on the ground, looking. Yet she struggled to her knees as an official rushed over to check on her. The official held back, not giving her any help. If he had even reached out to touch her, she would have been disqualified from the race. He leaned over, speaking with her, and watched her along with everyone else present in the finish area, crawl slowly as runner after runner breezed over the finish line. Holland finally reached the finish line and quickly was scooped up into the arms of race officials, who carried her off to assist her. She finished the race and earned enough points for her team to help them win the championship. And as a result, Coach Tracy earned his 8th division title, setting a state record.

Holland said that when she collapsed, she remembered being confused. But she also told ABC News that she thought about “just finishing. And finishing for Jim. And for my team, ultimately. The entire season, my team and I just really wanted to perform well for Jim, and leave him in his last cross-country season with something to remember.”

That she did. Not only will her coach not forget this finish, but neither will anyone who watches it.

Joe Beene’s Inspiration: A Quadriplegic’s Story

Joe Beene (Photo courtesy Joe Beene)

It was 10 years ago, exactly, that Joe Beene’s world changed instantaneously. On Nov. 8, 2000, Joe was a 17-year-old, playing linebacker for his Permian High School football team in Odessa, Texas.

It was their final practice of the year before they were to meet their arch-rivals from across town, Odessa High School. Joe, a senior, made what seemed like a routine tackle. But the tackle was anything but routine. “I was tackling somebody, and my neck went back,” said Joe in a sort of matter-of-fact manner.

He remembers the time immediately after the tackle very well. “I stopped breathing. I was awake. I was wondering what was going on — you know, you can’t breathe.”

He knew something was wrong, but all he could do was lie there. “I couldn’t speak, but with my eyes I was saying, ‘Do something! Do something!’ I went without air for seven minutes. I should be dead or brain dead. But God kept me alive.”

Joe says he didn’t realize right away the seriousness of what had happened, “not until about three days later, after surgery. They fused C1 and C2 [vertebrae] together. I woke up after surgery and my dad told me what happened; I started crying — because I was thankful that God kept me alive and I wasn’t brain dead.”

What happened to Joe 10 years ago on that tackle left him paralyzed from the neck down. But what happened to Joe 10 years ago also turned his life on a path that led him closer to God and into a powerful relationship with Jesus. In the decade that’s gone by since his injury, he’s become an ordained minister, and he just got his degree this summer from the University of Texas of the Permian Basin, where he majored in history and minored in business.

“It was amazing,” said Joe about the injury. “I should have died; I should have been brain dead.”

But he wasn’t. What overwhelmed Joe wasn’t the devastating injury, “it was that God had kept me alive for that long; maybe he had given me another chance at life. I started crying because I was thankful for that.”

Joe takes a larger view of the accident that left him a quadriplegic: “Everyone goes through hard things. It’s not like I’m an exception to the rule.”

We wanted to know — did he have strong faith before the injury? His answer was Continue reading

InspiredON by Wisconsin … and a Young Boy

Wonderful piece that ESPN did on a young boy, 6-year-old Jaxson Hinkens, who had cancer, neuroblastoma, and who idolized the Wisconsin Badgers football team.

When diagnosed 14 months ago, Jaxson was given a 50-50 chance of living. Devastating news for any family. His parents reached out to Wisconsin for their son and requested a helmet for Jaxson from the team. What they all got in return was so much more. Watch the video: Jaxson & Wisconsin.