Movie Review: Linsanity!


Guys! You have to watch this documentary. It’s an amazing story that goes behind the scenes of that crazy, dare I say it, insane period of time when Jeremy Lin was burning up the basketball court and helping the New York Knicks break out of a losing streak.

I review it over at today. Here’s an excerpt:

Jeremy Lin’s story inspires. He overcomes failure, racial stereotypes, and the insecurity that leads to poor performance on the court. Although an excellent player, he misses opportunities to play on powerhouse teams in college, and then, when he does get picked up by an Ivy League school, gets passed over in the NBA draft.

Director Leong takes us behind the scenes to his childhood, interviews family and friends, former coaches, and Lin himself. The result is a beautiful story of multigenerational dreams, persistence, and ultimately, a trust in God’s perfect plan. We’re treated to Lin singing his favorite Disney tunes along the way, and a self-deprecating humor that reveals a great deal about his character.

We also see him hit a low point, as he fails to make his mark on two professional teams before being given one last, desperate, chance for success with the New York Knicks. He questions himself, “How am I going to be myself with everyone looking?” It emboldens him to play with abandon — to play for God, not himself.

I hope you go on over and read the rest here.





in which I review The Mighty Macs

If you’ve been doing the rounds on Facebook and Twitter, you’ve probably seen a lot of activity on the new movie, The Mighty Macs, which opens this weekend.

It’s a fun movie if you’re looking for a few laughs and a little inspiration. Happy endings tend to do that for me.

What I didn’t expect was that it would open the flood gates of memories for me. You see, I was a young girl playing basketball in those early 70’s. It was just too much fun reliving those days…I still have a great big ole smile on my face when I think about it.

I saw a preview of The Mighty Macs a couple of weeks ago, and reviewed it over at Patheos! Go check it out…I interviewed the amazing Theresa Grentz and Katie Hayak…see what they have to say about playing on the championship Immaculata team, in real life and reel life…

I love basketball and I love nuns.

It’s a left over from my Catholic youth, playing ball at Christ the King Elementary School and St. Pius X High School in Atlanta, so imagine my joy to attend a special preview for The Mighty Macs, which opens this weekend.

A movie about women’s basketball! With nuns? It got my attention.

And it captured my heart, because it’s wonderful.

Check out the rest of the review here, The Mighty Macs: More than a Game.

Jellybeans and other things

I ran into the woman who coached my basketball team, the Jellybeans, when I was a kid in 1971. I can’t wrap my mind around the decades that have passed.

Few people know that I have this secret past as a basketball playing, pony-tail shaking, trouble-making bookworm.

Well. Maybe you might believe the last part of that. The basketball, though, often comes as a surprise. I’m okay with people looking at my middle-aged “comfortable” body and squinting to see if there ever could have been a lithe athlete in there.

She’s still there, moving slower, and less gracefully, but in some way…full of grace.

It has less to do with the muscle memory that leads to flawless lay-ups, and more about the muscle memory of the heart.

I learned many lessons while playing sports. Research shows that girls and young women who play sports tend to have better self-esteem, better body image, and better mental health over all. They tend to delay sex longer and are better students.

Those physical lessons that led to championship seasons and excellence on the court were secondary to the moral lessons that influenced my character and directly affected the kind of girl I was, and the woman that I have become.

For every suicide that I ran, building stamina and speed, I learned that suffering and pain can sometimes be fleeting and often leads to strength.

For every monotonous dribbling or shooting drill that improved my skill, I learned about patience and commitment, and the rewards of hard work.

For every play that was repeated over and over until we operated in unison, I learned the value of working together and perhaps more importantly, that everyone on a team has unique skills. I learned to ask for help when in a pickle, and to selflessly jump into the fray to help when I can.

The coaches who taught me those important lessons were in my life for a season (ha, how do you like that unintended wordplay?) but their influence has been timeless.

I’ve passed along those same lessons to athletes I’ve coached, students I’ve taught, and adults I’ve advised. I’v passed those lessons along to my children.

I live those lessons, I hope, with humility but determination. To be my best. To do my best. To be a good sport. To enjoy the game. To laugh, and joke, and celebrate. To lose gracefully, and perhaps, too often forgotten, to win gracefully.

To remember to drink water.

And finally, to begin every endeavor, whether large or small, in prayer.

Our Lady of Victory, pray for us.

33 three-toed tree toads

yes, there are thirty-three three-toed tree toads in that watercolor

I’ve been so serious around here lately that I’ve depressed the hell out of myself. Thanks for sticking around. I still find joy in the absurdities around me. So here’s a list of 33 totally random things. Why 33? It was my jersey number when I played basketball.

Yeah, I played basketball. Here’s some proof.

And that counts as #1. The remaining 32, in no particular order:

  • I almost caused an international incident by accidentally driving into East Germany.
  • I used to be a bartender.
  • I snore.
  • I used to write poetry on demand while sitting in a pub and drinking beer (in college — isn’t everything forgivable if you did it in college…mostly?)
  • I slept on the floor of the Marseilles train station.
  • I used to draw and paint when I was younger. I can still draw some if I’m in the mood.
  • I thought about being a nun. I decided against it because I didn’t want to be a teacher. Ha.
  • I wear a hat to write.
  • My favorite color is blue.
  • My favorite color is green.
  • My favorite color is yellow.
  • I change my mind a lot.
  • I don’t like confrontation.
  • I people watch and create elaborate and scandalous back stories. And then I am ashamed.
  • My favorite ice cream is Rocky Road.  Or pistachio. Or strawberry. Or Baskin Robbins Baseball Nut.
  • Definitely, my favorite ice cream is Baseball Nut.
  • Or chocolate.
  • I am indecisive.
  • I can’t parallel park.
  • I used to ride a unicycle.
  • I can juggle.
  • I don’t like scary movies.
  • I can read a bunch of books at the same time (well, not at the same time, but you know what I mean) and I can keep them all straight and summarize everything, but I have trouble memorizing things like lines of poetry and phone numbers.
  • I feel things in colors and it’s very weird and very scary. And pretty cool.
  • I used to cut school like a fiend and only got caught once — by an Assistant Principal who went on to become the Superintendent of Dade County Public Schools in the mid 80’s, and thus, my boss. Tee hee.
  • I majored in English, and minored in French and Psychology. I probably could have picked up history, too.
  • One of my favorite cities is Paris.
  • My favorite cartoon is Marvin the Martian.
  • I have a soft spot for marching bands, especially woodwinds.
  • I don’t like the circus.
  • I like to dance.
  • Although I can be loud and even gregarious in a group, I am much more comfortable with one or two people.
  • I think sour apple Jolly Ranchers are disgusting.
  • I lost count and am not sufficiently vested in the accuracy of this post to go back and count.