Walking through Ephesians: One of the Bible’s most impactful books

In the New Testament book of Ephesians, chapter 4, God reveals some relevant and pretty pertinent concepts to the Christian life.

Chapter-by-Chapter Observations

In Chapter 1, the book discusses how In raising Jesus from the dead, God didn’t merely reverse the process of decay, but rather he transcended it.

In Chapter 2, the book distinguishes the difference between mercy and grace, Whereas Grace involves God giving believers what they don’t deserve, mercy means that God did not give punishment as it was deserved.

In Ephesians 4, the chapter opens up discussing the Unity and Diversity as one in the Body of Christ. By speaking life, and/or love, we grow closer to Christ.

Furthermore, in Chapter 4, the book discusses how to live this new life that we are chosen to live upon Baptism. The scripture goes into detail about how we must live as Christians to distinguish ourselves from Gentiles, or non-believers from a modern perspective. The scripture specifically identifies that we must speak the truth to one another and our neighbors, avoiding lying and deceit.

Interestingly enough, the scripture tells us to that it’s ok to be angry. However, it specifically enlightened  us that when we are angry, we musn’t sin. 4:26 HCSB: “Don’t let the sun go down on your anger, and don’t give the Devil and opportunity”

The scripture also goes into detail regarding thievery, foul language, bitterness, anger and wrath, shouting and slandering- basically that they shouldn’t be a part of a Christian’s life.

Overarching Themes

You are being put together for God’s dwelling in the spirit.

Jesus became what we are; so we can become like him (what he is).

Throughout the book, God clarifies and distininguishes what living as a Christian looks like. It’s these things and lifestyle choices that distinguish us from the ‘gentile,’ and that affirm our belief with God.

Seeking God out

God revealed himself in a big way to me today.

It was normally a day where I would’ve been in a negative mood. It was cloudy and cold when I woke up. It was a Monday, and I had to make my way to my 8:00 A.M. Spanish class. That routine has taken its toll on me recently.

But today was beyond normal circumstances. To start, it was Halloween, which is always fun, and a general fun atmosphere was about the campus. More importantly, it was my sister’s Sweet 16 birthday, and she was taking her driver’s test.

I woke up per usual, snoozing my alarm, and taking care of my normal hygiene routine. I then read my devotional for the day, and prayed hard for my sister, my family, the nation, and our campus.

I then took time to listen to some powerful worship songs as I made my way to class. I’m not sure what it was, but I really connected with God and had a positive attitude.

Whereas sometimes in Spanish I struggle to pay attention, I was locked in and receptive to the concepts. Whereas normally I would think I’d feel emotional about my sister taking her 8:30 driver’s test, today I was calm and relaxed.

I proceeded back to the student center to relax before my 10:00 class, and my Dad came through with a text letting me know my sister had passed her test. I had been listening to some strong worship music, and connected with God intimately. So when the good news came, I was even more joyful.

I’m thankful for the way that God has revealed himself to me today. It’s mainly because I sought him out. And on days that aren’t so good, I pray that I’d remember this, and seek God out. Because it’s then that he reveals himself in every way.

 

Week 8 College Football Predictions

My roommate and I have been predicting the results of each top-25 matchup in addition to the Missouri game. Headed into week 8, I possess a 56-14 record after going 17-1 in my picks last week. I’m pretty pleased with my performance so far. Here’s my week 8 picks:

BYU 13, 14 Boise State 24

I’ve yet to watch Boise State this year, but they’ve yet to lose.

6 Texas A&M 38, 1 Alabama 35

Texas A&M, armed by standout quarterback Trevor Knight and a rock solid defense, head into Tuscaloosa for the first time since a 59-0 blowout in 2014. This one has all the makings for a classic; as Alabama is led by up and coming running back Damien Harris and Freshman sensation Jalen Hurts. It’ll be back-and-forth, and I predict that the Aggies will catch lightning in a bottle once more in Alabama riding the wave to path to the playoff.

16 Oklahoma 38, Texas Tech 21

Oklahoma seems to be rolling after starting of Big 12 play with 3 convincing wins. Baker Mayfield has re-entered the Heisman Trophy conversation, and his strongest receiver, Dede Westbrook, has followed suit. Patrick Mahomes is about the only thing that Texas Tech has going right for them so far.

North Carolina St. 28, 7 Louisville 31

I’ve loved what I’ve seen from NC State so far this year. A gritty win vs. Notre Dame amidst Hurricane Matthew followed by an OT loss to #3 Clemson the following week showed just how gritty the Wolfpack is. Lamar Jackson played extremely well last week in a close victory vs. Duke, but his teammates didn’t exactly lift him up. I feel that this will be a close one, with Jackson furthering his Heisman campaign in a Cardinal win.

10 Wisconsin 28, Iowa 14

Wisconsin has shown how tough they really are this season in their matchups against top-5 teams: An opening day win at Lambeau vs. #5 LSU, a white-knuckled  14-7 loss at the Big House to #3 Michigan, and an overtime classic in Madison that saw #2 Ohio State emerge with a 30-23 overtime win. Alex Hornibrook is playing well beyond his age, and Corey Coleman has shored up the Badgers’ run attack. Iowa has struggled to score recently and yet to recover from a home loss to FBS powerhouse North Dakota St., and will roll over for Wisconsin in this one.

22 North Carolina 35, Virginia 21

The Tar Heels have been the picture of inconsistency this season. Despite the loss, North Carolina put together a solid showing out vs. #18 Georgia in Atlanta week one, followed by a classic upset October 1 in a 37-35 win at #12 Florida State. Amidst terrible weather conditions, they failed to replicate any kind of success they had the week prior, flopping to a 34-3 home loss vs. Justin Fuente’s #25 Virginia Tech Hokies. It’s hard to tell how bad of a loss that is; as VA Tech has been pretty inconsistent themselves. From a talent level, former top recruit Mitch Trubisky and Ryan Switzer will lead a much more talented Tar Heel team over an unproven Virginia Cavalier team.

Eastern Michigan 14, 20 Western Michigan 34

I personally witnessed Eastern Michigan get slaughtered at the hands of the confusing Missouri Tigers on September 17th. Since then, they’ve reeled off wins in 4 out of their last 5, ahead of the leaders in the MAC this season. The Broncos from Kalamazoo, #20 Western Michigan, have flung out a strong offense that could go for fireworks this week. This is Western Michigan’s first conference test, after knocking off Big 10 bottomfeeder schools Illinois and Northwestern. I forsee the Broncos garnering their 8th win this week.

Illinois 3, 3 Michigan 35

Illinois has struggled to avoid the bottom of the barrel in the Big 10, despite the offseason addition of head coach Lovie Smith. Michigan is a bona fide Playoff contender, and led by Jabril Peppers, will roll all over the Fighting Illini at home.

Purdue 7, 8 Nebraska 38

Purdue, despite meeting their highest win total in the past four seasons already at 3- fired their head coach Darrell Hazell. It’s safe to say it’s a dumpster fire in West Laffayette. Meanwhile, one of the country’s most underrated teams, Nebraska, will use this game as an opportunity to garner win number 7 as the Corn Huskers approach legitimate playoff contention.

Memphis 24, 24 Navy 21

This game is extremely hard to pick. Memphis is favored on the road, but the Midshepmen toppled an early playoff contender two weeks ago with a win over #6 Houston. Both teams saw star quarterbacks (Paxton Lynch and Keenan Reynolds, respectively) depart last season, but have maintained success. I’ll take the line in this one; Memphis will pull of the road upset.

TCU 33, 12 West Virginia 41

After not choosing to expand on Monday, the Big  12’s newest members, TCU and West Virginia, meet up in week 8. TCU has had a tough schedule, but fought all the way back to contend with #16 Oklahoma in a 52-46 home loss three weeks prior. West Virginia has started off great this season at 6-0, and picked up a convincing Big 12 road win at Texas Tech last season. I see this one materialzing as a shootout, wit TCU and star QB Kenny Hill taking the L at WVU.

19 Utah 16, UCLA 7

Utah has once again emerged as a quiet contender out West in the Pac-12. Preseason #16 UCLA has yet to live up to the hype this season. I forsee Utah coming out with a solid, clean road win vs. the Bruins.

17 Arkansas 28, 21 Auburn 24

This game has the makings for a classic. Arkansas has excited me this season, and aside from not showing up for the second half vs. Texas A&M last month, has shown their skill their only other loss in playing well vs. #1 Alabama, and handling their out-of-conference schedule. This same matchup was won by Arkansas in 2OT thriller in Fayetteville last year. Auburn has played well recently despite two early losses, good losses vs. Clemson and Texas A&M at that, but Arkansas will win in another SEC Saturday night classic.

Oregon St. 14, 5 Washington 63

A few weeks ago, I would stood up as one of Washington’s biggest doubters. Then, they beat Stanford and Christian McCaffrey 44-7 at home. The then went on to put up 70 points on the road at Oregon. I don’t care if Oregon’s having a down year; 70 points on the road at another Power 5 conference school is impressive. Jake Browning and the  Huskies will beat up another Oregon school this weekend.

11 Houston 35, SMU 21

Greg Ward and the Cougars have had a strange season- proving their worth with a neutral site win vs preseason #6 Oklahoma in Houston after the Peach Bowl upset of Florida State last season, and have roughed up AAC competition with the exception of a tough loss to #24 Navy a few weeks ago. Houston will pick up a nice win this weekend up the road in Dallas.

2 Ohio St. 35, Penn St. 24

My roomate is a Penn State fan, so I wish the Nitanny Lions the best for his sake. However, #2 Ohio State has distinguished itself as a National Championship contender by virtue of the arm of J.T. Barrett. Penn State won’t be a pushover, but I see Ohio State emerging victorious in this one on their path to the playoff.

23 Ole Miss 27, 25 LSU 23

The last time these two teams met in Death Valley, two  seasons ago, LSU beat #3 Ole Miss in an old-fashioned 10-7 defensive showdown. This year’s edition may not turn out exactly like that matchup, as LSU’s Leonard Fournette and Ole Miss’ Chad Kelly were both watching that game from the sidelines. They’ll have a huge impact offensively. I like what I’ve seen from Ole Miss so far this season; I see them emerging with a good SEC road win this week.

Middle Tennessee 21, Missouri 42

Missouri has been a strange team to watch this  season. They’ve performed like a top offense vs. Non ‘Power 5 schools’ (Eastern Michigan, Delaware State), averaging 70.0 PGG in those two games, while putting together cringe-worthy performances, garnered by an offense that is not much more than anemic, averaging 14.8 PPG vs. Power 5 teams. This game won’t be a pushover, especially not for this team, but I see the Mizzou’s non power 5 success continuing  in this one, and QB Drew Lock, who somehow still leads the SEC in passing yards, re-gaining some confidence.

 

NBA Playoff Predictions in October

EASTERN CONFERENCE

  1. Cleveland 56-26
  2. Indiana 52-30
  3. Boston 51-31
  4. Toronto 49-33
  5. Detroit 48-34
  6. Atlanta 44-38
  7. Charlotte 43-39
  8. Chicago 42-40
    Washington 40-42
    New York 37-45
    Miami 36-46
    Milwaukee 37-45
    Orlando 31-51
    Philadelphia 27-55
    Brooklyn 19-63

PLAYOFF PREDICTIONS

Quarter Finals

Cleveland over Chicago
Indiana over Charlotte
Boston over Atlanta
Detroit over Toronto

Semifinals

Cleveland over Detroit
Indiana over Boston

Conference Finals

Cleveland over Indiana

WESTERN CONFERENCE

  1. Golden State 66-16
  2. San Antonio Spurs 59-23
  3. Utah 49-33
  4. L.A. Clippers 47-35
  5. Portland 45-37
  6. Oklahoma City 44-38
  7. Houston 44-38
  8. Dallas 42-40
    Memphis 38-44
    Denver 37-45
    Minnesota 36-46
    New Orleans 34-48
    Phoenix Suns 32-50
    Sacramento Kings 30-52
    L.A. Lakers 26-56

PLAYOFF PREDICTIONS

Quarterfinals

Golden State over Dallas
San Antonio over Houston
Utah over Oklahoma City
Portland over L.A. Clippers

Semifinals
Golden State over Portland
Utah over San Antonio

Conference Finals
Golden State over Utah

AWARD PREDICTIONS

MVP: Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio

Mizzou hockey falls in Border War on Ice

JEFFERSON CITY, MO- In the first home matchup of the 2016-17 season, Mizzou men’s club hockey took a 6-3 loss at the hands of the visiting Kansas Jayhawks.

While many Mizzou athletic teams have abandoned the ‘Border War’- the rivalry game between Kansas and Mizzou- Mizzou hockey has kept it up. The teams are scheduled to meet 5 times this season.

In front of roughly 200 fans at Jefferson City’s Washington Park Ice Arena, a solid Mizzou contingency saw their Tigers start off slow. Kansas overwhelmingly possessed the puck in the Tiger defensive zone all throughout the first period, and added two goals. The Jayhawks would lead by a 2-0 tally entering the second period.

The Tigers returned to the ice in the second much more determined. Five minutes in, Mizzou forward Matt Baker went top shelf to halve Kansas’ lead at 2-1. Shortly after that, Mizzou roared back into contention with a Hassan Beig one-timer that tied the game at 2-2. It was almost a different game compared to the first period.

In the third period, the frustration boiled over for both teams, as multiple scrums, and a legitimate fight broke out, initiated by a Jayhawk. Both teams were assessed penalties.

Kansas would strike first in the third period by virtue of a Jimmy Samuels a crafty wrist shot from the left side that found the back of the net. They’d add another goal after some sulky passing led to Jack Holbrook’s second goal of the night. A sense of urgency came about the Tigers, but Kansas would put the game out of reach with their 3rd goal of the period. Mizzou would add a late goal, followed by an empty-netter by the Jayhawks.

Kansas took game one of the series, 6-3. There’s no love lost between these two, especially after tonight’s chippy matchup, and the teams take the ice for game two of the series on Saturday afternoon, again in Jefferson City. Next semester, they’ll meet in Independence, MO on February 23, to settle the series.

Celebrity Worship will always leave you unfulfilled

Speaking generally, today’s generation (specifically- even though I hate this term as I never hear it used in a positive context- ‘millennials’) has a huge problem on their hands- celebrity worship.

If you look around the high-profile media landscape, celebrities are the infatuation of the market. Almost every news source invests large amounts of time and resources on covering the ins and outs of the lives of celebrities. For a while, all I could do was wonder why.

A specific incidence of celebrity worship occurred right before I opened up my laptop. I’ve mentioned before how I am a huge user of the popular social media app Snapchat. Today, the featured a special avenue to where users could send in their personal pictures and videos wishing the popular musician and pop culture idol Beyonce Knowles a happy birthday, and celebrate with her.

First off I just want to say that this is no mean an attack on Beyonce. She has done a lot of good for the world and has inspired many. However, just the fact that Snapchat went out of its way to glorify a celebrity on their birthday is abhorrent. Not only is the app itself literally worshipping the celebrity by adorning them with their own personal means of inflating their ego, but they’re also encouraging their users to engage in this behavior.

For a long time prior to this, I struggled with the concept of why anyone would be so reverent to any celebrity. Speaking generally, time and time again they mess up; be it high profile cases of breaking like athlete O.J Simpson or straight up falls from glory like singer Lindsey Lohan. What is the point of devoting your time, energy or even thoughts to these people?

I remember a specific time when I ranted on this to my closest friend, Adam Kronenberger, and he really explained it best- he said ‘Those who worship celebrities are looking for their God on Earth.’

When he said that, it clicked for me, and resonated to the point where i still remember those words. That’s exactly it. Those who doubt our God, the ever-present, ever-loving force that provides all the good in our life, look for their savior on this Earth.

They want something tangible. They want a God something they can see, hear immediately, smell, touch, and oh yeah- pay to even be in the presence of.

But the thing is, no matter how much they see, hear, smell, touch, or pay the celebrity they worship on this life- they’ll never be saved.

You see, our God requires they key element of faith. He doesn’t need us to touch him, to see him, and certainly not to pay him to be in his presence. He’s all around us in every aspect of our life. He simply just needs the O.K. from you.

Christ-follower C.S. Lewis said it best- “I believe in Christianity as I believe in the sun. Not because I see it, but because I see everything around me.”

A celebrity might never even acknowledge your presence, even if you devote a life-long fandom towards them. On the contrary, our God has loved you from the start. He’s seen out and fine-tuned every aspect of your life, and sent his son to die for every person’s sins, past, present and future.

To close, I want to make it clear- there’s nothing wrong with enjoying the talents or respecting the artists who have achieved fame on this Earth. However, as Christians we must stay strong and keep an energized division between worship and respect. There are too, plenty of people who have achieved earthly fame and yet keep their devotion to God first and foremost.

To those who don’t yet know Christ, but find themselves worshipping a celebrity, I encourage you to break free from the enslaving mindset of celebrity worship and turn your life over to Christ, truly the only one worthy of praise. His love not only offers more fulfillment than any celebrity ever could, but simply acknowledging his presence ensures the precious gift of remaining by his side for all of eternity.

 

Ranking SEC Football programs based on overall merit

College football is back. Personally, I find it the most exciting sport to watch from home, and this year, I get to be a part of it here at an SEC School- The University of Missouri. Being in the SEC is truly an elite distinction. In my most recent class, Religion and Pop Culture, we actually discussed the idea that SEC football in and of itself is a religion. Very few things in our culture evoke the sense of pride and emotion that SEC football does. To set the tone for Saturdays in SEC country, I put together a list of where each team stands headed into the 2016 season. One thing to remember is college football is cyclical in nature, and obviously each school has been higher or lower on this list from a season-to-season basis.

14. Mississippi Bulldogs | 541 wins | .491 win % | 0 SEC or National Championships | Joined: 1932

Mississippi State has grown exponentially in recent years. Flashes of success including rising to the #1 rank in the AP poll in 2014 have landed the Bulldogs some decent recruits. Despite this, they’ve struggled the most out of any of the SEC’s founding teams.

13. Kentucky Wildcats | 593 wins | .495 win % | 2 SEC, 1 National Championship | Joined: 1932

Kentucky football will always have the huge roadblock in just being a pure basketball school. They struggle to land big recruits and win games today, but have had some success decades prior, capturing the 1950 National Championship led by legend Bear Bryant.

12. Vanderbilt Commodores | 589 wins | .496 win % | Joined: 1932

Vandy is known as the ‘Ivy League School of the South’ to some, but they have yet to ever parallel their academic reputation with Gridiron success. They have yet to capture a conference championship despite being one of the founding members, alike Mississippi State.

11. South Carolina Gamecocks | 587 wins,  .511 win % | Joined: 1991

South Carolina joined the SEC in 1991 and have seen success recently, though they’ve yet to capture a SEC or National Championship in program history. They’ve been a contender in the SEC East with the help of Steve Spurrier’s 2006 arrival and look to soon parlay tradition into landing big recruits and success on the field.

10. Missouri Tigers | 688 wins, .550 win % | Joined: 2012

Since joining the SEC in 2012, Missouri has seen flashes of success, capturing back-to-back SEC East Division Championships in 2013 and 2014 only to fall short each time in the SEC Championship game. A long football legacy led by superstar coaches Don Faurot and Gary Pinkel sees the Tigers win an impressive 688 program wins, and the Tigers look to be a contender out of the East for years to come.

9. Ole Miss Rebels | 655 wins | .563 win % | 6 SEC, 3 National Championships | Joined: 1932

One of college football’s most traditional programs, Mississippi has  consistently produced great football and can be considered a cornerstone Southern football program. They were most successful from 1954-63, capturing five conference titles, but today always seem a threat to shake things up in the SEC Western Division.

8. Arkansas Razorbacks | 700 wins | .588 win % | 1 National Championship | Joined: 1991

Leaving the Big 8 in 1991, Arkansas has seen rivalries form among SEC schools, establishing a steady reputation for a pesky contender out of the SEC West. Although they won a divisional title as recently as 2006, the Hogs have yet to reign supreme among the Southeastern conference.

7. Texas A&M Aggies | 718 wins | .602 win % | 3 National Championships

Since 2012, the proud school of Texas A&M have ushered in a new era of football culture in College Station. They’ve produced a Heisman trophy winner in Johnny Manziel, and have started off many of their SEC seasons strongly, only to see it fall apart later in the season. The Aggies have a respectful football legacy and routinely land big recruits in this new era.

6. Florida Gators | 701 wins | .630 win % | 8 SEC, 3 National Championships

One of the most recognizable college football programs in America, the Gators routinely find success in almost every era. Gainesville has racked up 8 SEC titles total, and two National Championships in 2006 and 2008.

5. Auburn Tigers | 749 wins | .632 win % | 8 SEC, 2 National Championships

Auburn has established a long-lasting legacy of success, appearing in recent National Championships in 2011 and 2014, walking away with one title. Huge names like Bo Jackson and Cam Newton have stopped through Auburn, and helped establish itself as one of the SEC’s most elite forces.

4. Georgia Bulldogs | 788 wins | .649 win % | 12 SEC, 2 National Championships

Georgia has consistently put together wins out of Athens and today is a force for SEC East titles year after year. Led by big names, strong defenses, and shooting stars like Herschel Walker and Matthew Stafford have helped Georgia cement their SEC football legacy.

3. LSU Tigers | 771 wins | .650 win % | 11 SEC, 3 National Championships

Football in ‘Death Valley’ is no joke. LSU routinely puts together potent offenses and seems to often be a player to take home the conference championship. They’ve appeared in 3 National Championships in the last decade and are one of the most recognizable SEC teams.

2. Tennessee Volunteers | 820 wins | .680 win % |  13 SEC, 6 National Championships

Rocky Top has seen some elite football played over the years. Stars like Peyton Manning have established a culture of winning at Neyland Stadium, and today, led by a strong offense, Tennessee looks to add on another one of their 13 SEC titles.

1. Alabama Crimson Tide | 864 wins | .718 wins % | 25 SEC, 16 National Championships

Alabama has truly been a model program as far as SEC and really college football success in general. It seems year in and year out that the Tide are the team to beat, and it’s difficult to remember a time where they weren’t near the top of any ranking. Legends old and new have established themselves as stars at Alabama, legendary coaches arise and usher in unparalleled success and leadership. 25 National Titles to go with a whopping 16 National Championships (including 4 out of the last 7) are two numbers that may not ever be topped by a fellow SEC school.

 

 

The Thrill of the Chase

The University of Missouri’s Journalism school (a.k.a. the J School, the World’s Journalism School, etc.) is well-known for attracting out-of-state students (like myself) not only for its renowned classroom experience, but for the opportunity of immersive experience in the journalism field.

I mentioned in my last post about how I am fortunate enough to have the opportunity to write for the student-produced paper of Mizzou, The Maneater, covering the men’s and women’s golf teams. This is a great opportunity, and I’m humbled to have the opportunity to gain experience so quickly.

One thing that people outside of the journalism world know about writing on a paper is deadlines. I got one two days before my freshman year started- produce a feature story by August 29.

When I looked at the calendar, that time frame was a bit daunting initially. Monday the 22nd rolled around, and I had nothing yet. I began poking around and searching for any material on the internet that could suffice as concrete details for my feature story.

Boy, am I glad I didn’t go too far with that would-have-been disaster.

I woke up Tuesday, went to my 8:00 am class, and decided to use the time between my classes (a solid 6.5 hours) to get my every-other-day workout in. Fortunately, I had thought earlier to set my phone to receive notifications when @MizzouMensGolf sends out a Tweet on Twitter. They did this morning, and the Tweet consisted of the following GIF and captioned: “First day of official practice got us like:”

riding the bull

“First day of practice, I thought. This is my chance.” I hurried through the rest of my workout and scurried to my car to jump on this opportunity. I got over to Gustin course- which was very close to my dorm- not knowing what I would find. As I asked a nice gentleman in the pro shop for a practice schedule, he informed me that the Mizzou team does not play at Gustin course.

Welp. Showing my inexperience I guess.

I thanked him for his time and hurried across town to where the team actually did play- The Old Course at Hawthorne. Not knowing what to expect, I pulled up to the Mizzou Golf Building and saw an open door.

There was assistant coach Grant Milner, whom I introduced myself to and was kind enough to invite me into his office to print out a schedule of the team’s practices. He even went as far as setting me up with an interview for my story with two of the stars of Mizzou golf- brothers Will and Matt Echelmier.

The guys were genuinely kind people, and we made casual conversation as we started the interview. As I listened to their responses, I began to process how funnily the events of the day had worked out- and how well my article was coming together.

We concluded the interview, Coach Milner walked me out and offered me his phone number and really put me in a good position to cover the team this year as I left the club. Bar none, my first experience with Mizzou Golf was top-notch.

As I returned to my dorm, it occurred to men just how arbitrary the day was- I only knew about the practice because of Twitter, I got there just on time because of a detour, I got in because a door was open, and I got the material necessary to write my article because the players were waiting out a rain storm. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention- it was raining during all this. The thrill of the chase of my first college player interviews was almost blinding.

God just had a great plan for this day, and I’m glad I lived for the moment, prayed and thought my plan before acting, and he showed me the rewards. It just goes to show that his plan is always worth trusting.

But the best part- this day’s not even over. And the even better part? It’s only day 2 of my freshman year.

The undermining and somewhat coincidental detail of it all is my first Journalism class ever doesn’t even get going for another 3o minutes. Can’t wait to get there.

I’ll be sure to link to my story once it’s up on the Maneater.

 

Thinking out Loud: ‘Twas the night before Freshman year

OK so it’s day five since I moved in at the University of Missouri. So far, I’ve been to MizzouRec (our state-of-the-art student recreation facility) five separate occasions. I love the workout equipment, top-notch basketball courts, and the resort-like swimming accommodations. I’ve played FIFA on XBOX with some sophomores from the third floor, I’ve bummed around with some new friends, and tried three different dining halls.

My biggest initial observation- it’s all gone by SO FAST.

These five days have been some of the fastest of my life. I’m watching the NASCAR race in my dorm right now, and I feel like 5 laps at Bristol Motor Speedway equates to how I’ve perceived each day since I arrived on campus.

So if these five days the university allots us to settle into campus before class starts went by this fast, I know Freshman year is gonna go fast. That being said, I decided to set some goals to keep myself on course amidst this time vortex. I actually watched a video today that talked about how writing your goals down keeps yourself more accountable for your goals and dreams, and I hope this will do so.

  1. Stay close to my faith. This is the most imperative. While most of my peers will dedicate their lives to Alcohol and Sex throughout this time period, I must firstly dedicate myself to my faith. I firmly believe that I can have a great college experience while keeping God first. I pray each and every day for the strength and determination daily to firstly impact others’ lives who might not know Christ, and secondly, make great grades and gather knowledge necessary to fuel my passion.
  2. Make top-tier grades. This one is not a choice. I cannot let my grades slip. First off, that won’t cut it with my family, who was kind enough to help me with college financially. I owe it to them to obtain my degree with flying colors. I must prioritize my academics. Beyond upholding my promise to my family, I also have to make at least a 3.0 GPA to continue in the prestigious school of Journalism. I firmly believe and will dedicate myself to achieving this goal.
  3. Gain valuable experience. I’m humbled to say this year I received the opportunity to cover the University of Missouri men and women’s golf team for the Maneater newspaper. After my faith and classwork, I’m excited to dedicate myself to producing outstanding content for the paper, in addition to helping out at the KCOU radio station on campus to gain valuable experience. I pray that I will dedicate myself to this as well as my studies.
  4. Improve to peak physical condition. This is a new pursuit of mine. This morning, I decide to don my University of Missouri sleeveless basketball uniform to wear at MizzouRec. I played a quick game of pickup basketball, and began my workout. It wasn’t until I lifted some weight in front of a mirror that I realized just how frail I looked. I’ve always been really skinny, but right now I sit at 19.5 BMI- just 1.0 more than being underweight. but my goal now that I have regular access to a gym is to gain muscle. There’s no hiding my inexperience, but I want to gain experience in a safe way that builds muscle. After my faith, studies, and commitment to the paper, I will spend time crafting my body to peak physical condition. It’s hard to explain what I view peak physical condition, but I’ll know it when I get there.
  5. Make new friends, try new things, uphold Mizzou traditions. Making new friends has been a weird experience so far. I get along with my roommate, and I have several friends I made at Summer Welcome (our school’s orientation) that I’ve kept in contact with so far. However, beyond that, it’s just been a few quick introductions, a few ‘where you from’s,’ and not much else. I read in the Maneater Friday how a writer felt a similar feeling, and I pray that God would lead me to a group of friends that either, A) Knows God and have similar beliefs, or B) friends I can lead to God. I also want to step out of my comfort zone a little bit. I’m willing to try new activities, go out of my way to say hello to my classmates, and be outgoing about making new friends. I had a friend of mine a year older than me who offered the advice to A) spend as little time in my dorm as possible and B) go up to people (because they’re likely in the same boat as you) and introduce myself. I am excited to do so. I have faith in his plan that I will make great friends, and I will be patient as I trust the process.

As I sit in my dorm ready to undergo the symbolic transformation of outsider to entrance into the University, Tiger Walk- where the freshman run past the columns, I am excited for these coming years. I want to make them as great as possible, but it all starts with step one- Freshman year, and the main goal of this post was to hold myself accountable.

Taking the temparature of the MLB Trade Market and offering 3 trade predictions

With the MLB Trade Deadline falling on August 1st this season, baseball fans will have more time to take in one of the best times of the year- the trade deadline. Year after year, baseball general manager’s lines will be busy with trade offers. There will be sellers– teams who are not contending for a playoff spot and will focus on exchanging major league talent for prospects in hope for the future, buyers– just the opposite of the sellers- hoping to make a playoff run. Beyond just the sellers, there are teams who might engage in a fire sale– mediocre teams considering trading most of their veteran players (especially star players with expensive contracts) for cheaper and younger players. (Definition- Wikipedia- Fire Sale).

I split this article into three sections, evaluating the buyers and sellers, the fire sellers, and my trade predictions.

Possible sellers– Pittsburgh, Atlanta, Milwaukee, Tampa Bay, Oakland

Possible buyers– Miami, Washington, New York Mets, LA Dodgers, Texas, Kansas City

Potential fire sale- New York Yankees, Chicago White Sox

The sellers control the market, so listed below are possible trades and the corresponding buyer interest.

The Buyers and the Sellers

Pittsburgh already began selling starting Saturday, shipping CP Mark Melancon to fellow National League playoff contender Washington on Saturday. The Pirates are 3.0 GB of a Wild Card spot as of July 30.

Atlanta already moved SP Lucas Harrell and RP Dario Alvarez to Texas on Monday, but they might not be done yet. Division rival New York could be interested in an infielder to replace SS Jose Reyes, who appears bound for the disabled list. Erick Aybar appears to be a good fit.

Milwaukee according to sources has heavily shopped All-Star C Jonathan Lucroy. Cleveland appears interested, as Lucroy would replace currently injured C Yan Gomes for an immediate offensive boost to the first place Indians. However, Gomes is locked into a long-term deal, and Cleveland might not want to create a catching-competition between the two once Gomes returns. The New York Mets have reportedly offered C Travis D’Arnaud, which seems like a perfect deal for both sides to me. Milwaukee adds a young backstop with playoff experience and a high ceiling while the Mets bolster their chances at a deep playoff run with the consistency of Lucroy.

Tampa Bay has been rumored to move starting pitching for weeks. They’ve been associated with Texas and Miami, two buyers in search of starting pitching. However, recent moves from the teams appear to show that Tampa Bay’s asking price on starting pitchers Matt Moore, a young lefty who started his career with lots of promise, Jake Odorizzi, a talented righty who has pitched to a solid 3.88 ERA, and Drew Smyly, another right hander, is too high. If any starter is moved, it’s likely Odorizzi, as his recent performance has his trade value higher than ever. Tampa really needs a big bat for the future like Joey Gallo of Texas, but I would be surprised if the Rangers move him for anyone other than Chris Archer (not previously mentioned but still a likely trade candidate) or Odorizzi. Evan Longoria is another trade candidate, and prior to San Francisco acquiring INF Eduardo Nunez from Minnesota Friday evening, I would describe the Giants as a perfect fit. Now, the Los Angeles Dodgers could be a likely trade partner. A blockbuster deal could see L.A. snag Longoria and one of Tampa’s starting pitchers, but remains unlikely.

Oakland selling on Saturday trading OF Billy Burns to Kansas City, a team desperately trying to fight for a Wild Card spot. Other A’s assets that could be moved are SP Sonny Gray, a one-time elite RHP whose trade value is at an all-time low after a poor 2016- and LHP Rich Hill- and offseason acquisition who leads the team in wins and strikeouts. Texas and Miami could be interested in Hill.

Fire Sale Candidates

The Chicago White Sox seem to be a likely candidate for a fire sale. The Sox were the team to beat in the American League back in May, but have slipped back to below .500. For a team that hasn’t made the playoffs since 2008, the team might move talent like SP Chris Sale for high-level prospects. Other assets include LHP Jose Quintana, who has pitched to an impressive 2.89 ERA, or veteran OF Melky Cabrera. No sources have identified any trade partners for the three; it is purely speculation after evaluating previous market trends and seller behavior.

In theory, the New York Yankees should be all over a fire sale. The team sits in fourth place in the AL East as of July 30 and has is the fourth-oldest club in the MLB with an average age of 27.7 years old. They took a step towards this by dealing closer Aroldis Chapman to the Cubs Monday. However, moving Chapman  (a likely ‘rental player’ consdering the fact that he’s a free agent this offseason) is not enough. The Yankees have assets that could be very valuable to contenders, such as powerful hitters Mark Teixera, Brian McCann, and more notably Carlos Beltran- an All-Star this season. Each could fetch New York a valuable return, and the Yankees could be contending soon if they bring in higher level prospects. Though their is little emperical evidence to back this up, given past trends and the trade behavior of current GM Brian Cashman, New York will likely stand pat, thanks to a World-Series-or-bust pedigree set forth by the franchise’s proud history.

Trade Predictions

Speculation can go on all day, but these are three trades I could legimately see happening by Monday’s deadline.

Texas acquires SP Jake Odorizzi from Tampa Bay in exchange for RHP Luke Jackson and OF Lewis Brinson.

Texas gets their starting pitcher, while also keeping future star Joey Gallo. They don’t get Odorizzi for cheap however, as Tampa acquires two strong prospects in RP Luke Jackson and Rangers #2 prospect Lewis Brinson. IF Texas throws in Brinson, I believe this deal could get done.

New York Mets acquire C Jonathan Lucroy from Milwaukee in exchange for C Travis D’Arnaud.

Like I stated earlier, this trade just makes a lot of sense both ways.

Seattle acquires OF Ichiro Suzuki from Miami in exchange for RP Vidal Nuno.

Some years, there are trades like the one above in where reunions happen. Ichiro Suzuki, 42, likely in his final season, who will likely don a Mariners cap in the MLB Hall-of-Fame one day, is 2 hits away from 3000 at the time of publication. Why not let him achieve it where he belongs, even if it’s the 2016 mediocre Mariners? As far as Miami’s return, a solid reliever never hurts a playoff case.

The thing that captivates MLB fans about the trade deadline is no matter how close a ‘source’ or journalist is, the only ones who know how it will play out is the General Managers, in their office, at the time of the trade. I cannot wait to see how the deadline plays out this year, and I will update this article as the events unfold. Thank you for reading.

* All details regarding possible trades were first reported by MLB insiders on Twitter, ESPN, or MLBtraderumors.com.