Basketball team at Orthodox Jewish Beren Academy has to forfeit in state tournament because game conflicts with Sabbath

Prior to this week, the Beren Academy boys basketball team was on its way to a Texas state championship. The Stars are 23-5 on the season and were scheduled to take on Dallas Covenant this Friday in the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools 2A state tournament. Instead, they will have to forfeit. Beren is a Jewish Orthodox school and the game was slated for Friday night at 9 p.m. Beren students must observe the Jewish Sabbath from sundown on Friday until sundown on Saturday. According to the Houston Chronicle, Beren officials appealed to TAPPS to try to have the game moved to an earlier time, but their appeal has been denied.

“It’s disappointing. I’ve been here 10 years and I’ve always known where our priorities lie,” Beren coach and athletic director Chris Cole said. “We were hopeful and optimistic going in that we could be able to do both — adhere to the religious beliefs here and play basketball.”

Dallas Covenant will instead face Kerrville Our Lady of the Hills, which is the team Beren beat by a score of 69-42 last week. To this point, Beren was successful in rescheduling two of its Friday and Saturday playoff games earlier in the month so they could play earlier in the day. Teams are not allowed to play on Sundays because of traditional Christian warship, which limits opportunities to reschedule games.

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Mike Leach Wanted His God Squaders Using Their Entire Brains

Have you ever wondered what goes on during those infamous pregame, halftime, and postgame speeches? And no, I’m not talking about players’ dongs being shown on national TV, but the speeches the coaches make. Well thanks to the efforts of Orangebloods who used the Texas Open Records Act, we now have been blessed to see video of postgame speeches made by former Texas Tech coach, Mike Leach.

The first video comes after Texas Tech’s 42-21 win over Kansas this past season. In the video, Leach calls out some of his religious players for not playing hard enough, referring to them as “god squadders.” The second video comes after Texas Tech’s 20-13 win over Baylor. Leach goes into a six-minute long rant with tons of cussing. He makes several valid points and lashes out against his players for feeling entitled to success. These videos will likely be used by Texas Tech in defense for their pending court case involving Leach’s firing from the school. These videos don’t mean much to me because its commonly known that coaches cuss and use extreme measures to fire up their players. This also doesn’t change my belief that Adam James was lazy and felt entitled. Anyway, here are the videos, and beware of all the cussing:

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Magic Will Beat the Lakers, For God Is on Their Side

Funny, wasn’t it only a few months ago we were going through this same spiel when Kurt Warner was playing in the Super Bowl? At that time their coach Ken Whisenhunt had said the Cardinals had an edge because of their religious beliefs. Well Dwight Howard’s not playing football but he’s in the basketball equivalent of the Super Bowl — the NBA Finals. While Howard’s been known to thank God following games, he’s never gone as far as he did with Chris Sheridan. Here’s how Sheridan described things after Orlando’s Game 6 clinching win over the Cavs:

Earlier, in the locker room, I had asked Howard to give me one or two reasons I should consider picking the Magic to defeat the Lakers.

“God” was his answer, which was met with the counterargument that the Lord probably has better things to worry about than who wins a basketball game, and besides, religion and politics are usually best kept out of sports stories.

“That’s the reason, I’m telling you,” Howard replied.

Mickael Pietrus apparently said that Rashard Lewis would be the key while Sheridan is of the belief that Alston will be the key. For Dwight, it’s the Lord. I still bring up the same argument — doesn’t that imply that God doesn’t like the Lakers as much? It just doesn’t make sense to me. I like what owner Rich DeVos said the most: “We’ll be the underdogs, but as long as we get a fair shake on the refereeing, we’ll be fine.” Amen to that.

Kurt Warner Actually Says God Told Him to Sign with Arizona

When I first called for the Cardinals to stop screwing around and get Kurt Warner signed already, we joked around that the lord had told him he deserved a raise and that he should use the 49ers for leverage. Well, turns out we weren’t too far from the truth. Check out this beauty that Warner unloaded in his press conference on Wednesday regarding his visit with the Niners and ultimate choice to re-sign with the Cardinals:

“[My family] didn’t want to close a door if God wanted it open. So that’s what we went into it with — ‘where does God want us, that’s where we’re going to be. No matter what the money is or what the situation, that’s where we want do be.’ Very early in the process in San Francisco, as many good things that are out there, I just knew very quickly that [Arizona] is where I was supposed to be. I told my wife probably 45 minutes into that I felt God say ‘you’re supposed to be in Arizona’.”

It’s really a shame that God didn’t tell Kurt to hold out for a few months until the Cardinals paid him what he was worth, because that’s really what would have been fair. Why was the lord siding with the cheapskate Bidwells on this one? Why didn’t God send the Bidwells a message in their sleep to pay Warner the fair amount of $29 million instead of $23 million? One other tidbit I’d like to add is that I’m pleased Warner called his agent and told the agent to get a deal done with the Cardinals, no playing games. A lot of players lose sight of the fact that the agents work for them and should do what the player tells them. Often times agents give players bad advice. Just see Ramirez, Manny.

The Cardinals Will Win, For God Is on Their Side

I’m all for guys looking for mental edges when it comes to competing on the field. If a player thinks he’s going to win because he has one sock on inside-out, or because he watched his favorite movie the night before, or because he ate his special meal before the game, so be it. I have no problem with guys using mental ploys to try and gain an edge. The one exception I have is when it comes to religion. Why would God be invoked in a football game, particularly if players on both teams pray? Did some pray better than others? Or what about injuries sustained during the game, how are those accounted for? Kurt Warner’s gratitude for Jesus is well-documented, and Ken Whisenhunt has gone so far as to say it gives them an edge, as pointed out by my boy Arnie Spanier:

Karlos Dansby, who along with Mr. Warner is one of about 15 Cardinals that attend chapel together before games, said “you have to put God first in everything you do.”

Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt went so far as to say the religious nature of his team had helped them win. “I see it as a belief that mirrors our team,” Mr. Whisenhunt said. “A team is about believing in something that is larger than yourself.”

Much like Tim Tebow with Florida, the invocation of religion/Jesus/God to football games is too much for me. And how can Ken Whisenhunt agree that it gives them an edge? Is the opposing team getting shafted? Too bad these stories about the Cardinals have to get in the way of some really good ones on their, like the great deeds of Edgerrin James.