When a man's face is lined deeply, it prompts me to wonder where has he been, what has he accomplished, and how he feels about his life.
The code name for the man above is JCI. He is pensive. He is smart. He shows emotion only during certain, very private circumstances.
I asked to take a picture of JCI in Nov. 2009. He agreed.
The beauty of the picture is the sunlight and how it shines so vividly, enhancing the image of a man, now 66 years old. The beauty in the picture is the inspiration for this article.
The picture touched me, deeply. The first time I took a picture of JCI, after we had absolutely no communication for about 26 years, there was a similar image, with rays of light, and the colors of a rainbow, subdued, yet visible.
It was as though God was telling me to encourage JCI, and others, through my writing.
I have tried to do so.
I write. I take pictures to capture moments like the one shown in the photo. You don't really plan for pictures like these. It just happens by divine timing and arrangement.
The picture profiles a man who has made his mark in history. I, however, veil him in mystery, until the complete story is written, published, and recorded.
He is a man who has always been kind to me. He encouraged and inspired my writing since 2007. He even suggested I write about sports.
I, then, must write about sports as aggressively, and passionately, as he played his sport. I do so in honor of him and his generation of sportsmen.
So here I am. Bleacher Report is my platform. The stage is set for the telling of a great adventure.
The articles are my rehearsal performances. Each one rising higher in interest, and, perhaps, excellence. I am experiencing a crescendo of creativity in sports writing.
In any case, it is catharsis for my soul. For in America, your dreams can be deferred and busted. In America, your hopes can be crushed and crippled.
But this is also the America that has a balm in Gilead, a place to be restored, respected for your contributions, and forgiven for your debts, and forgiven for what your debtors may owe you.
Some may wonder why I write so often. I can answer in a candid way. My writing is spawned by unusual events and other things in my life.
The bird on the field during the Oakland Raiders game inspired several stories.
The feather on the ground the next day squeezed out another creative outpouring.
A second feather near my car on a third day and in almost the same position, this one wet, caused me to connect to a Gideon experience.
And, on that day that I became pensive, I looked down and I found a watch, a symbol of time, perhaps, of God's timing.
I have had my sign to go to writers' war, to discuss issues in sports, in life, and circumstances in the life of those I have carefully observed during the years.
I have witnessed some who were talented and gifted in sports, but who have been crushed by accusations and the media.
I have watched great men crumble, because they have stumbled in their moral decisions and positioning. Once crumbled, only a few of those men have their images restored and redeemed in the sports media.
Another case of media madness may currently be puncturing the life of Tom Cable, and that puncture could be a death blow, not only to his personal career, but to the continuity and flow of growth and improvement we so earnestly expect for the Oakland Raiders.
Some may say that life is cruel, for Cable's transgressions, as all of us have them, pounced forward in the media at a time when he could be distracted from a challenging career as head coach of the Oakland Raiders.
So, why do I write? I write to offer alternative ways of thinking. I write to nudge those to believe in something that they cannot see with the naked eye.
I write to inspire. I write to search my own soul, to purge myself of any bitterness or pain that my life struggle may have aimed in my way, like a shotgun that blasts pellets to cause damage in many places in the lives of a human target.
As I write, I am healed. The testimony of my growth and healing rises up like a tidal wave and floods into the lives of all who hear me through my writings.
I write because I think. I think, using words, numbers, pictures, and symbols, all of which have messages embedded in them, pregnant with wisdom and knowledge, yet waiting to be released.
My type of thinking is enhanced by a revelation, from time to time, from a ray of sunlight from above, which symbolizes the illumination of the Holy Spirit. I sometimes "know" because something moves the scales from my eyes, somewhat like Paul, and I can "see" deeply and clearly.
The "call" or "anointing" on my life and writing attracts others on this site with a similar mission to write. Although we do not know each other by having a physical presence, we somehow connect in another domain.
I say this because I know how I met Leroy Watson on this site. Then there is Brent, who watches my writing and often responds with more insight and depth. There are also Kevin L. and many others.
When I started sports writing, I had no idea of the acidic, pungent comments that can be made about Al Davis, the Oakland Raiders, and even the Raider Nation. It is as though there are some who believe themselves above others, failing to realize the cyclic nature of life. Once up, now down. Once down, and, again, up.
There have been senior athletes who left professional sports, bruised and broken. Some are like birds with broken, little legs, hopping along to their next destination.
You would think that someone would be the Good Samaritan and pick them up, patch their little legs, hold them in a temporary cage, until they can spring forward, and fly on their own, again.
I have observed that the Good Samaritan did not show up in time in the lives of some retired athletes. Some senior athletes have died with broken hearts.
So I write to tell their stories. And by telling, perhaps, someone will stretch forth a helping hand.
Finally, I write to bring illumination, light, and understanding of those truths that may have been hidden in the shadows of these men's lives.
And the Word says it so clearly:
The people who walked in darkness
have seen a great light;
those who lived in a land of deep darkness—
on them light has shined.
"But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God's OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;" 1 Peter 2:9
1 Peter 2:9