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Greetings! Here’s another edition of Doyle’s Half Dozen. I welcome all feedback on the topics I cover this week.

  1. Bedlam Hero Banished

It was less than a week after Tyreek Hill ran his pivotal 92-yard touchdown punt return in the Bedlam game that helped Oklahoma State snatch a 38-35 overtime victory against the Sooners when the freshman running back turned from a hero to a villain.

As reported in the Oklahoman Hill was arrested last Thursday, Dec. 11 for domestic abuse, accused of assaulting his pregnant girlfriend. Along with suffering from her own physical ailments, the girlfriend expressed concern for her unborn baby after telling police Hill had “punched her several times in the face and stomach” and caused other forms of physical abuse.

I have mentioned before in my blog “Two Takeaways from the Rice, Mixon Cases” that everybody is vulnerable. Dear sports fan, I share your interests, and this message is very much my own personal reminder. Be careful who your heroes are.

“…All humanity is grass, and all its goodness is like the flower of the field. The grass withers, the flowers fade when the breath of the Lord blows on them; indeed, the people are grass. The grass withers, the flowers fade, but the word of our God remains forever” (Isa. 40:6b-8).

  1. Listening to Steven A. Smith

Last week, I was home at midday and was watching “First Take,” ESPN’s sports commentary show featuring Skip Bayless and Steven A. Smith. They were addressing the issue of the many NBA stars who were showing support of the black community by wearing shirts with the phrase “I Can’t Breathe” featured on the front, referencing the Eric Garner tragedy.

Steven A. shared a personal experience that he said happens fairly often in his life as an African American. Recently, he was driving his car and was pulled over by the police. As he said, this happens often, and every time it happens, he reacts the same way. He rolls down all the windows (because his windows are tinted); he places both hands on the steering wheel and looks straight ahead.

As the policeman approached Smith’s car, Steven A. asked him, “Is there a problem, officer?” According to Smith, the policeman responded in a rather harsh manner using some colorful language. Another policeman recognized Smith and told his partner who he was. After expressing his emotional rhetoric, the officer had a grimaced look and told Smith he could go.

Bayless listened to this story and was taken aback. I confess, I was too. Perhaps there is more to this story than Smith revealed, but I will take him at his word. He was matter of fact; he did not express a harsh remark about the officer. He said this is something he experiences often and responds the same way when he is pulled over. He rolls down all the windows, puts both hands on the wheel and looks straight ahead.

As I have shared before in my previous DHDs about the current issues involving police and the black community, my suggestions are to pray and listen. Consider my sharing of Steven A. Smith’s story as my way of saying that I am listening.

  1. Thunder back in the playoff picture

Less than a month ago, the Oklahoma City Thunder had a 3-11 record. Doom and gloom had set in. The talking heads already were saying it was an impossible task for the Thunder to return to the NBA playoffs this year. They were calling for Coach Scott Brooks to be let go. There was no joy in Bricktown.

A few days later, Russell Westbrook returns to the lineup after recovering from his hand injury. The All-Star guard led the Thunder to a dominating performance over the New York Knicks. In the following week, NBA MVP Kevin Durant is back from his foot injury. With both of the floor leaders back, the Thunder have collected an 8-1 record. Now there’s talk of promoting Westbrook for MVP honors, and with the way he is playing, it is understandable, as the Thunder are considered to be the most feared 8th seed in an early playoff picture.

My how quickly the world turns. It causes me to remember how fickle mankind can be. This is nothing new. Imagine how many were involved in the first observance of Palm Sunday, waving palm branches during Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem. Yet the many who rejoiced in His coming could have also been a part of those who yelled “Crucify Him!” in the following days.

  1. An observance of 12/13/14

I realize this is late. Last Saturday was a unique day in our modern day calendar structure. It was December 13, 2014. I join the many who are fascinated in trivial matters of the consecutive numbers that reflect the uniqueness of the actual date being 12/13/14, knowing it cannot happen again for another 100 years.

Though the fascination has come and gone, allow me to share some wisdom from Solomon, in honor of the uncommon calendar occurrence:

Eccl. 12:13-14 – “When all has been heard, the conclusion of the matter is fear God and keep His commands, because this is for all humanity. For God will bring every act to judgment, including every hidden thing, whether good or evil.”

  1. Early exit numbers of Exodus: Gods and Kings

Last week, I suggested going to see the movie “Unbroken” (comes out Christmas Day) over the recently-release “Exodus: Gods and Kings.” The latest Old Testament account of Moses leading his people out of Egypt led the box office last weekend, but the numbers were not epic. The movie’s budget was reported to be $140 million, and the film drew less than $25 million in its opening weekend.

I did a Google search for reviews, and the critics of this movie are growing. From its unbiblical script to casting white actors to play ethnic roles, the movie is quite plagued. I remain confident in my thought that this movie should be “passed over.”

  1. Five memorable Christmas gifts

Another list to end my DHD that reflects the season. Here’s my recollection of the five most memorable gifts that I either received, gave or remembered it being given to one of my family members during my childhood years.

  1. Tiger the boxer – He was officially a gift to my brother Jon. I was in sixth grade. Jon was in third. That Christmas morning when the brindle pup came through the front door, Jon made a noticeable gasp, and his eyes got so big. This day was the beginning of many adventures Jon and I had with Tiger who gained a partner named Sam, a fawn boxer, about a month later when we thought we lost Tiger when he ran away. Tiger and Sam were priceless pets.
  2. Legos – There were many Christmases when I would get Legos as a Christmas gift. I would spend hours building houses, ships, planes, neighborhoods, etc. with the various Lego kits I received.
  3. Jon’s G.I. Joe aircraft carrier – This is the second of three references I make of my younger brother. Jon was obsessed with the G.I. Joe action figures and all of their accessories. But no accessory made a bigger impression than the six-foot long aircraft carrier. This thing was huge when it was all put together. And Jon had no place to put the thing except on his bed, so for the entire Christmas break that year, he slept down stairs on the coach while this enormous toy possessed his regular sleeping arrangement.
  4. My Dopp kit – I know this doesn’t sound like a thrilling gift, but more than 20 years ago, Jon gave me a handy blue toiletry bag. In my years of working with college athletics, I did a lot of traveling. This dopp kit went with me everywhere, and it’s one of the most practical items I have ever used. To this day, I still use this same dopp kit. It’s hanging in my bathroom now, containing my grooming utensils.
  5. The Discipline of Grace by Jerry Bridges – I gave this book to my dad one Christmas. Bridges was one of his favorite authors. He cherished this book, and even years later he would thank me for giving it to him.