How the news of Kobe Bryant's death is impacting us all

Where were you when you heard the news?

I had just gotten home from coaching my daughter's 10-11 year-old basketball game.We got crushed by Coach Tackett and his daughter Eloise.It was 28-6. After the game I told Eloise that if she kept working hard, anticipating that she would be tall like her daddy, she could be great at this game.

I rolled up to the house and as I walked into the front door, I checked the various notifications on my phone, seeing what I had missed and I saw the notification, "Kobe Bryant believed dead in tragic helicopter crash." As I made it into the family room, my wife Julee said, "Did you see the news that Kobe Bryant died?" I told her I had just seen it and then began to process the news over the afternoon.

Where were you? What was going through your mind? As a pastor here in the heart of the city, with a passion for sports and a podcast (www.visionforlife.org) that brings faith and sports together, I immediately begin to process the pain that was being felt. Like a shockwave that was rippling from the mountains of Calabasas, the nation and world were feeling the waves of pain.

Last night and today, as I've watched ESPN and listened to the radio, there is a great deal of reflection on Kobe's influence on us all, through his game and his life after the NBA. But beyond that, we are all seemingly taking inventory, realizing the life is short. It is but a breath.

As part of my career, I've had to do funerals that it is hard for which to prepare. I've done funerals ranging from a one-day old baby boy to a 95 year-old World War II bomber pilot. Last week when Cesar Cortes of Bellaire High School lost his life, we hosted a memorial candle-light vigil and then his funeral. What do you do when you find yourself at the bottom of the pit of grief? What do you do when someone in your life loses someone they love? What do we as a society do when an icon like Kobe Bryant loses his life at such an early age?

From my experience of walking people through loss and pain through the years, here are a few take-a-ways to help us know how to move forward in our pain.

1.When you don't have the words, don't say anything. There is what we call in pastoral ministry the "Ministry of Presence." The ministry of presence is our simply sitting with people and being present. We don't know what to say, but we are compelled to be with them in their pain.

When Job from the Bible lost his loved ones, his friends came around him and sat with him for seven days without saying a word. This is the ministry of presence. It was when they began to speak to try to make sense of it, that things went sideways.

If you are a person in grief, and there are those coming around you to love on you and sit with you, I want to prepare you to have grace for their words, as we don't always know what to say, and when we force it, sometimes it comes out wrong.

2.Don't waste the pain. It's humbling to hear the reflections that athletes, commentators and callers are sharing about Kobe. The fact that his daughter Gianna was on that helicopter, as well as other parents and children makes the pain of this moment extreme. As a result, our hearts are heavy with what could have been and should have been for Gianna, her sisters, her mom and her dad.

Moments like this make us take inventory in our own lives and do a long, hard evaluation. Maybe you are longing for an improved relationship with your son. Or you want to seek to repair your relationship with your wife. Maybe you have felt the need to make a career change and there is something in your gut saying, "It's time to make a change." Don't waste the pain of this moment and seek to get better. Life is short. Life is fragile and if this has taught us anything, we see that none of us is immune from suffering, loss and death. Don't waste the pain, but instead see that life is a real gift.

3.Humility wins the day. I often teach on relationships and I ask my audience, "Would you rather be right, or right?" You see, you can be right on all the facts and the figures of life. You can be right on the issues. You can be right in a fight with you spouse. And, you can be all alone.

It takes a bigger person to humble themselves and see the long view of relationships.Those who take the long view choose to be right over the long haul, versus right in the moment. To be right over the long-haul, you will have to forfeit some of your own rights and be willing to take a loss in the moment to win the greater race.

I want to encourage you to use moments like this to take inventory and see it as a catalyst for positive change in your life.This would probably be the best way to honor the loss of this legend. Honor his work-ethic and improve your game at work. Honor his love for his family by prioritizing yours and communicating your love to them. Humble yourself and draw near to those that are the most important to you. Make the most of today and hug those you love.


Roger Patterson is the author of A Minute of Vision for Men: 365 Motivational Moments to Kick-Start Your Day, pastor of West University Baptist & Crosspoint Church – Bellaire, and podcast host of Vision for Life Radio: Where Faith & Sports Collide (www.visionforlife.org) Follow Roger on Twitter @rogerpatterson.

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Houston goes up 1-0 in the series

Altuve, Correa help lift Astros to ALCS Game 1 win over Red Sox

Carlos Correa's go-ahead homer in the seventh inning of ALCS Game 1 helped lift the Astros to a 1-0 series lead. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

Despite one rough loss to the White Sox in the ALDS, the Astros looked like the dominant team they are capable of being, taking that series 3-1 to advance and taking ownership of home-field advantage in the ALCS against the Red Sox, who upset the Rays. In Game 1, despite trailing for the middle portions of the game, Houston would get more highlight moments from the faces of the franchise to start the series with a win.

Final Score: Astros 5, Red Sox 4

ALCS Series (Best of Seven): Houston leads 1-0

Winning Pitcher: Ryne Stanek

Losing Pitcher: Hansel Robles

Houston strikes first, but Boston sends Valdez to an early exit

Both starting pitchers worked in and out of trouble in the early goings of ALCS Game 1, starting with Framber Valdez in the top of the first. After erasing a leadoff single by inducing a double play, he went on to load the bases on a single and two walks but would strand all three runners to keep Boston off the board. The Astros jumped in front in the bottom half, with Jose Altuve working a leadoff walk, moving to second on a one-out single by Alex Bregman, advancing to third on a wild pitch, then ultimately scoring on a sac fly by Yordan Alvarez to put Houston ahead 1-0 after one frame.

They had a chance to extend their lead in the bottom of the second, taking advantage of a shaky inning by Chris Sale, who loaded the bases with one out as Houston would get two singles and a hit-by-pitch. That flipped the order over to the top, but a great diving catch by former Astro Kiké Hernández would end the inning. Hernández led off the top of the third against Valdez, and he would tie things up with a solo homer.

Things went downhill from there for Valdez and the Astros, as a one-out walk followed by a single gave the Red Sox the go-ahead run in scoring position. On a groundball that likely should have been a double play to end the inning, it would get through Altuve's legs, scoring a run and keeping the inning alive for Boston. They took advantage, getting an RBI double to extend their new lead to 3-1. Valdez would get one more out before Dusty Baker would give him the early hook, bringing in Yimi Garcia, who finished the frame.

A battle of the bullpens, Altuve ties it up

Like Valdez, Sale would also not make it through three innings, getting two outs while putting two on base before Boston would start their bullpen's night as well. Both sets of relievers settled the game down, with the Red Sox stranding two of Houston's runners in the third as well as the fifth, maintaining their two-run lead. After Garcia finished the third, Cristian Javier entered to eat up a couple of innings, and he would do just that by getting through two frames with just one hit, four strikeouts, and no runs.

Next, Phil Maton took over in the top of the sixth and erased a leadoff walk to keep things in striking distance for the home team. In the bottom of the sixth, Houston put another runner on base, getting a one-out single by Chas McCormick. Two batters later, with two outs, Jose Altuve provided yet another career postseason highlight, tying the game 3-3 with a two-run home to re-energize the Minute Maid Park crowd.

Astros take ALCS Game 1

Now a brand new ballgame in the top of the seventh, Brooks Raley came in to face three batters, getting two strikeouts while allowing a single before Dusty Baker would move on to Ryne Stanek, who would get the third out. With two outs in the bottom of the seventh, Carlos Correa continued his march to a monster off-season contract, putting Houston back on top with a solo homer, making it 4-3.

Houston kept the script after Stanek with the new lead in hand, going to Kendall Graveman as the setup man in the top of the eighth. Despite a two-out single, he would get out of the inning with the lead intact, putting Houston three outs away from the victory. After a walk, single, and hit by pitch to start the bottom of the eighth with the bases loaded, Altuve would drive in his third run of the game, getting a sac fly to extend the lead to two runs at 5-3.

That insurance run proved pivotal, as closer Ryan Pressly was met with a leadoff solo home run by Hernandez, his second of the night for Boston, to make it 5-4. Pressly refocused and was able to get the next three batters in order, though, wrapping up the win to start Houston off with a 1-0 series lead and putting them three wins away from advancing to the World Series.

Up Next: The two teams will have a moderately quick turnaround, with ALCS Game 2 scheduled to start at 3:20 PM Central on Saturday ahead of NLCS Game 1 between the Dodgers and Braves getting the night slot. The pitching matchup is expected to be Nathan Eovaldi for Boston, who is 1-0 with a 2.61 ERA in his two starts this postseason, going opposite Luis Garcia, who had a rough outing in the ALDS for Houston, giving up five runs without completing three innings in Chicago.

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