Christian living, Inspirational

Redeeming Passion

Del Duduit

As I informed you last week, my friend John and I recently inked a deal to write an encouraging and motivational book that examines the history of the University of Kentucky basketball.

Kentucky Passion will tip off in the Winter of 2021 from Indiana University Press.

Although we just started the manuscript last week, and it’s not due until December, I want to give you a sneak preview because one of the chapters shares a significant message.

Many movies have been made and written based on the theme of this particular chapter.

Some that come to mind are The Passion of the Christ (2004), Schindler’s List (1993), The Shawshank Redemption (1994), The Family Man (2000), and Regarding Henry (1991).

And since I am a fan of Clint Eastwood, I had to toss in my two favorites that deal with this topic: In the Line of Fire (1993) and Unforgiven (1992) which are, in my opinion, two of the best.

I am talking about the subject of redemption.

In Unforgiven, lauded as Eastwood’s masterpiece, an over-the-hill reformed gunslinger (Eastwood) comes out of retirement in a moving meditation on sin, fate, and redemption. The work garnered four Oscar awards, including best picture and director.

But I digress. Let’s get back to Kentucky Passion, and the chapter that deals with redemption.

The chapter describes player Scott Padgett, who was 6-9 and loaded with potential.

During his first year, he sat the bench and was marred with academic problems.

He was forced to sit out the next season because of bad grades, and he watched as his team won the National Championship in 1996 without him.

Here is a sneak peek:

By the time his junior season rolled around, Padgett was firmly entrenched in the starting lineup, on a team in the hunt for another championship title. 

Ever since Christian Laettner nailed the dagger into the heart of BBN in the 1992 NCAA Tournament, Kentucky fans had been actively seeking revenge against the hated Blue Devils. Their chance finally came six years later in the NCAA South Regionals in St. Petersburg, Florida. 

Padgett, together with returning veterans Jeff Sheppard, Nazr Mohammed, and Wayne Turner, comprised a No. 2-seeded UK squad that seemed eager to take on the top-seeded team from Durham. 

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Kentucky knocked off Duke, but there is more to the story.

Padgett put forth the effort and became an accomplished student in the classroom. The guy who nearly flunked out became a two-time academic All-SEC selection.

He was later selected as the 28th overall pick in the first round of the 1999 NBA Draft. He went on to play ten seasons with four different NBA teams. After his playing career ended, he served six seasons as head coach of the Samford Bulldogs.

Who would have believed it? It just goes to show you what hard work and a changed mindset can do.

Can you relate? Have you been in Padgett’s shoes? Probably not, since his shoes are huge.

But the point here is that he nearly flunked out of college. Somewhere and somehow, someone got to him and convinced and encouraged him to do better.

And it worked because he went on to enjoy enormous success. This can happen to you too.

It’s not too late, but the responsibility falls on you.

You might be in a tough situation and your support system might not expect a championship banner, but you can surprise them and bring home a big win.

Go back and finish your education. Apply for the job you feel under-qualified for and prepare for the interview. Go make an attempt to talk to the loved one you have not spoken with in a few years. Tell someone you have wronged how sorry you are.

This is on you. The time to complain is over. It’s game-day. The only two things you can control is your attitude and effort.

Will you get the job? Can you put your life back on track? Is there a way to make a wrong, right? Yes. Will it be easy? No.

In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace. (Ephesians 1: 7 KJV)

You cannot let the demons of the past prevent you from making a run and cutting down the nets.

Del Duduit is an award-winning writer and author who lives in Lucasville, Ohio with his wife, Angie. They attend Rubyville Community Church. Follow his blog at delduduit.com/blog and his Twitter @delduduit. He is represented by Cyle Young of Hartline Literary Agency.

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