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SOUDER: This week’s sign that the apocalypse is upon us

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A good reason to think the apocalypse is about to come.

By Chuck Souder

Odd things happen all the time. That it was 80 degrees on the last day of winter this week comes to mind.

Along these lines, every week Sports Illustratedincludes in its magazine an item titled “This Week’s Sign that the Apocalypse is Upon Us,” which highlights things that have happened in the world that are somewhat odd or even bizarre in nature.

Basically, they are things that make you scratch your head and say, “If that is going on, the end of the world must be near.”

Of course, the Bible talks at some length about the end of the world – and (depending on one’s interpretation) fairly specifically about some things that will happen just preceding that event.

The items that SI posts each week don’t rise to biblical proportions, but they are still often interesting or humorous. For example, just a couple of weeks ago SI’s entry was this: “Squaw Valley resort in Olympic Valley, Calif., last week opened the world's first ski-through Starbucks.”

Or this one from last fall: “The Can-Am League's Newark Bears last week donated $2,000 to Mothers Against Drunk Driving on the same night that the team hosted a beer pong tournament.”

One item from 2005 had a local ‘flavor’: “A Louisville gift shop is selling ‘Genuine Kentucky Thoroughbred Horse Manure’ for $3.75 a bag.”

Makes you proud, doesn’t it?

Here are some other examples from the last 20 years of SI’s “Signs of the Apocalypse” (with my comments in parentheses):

§       The sports minister of Togo claims that a group of soccer players who purported to be the Togolese national team while losing, 3-0, to Bahrain last week was in fact a "completely fake" impostor squad.

§       A Singapore man was given a deferment from compulsory military service to play in a video-game competition.

§       The Ohio Senior Amateur golf championship was held in West Virginia.

§       Five teams were denied entry to Scotland for Homeless World Cup of soccer because they were too poor.

§       A New Jersey town repealed its three-decade ban on males older than 12 wearing Speedos. (Rather than being repealed, this is a law that should be enforced world-wide!)

§       Miss Wheelchair Wisconsin was stripped of her title when she was seen standing up.

§       An Oklahoma state senator wants to legalize a form of cockfighting in which the birds wear tiny boxing gloves.

§       Police in Wales had to use pepper spray to break up a brawl among charity race runners in Santa suits. (I guess it isn’t true that “the suit makes the man!”)

§       A man in Troy, N.Y., has received a U.S. patent for a table- or wall-mounted mechanical arm designed to give a sports fan watching a game alone on television a high five after an exciting play. (For the sports fan who has everything…except a friend.)

§       Houghton Mifflin's recently released American history textbook for fifth-graders, Build Our Nation, covers the Depression and the presidency of Franklin Roosevelt in 33 lines, while devoting two pages to Cal Ripken Jr. (Sounds about right…I’m pretty sure FDR couldn’t hit a curveball.)

§       Before last Saturday's Cal/Stanford game the mascots for both teams – Oski the Bear and the Stanford Tree – were required to take Breathalyzer tests.

§       Angered by a call during a soccer game in South Africa, a player pulled a knife and charged the referee, who got a gun from the sidelines and shot the player dead. (Moral: Don’t bring a knife to a gunfight.)

§       The babycenter.com Web site offers a Sports Conflict Catcher to help prospective parents plan pregnancies so childbirth won't conflict with major sports events. (Now you’ll never again have to choose between the big game and the birth of your child!)

§       James Philip, president of the Illinois state senate, said he voted against a bill to protect referees and umpires from assaults because "maybe they deserve a pop once in a while." (Haven’t all of us who played sports shared that sentiment?)

§       The Ukrainian rhythmic gymnastics team claimed it lost the European championship because it was hexed by 15 psychics hired by the Russian team. (It’s always the Russians…)

§       At least three sets of parents have named their children ESPN, or Espen, after the network. (Can there be a more fitting “sign” of our sports-crazed times?)

§       The Dartmouth crew team had to cancel practice after the coaches were attacked by an otter. (But it was a mean otter!)

§       Studios in New York, Miami and Hollywood have begun offering yoga classes for dogs. (You know, to help them unwind after a hard day’s work.)

§       Police in Norway stopped a 94-year-old runner because they thought she had escaped from a nursing home. (This grandma won’t get run over by a reindeer!)

Last week, I experienced my own such bizarre moment.

On Thursday evening after my son’s church-league basketball game, my parents and I took him to McDonald’s for a celebratory milkshake. That part wasn’t odd, as we often go there after his games.

What was odd was that there was no line. Not only that, but there were only six other customers in the whole restaurant – and not long after we sat down with our food, they all left.

 If you are following my story correctly – and if you’ve ever been in the McDonald’s here in Shelbyville – you understand why I thought to myself “the world must be coming to an end.”

In case you aren’t tracking with me, let me put it more plainly. I have been in that McDonald’s at various times from 7 a.m. to going on Midnight, on every different day of the week, and I have never seen fewer than 4,000 people there. There is alwaysa line.

In fact, while I’m standing in line I often think to myself, “This would be a good place to open a restaurant.”

So, when I saw that we had the whole place to ourselves, I thought that indeed the apocalypse was upon us.

And then it hit me: The world was not ending. UK was playing its first game of the NCAA tournament, and everyone in Shelby County was at home watching the game.

As I’m sure you are aware, UK won that game and the next, and tonight has a rematch against the only team that beat them in the regular season.

Now, as an IU fan, of course I am hoping against hope that lightning will strike twice and that my Hoosiers once again will come out victorious. (We can agree to disagree about that.) If so, many UK fans may conclude it is this week’s sign that the end is near.

However, if you’re not a basketball fan, and you want to get a Big Mac, fries and a shake with absolutely no waiting, allow me to recommend heading to the Shelbyville McDonald’s around 9:45 tonight.

You can have the place all to yourself.

 

Chuck Souder is on staff at Shelby Christian Church. You can find some of his other columns at www.SentinelNews.com/columns He can be reached at csouder@shelbychristian.org.Odd things happen all the time. That it was 80 degrees on the last day of winter this week comes to mind.

Along these lines, every week Sports Illustratedincludes in its magazine an item titled “This Week’s Sign that the Apocalypse is Upon Us,” which highlights things that have happened in the world that are somewhat odd or even bizarre in nature.

Basically, they are things that make you scratch your head and say, “If that is going on, the end of the world must be near.”

Of course, the Bible talks at some length about the end of the world – and (depending on one’s interpretation) fairly specifically about some things that will happen just preceding that event.

The items that SI posts each week don’t rise to biblical proportions, but they are still often interesting or humorous. For example, just a couple of weeks ago SI’s entry was this: “Squaw Valley resort in Olympic Valley, Calif., last week opened the world's first ski-through Starbucks.”

Or this one from last fall: “The Can-Am League's Newark Bears last week donated $2,000 to Mothers Against Drunk Driving on the same night that the team hosted a beer pong tournament.”

One item from 2005 had a local ‘flavor’: “A Louisville gift shop is selling ‘Genuine Kentucky Thoroughbred Horse Manure’ for $3.75 a bag.”

Makes you proud, doesn’t it?

Here are some other examples from the last 20 years of SI’s “Signs of the Apocalypse” (with my comments in parentheses):

§       The sports minister of Togo claims that a group of soccer players who purported to be the Togolese national team while losing, 3-0, to Bahrain last week was in fact a "completely fake" impostor squad.

§       A Singapore man was given a deferment from compulsory military service to play in a video-game competition.

§       The Ohio Senior Amateur golf championship was held in West Virginia.

§       Five teams were denied entry to Scotland for Homeless World Cup of soccer because they were too poor.

§       A New Jersey town repealed its three-decade ban on males older than 12 wearing Speedos. (Rather than being repealed, this is a law that should be enforced world-wide!)

§       Miss Wheelchair Wisconsin was stripped of her title when she was seen standing up.

§       An Oklahoma state senator wants to legalize a form of cockfighting in which the birds wear tiny boxing gloves.

§       Police in Wales had to use pepper spray to break up a brawl among charity race runners in Santa suits. (I guess it isn’t true that “the suit makes the man!”)

§       A man in Troy, N.Y., has received a U.S. patent for a table- or wall-mounted mechanical arm designed to give a sports fan watching a game alone on television a high five after an exciting play. (For the sports fan who has everything…except a friend.)

§       Houghton Mifflin's recently released American history textbook for fifth-graders, Build Our Nation, covers the Depression and the presidency of Franklin Roosevelt in 33 lines, while devoting two pages to Cal Ripken Jr. (Sounds about right…I’m pretty sure FDR couldn’t hit a curveball.)

§       Before last Saturday's Cal/Stanford game the mascots for both teams – Oski the Bear and the Stanford Tree – were required to take Breathalyzer tests.

§       Angered by a call during a soccer game in South Africa, a player pulled a knife and charged the referee, who got a gun from the sidelines and shot the player dead. (Moral: Don’t bring a knife to a gunfight.)

§       The babycenter.com Web site offers a Sports Conflict Catcher to help prospective parents plan pregnancies so childbirth won't conflict with major sports events. (Now you’ll never again have to choose between the big game and the birth of your child!)

§       James Philip, president of the Illinois state senate, said he voted against a bill to protect referees and umpires from assaults because "maybe they deserve a pop once in a while." (Haven’t all of us who played sports shared that sentiment?)

§       The Ukrainian rhythmic gymnastics team claimed it lost the European championship because it was hexed by 15 psychics hired by the Russian team. (It’s always the Russians…)

§       At least three sets of parents have named their children ESPN, or Espen, after the network. (Can there be a more fitting “sign” of our sports-crazed times?)

§       The Dartmouth crew team had to cancel practice after the coaches were attacked by an otter. (But it was a mean otter!)

§       Studios in New York, Miami and Hollywood have begun offering yoga classes for dogs. (You know, to help them unwind after a hard day’s work.)

§       Police in Norway stopped a 94-year-old runner because they thought she had escaped from a nursing home. (This grandma won’t get run over by a reindeer!)

Last week, I experienced my own such bizarre moment.

On Thursday evening after my son’s church-league basketball game, my parents and I took him to McDonald’s for a celebratory milkshake. That part wasn’t odd, as we often go there after his games.

What was odd was that there was no line. Not only that, but there were only six other customers in the whole restaurant – and not long after we sat down with our food, they all left.

 If you are following my story correctly – and if you’ve ever been in the McDonald’s here in Shelbyville – you understand why I thought to myself “the world must be coming to an end.”

In case you aren’t tracking with me, let me put it more plainly. I have been in that McDonald’s at various times from 7 a.m. to going on Midnight, on every different day of the week, and I have never seen fewer than 4,000 people there. There is alwaysa line.

In fact, while I’m standing in line I often think to myself, “This would be a good place to open a restaurant.”

So, when I saw that we had the whole place to ourselves, I thought that indeed the apocalypse was upon us.

And then it hit me: The world was not ending. UK was playing its first game of the NCAA tournament, and everyone in Shelby County was at home watching the game.

As I’m sure you are aware, UK won that game and the next, and tonight has a rematch against the only team that beat them in the regular season.

Now, as an IU fan, of course I am hoping against hope that lightning will strike twice and that my Hoosiers once again will come out victorious. (We can agree to disagree about that.) If so, many UK fans may conclude it is this week’s sign that the end is near.

However, if you’re not a basketball fan, and you want to get a Big Mac, fries and a shake with absolutely no waiting, allow me to recommend heading to the Shelbyville McDonald’s around 9:45 tonight.

You can have the place all to yourself.

 

Chuck Souder is on staff at Shelby Christian Church. You can find some of his other columns at www.SentinelNews.com/columns He can be reached at csouder@shelbychristian.org.