sports blog by andy shenk


In Anzhi, Russian Football, Xavier on March 11, 2012 at 10:18 PM

This morning at Main Street Moravian Church our preacher compared the plight of the Israelites and their travails in the wilderness to our congregation’s struggle to keep the church doors open. Doubt must have crippled the Israelites’ faith in God again and again as they wandered for forty years without a home. Doubt gnaws at our little church as our weekly attendance drops, the Sunday offerings dwindle, and our Board tries to maintain vision and direction for the church without a full-time pastor. The outlook is bleak. Just look at all the hundreds of old churches like ours around the country that are locking the doors and shuttering the windows.

Doubts are heavy, consuming, cluttered, debilitating. They crowd everything else out and demand full attention. Just one nasty email that I received Saturday morning deflated my weekend. One disappointing loss for Xavier this afternoon to St. Bonaventure resurrected major concerns about the team’s ability to score and rebound the ball inside. Instead of enjoying their performance in the A-10 tournament and looking forward to the second round of the NCAA Tournament, I’m frustrated and antsy for the next opportunity to watch them win.

Doubts, nonetheless, are fleeting. A new week, a new day, or an encouraging conversation pushes out doubts that had so rudely intruded. Same thing, fortunately, is true in sports. Another game, and along with it, another opportunity to succeed is always around the corner.

Dagestani side FC Anzhi welcomes Spartak Moscow to Makhachkala for their first home game of the Russian Premier League’s spring portion of the 2011-2012 season tomorrow. My old love, Spartak, faces new flame, Anzhi, in a pivotal match as they both look to punch tickets to the Champions League next year. Will Anzhi follow up on its surprising 1-0 defeat of Dinamo Moscow in Khimki last Monday, or will they disappoint the home fans who are rabidly awaiting their return? Christopher Samba, recent transfer from Blackburn Rovers, make his home debut alongside the new Anzhi coach, Guus Hiddink, most recently gaffer of the Turkish National Team.

FC Anzhi vs. Spartak Moscow, Russian Premier League, Round 34.

Monday, March 12, 2012. 11 AM ET. Dinamo Stadium, Makhachkala, Dagestan.


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