Inspiration Report

Wikimedia Commons

Wikimedia Commons

Alpine skiing World Cup champion Lindsey Vonn has announced that she is planning to retire after the 2018-19 season regardless of whether or not she takes home enough further World Cup victories to break the all-time record for most World Cup wins. In order to break the record, she would need just five more victories to surpass Ingemar Stenmark’s record of 86 World Cup victories. Vonn is already enshrined in sports history as the woman with the highest number of World Cup victories, but she wanted to have the most World Cup wins overall. That said, the 33 year old athlete feels the time has come to set aside her skis.

“This is going to be my last season. Definitely retiring after this year,” Vonn said. “If I could break the record, that would be amazing. If I can’t, it has been a great ride, and I am still the most successful female. I still think that’s something to be really proud of.”

Vonn had previously stated until she would not retire until she owned the record for most World Cup wins, but her plans have apparently changed as she has begun alluding to having plans for a future without competitive skiing.

In many ways, Vonn has been the face of alpine skiing. Her numerous World Cup wins launched her into fame, and she has won both an Olympic gold medal and a bronze medal in the downhill as well as a bronze in the Super-G. In recent years, however, Vonn has had trouble with injuries that interfered with her preparations for the Olympic Games and caused her to miss the 2014 Games entirely. She has said that those injuries have played a part in her decision to retire after the 2018-19 season.

“Physically, I’ve gotten to the point where it doesn’t make sense,” Vonn said. “I really would like to be active when I’m older, so I have to look to the future and not just be so focused on what’s in front of me.”

That said, she intends to go out with a bang. Vonn plans to race every downhill and Super-G throughout the entire season, starting at Lake Louise in Alberta in December.  Whether or not she will finish her career in a blaze of glory by breaking the all-time record in her final season remains to be seen, but there is no doubt many people are watching to see if Vonn can pull off something incredible one last time.

America’s high divorce rate has been a source of sadness and shock for decades. For years, nearly half of America’s first marriages ended in divorce, and the majority of second or third marriages failed as well. That rate, however, is finally falling thanks to an unexpected group, millennials.

Recent data has found that the divorce rate in America has dropped nearly 18 percent over the last 10 years. Some have argued that the reason for the falling divorce rate was the simple fact that fewer young people were getting married when compared to previous generations. The divorce rate was still declining, however, even when the rate was calculated as the ratio of divorces to marriages. That means that despite many people claiming that younger generations do not understand the importance of marriage, millennials have a greater likelihood of having a successful marriage than their parents or older siblings.

Millennial marriages, many claim, are lasting longer because young people are waiting longer to actually tie the knot. Marriage no longer has a cultural deadline, and many millennials shun parental or familial pressures to marry and have children at young ages. Instead, many young people are waiting to marry until their education is completed, their career is on track and their financial situation is stable. Off the bat, this choice lessens the likelihood that financial troubles will stress their marriages to the breaking point.

Philip Cohen, a sociology professor at the University of Maryland, agreed that the data was showing that fewer people are getting married, but those who do are the sort of people who are least likely to get divorced. “One of the reasons for the decline is that the married population is getting older and more highly educated,” he said. “Marriage is more and more an achievement of status, rather than something that people do regardless of how they’re doing.” Millennials are thus more invested in their marriages because they are a conscious choice rather than a dutiful response to a societal expectation.

Although the data says good things about the millennials who are getting married, far too many are opting to simply continue to cohabitate even when raising children. Studies have shown that this is a far less stable situation than a marriage, and those cohabitating relationships are steadily losing what little stability they once had. One can only hope the divorce rate continues to fall but that the marriage rate rises to fill the gaps.

18-year-old Levi Jones is employed at a local Chick-Fil-A in Columbus, GA. He is an ordinary teenager, however he’s also a strong follower of Christ.

So when he recently saw a hungry homeless man hanging around outside his restaurant, he didn’t chase him off or call the police. Instead, Jones gave the struggling man a meal – and his own shoes, too.

“Walter was sitting under that tree right there, kind of slumped over. He had his eyes closed, looked very tired,” Jones told WRBL-TV. “I went over to him. God led me over there to speak to him. I asked him how he was doing, if I can get him any food. I noticed he didn’t have on any shoes on his feet. The Lord told me to give my shoes to him and that’s exactly what I did.”

Jones says he asked God if his shoes would fit the man in need, and Jones felt God saying that he was being called to help the homeless man. They, in fact, were the same shoe size.

After helping the man and giving him a fresh meal, Jones returned back to work without shoes. Management was kind enough to give Jones shoes that were available, but they were four sizes too big. Jones didn’t complain though. He knew he had done the right thing.

Todd Kalish, the operator of the Chick-fil-A, said Jones’ actions mirrored those of Chick-fil-A founder Truett Cathy.

“Truett told us always obey your kindhearted impulses,” Kalish told WRBL.

Jones says when the Lord tells him to move he does just that.

“I love Jesus and as His son. I’m called to live and walk just like Jesus did on the earth. Jesus hung around homeless people. He took care of people, loved on people, blessed people wherever He went and so I just wanna walk as my Father which is Jesus Christ walked and live that out every single day of my life,” says Jones.

Daniel X. O'Neil |

Daniel X. O’Neil |

Adonis Watt is a 14 year old running back at Phoenix Brophy Prep. He stands at 6 feet 2 inches tall and weighs 140 pounds and recently ran two touchdowns at a game against Mountain View. He much preferred these two close-range touchdowns to the 45 yard touchdown he made during his first football game. The reason? Mountain View did not give them to him because he was blind.

Adonis lost most of his vision due to congenital glaucoma when he was seven years old, and the rest faded away over time. That did not, however, stop him from being determined to play tackle football like his brother. “He wanted to be better than me at everything,” said Jordan Watt, Adonis’ older brother. “I had to make sure he wasn’t better than me at anything. A handout in our household is, ‘If you want something, you outwork everyone for it.’”

Adonis has certainly taken that lesson to heart, and insists that he not be treated any differently on the field by his opponents. He wants the other players to tackle him or try and take the ball. “I’m a football player,” he said. “That’s what they’re supposed to do.”

Adonis plays despite his blindness by relying on his hearing and intuition. “Most of the time, I try to use my ears to hear anything that is coming,” he said. “The plays happen so fast. I just tell my linemen to do their job and get (the defenders) out of the way.”

The trick seems to be working for Adonis. “He’s got a spacial awareness that is impressive,” said Scott Heideman, the coach for the freshman players. “He’s been around Brophy for three weeks and he’s very independent. He’s always mapping it out. I’m always astonished at how he gets from place to place, let alone find holes and places on the field that he’s going to fit into.”

Adonis’ refusal to let his disability set limitations or make him afraid to play football has made him an inspiration to others both at his school and beyond.

“He doesn’t know he should be afraid,” said Veronica Watt, Adonis’ mother. “I don’t think he’s afraid of anything. He thinks he’s as big and strong as everybody else.”

“No point in being scared,” said Adonis. “That’s how you get injured.”

He certainly was not scared at the game against Mountain View. “We didn’t even tell the officials [Adonis was blind] this game,” said Heideman. Everything Adonis achieved that game was earned, and he would not have it any other way.