"Now as touching things offered unto idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth." - 1 Corinthians 8:1
It is easy to learn from others.
People spend years honing their respective crafts whether it be music, athletics, teaching, running a business, writing, fixing cars or driving a school bus.
During my 17 years in the golf business I learned from everyone I worked with, whether it was a co-worker or the boss.
As the boss, I also hope I taught. I am sure some was bad. I hope most was good.
People learn from watching good and bad.
The best part of learning is that anyone can learn from anybody - whether it is an boy, a football community, college softball players or a young man (thanks to ESPN).
We just have to open our hearts and minds.
"To give subtilty to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion." - Proverbs 1:4
Adam Bender is a catcher, quarterback, soccer player and wrestler.
And, the 8-year-old does not have a left leg.
When he was born, doctors told his parents, Michelle and Chris, their son had cancer, a high-grade malignant tumor deep in his left thigh.
Adam went through chemotherapy for months but the tumor did not respond.
The parents then had a decision to make - more chemotherapy or amputation.
Wonderful choice, huh?
"I can live with my child with one leg," said his mother.
"I can't live without my child."
Bender's left leg was removed up to his pelvis four days after his first birthday.
"We traded a problem for a problem and now we have to figure out how to deal with that problem," said his father.
Bender started playing soccer at 3, baseball at 4, soccer at 6 and recently wrestling.
"Dear God, thank you for helping me realize my abilities and not focus on my disabilities," he wrote on a picture that he drew.
Bender has a simple creed.
"To try your best and never give up," he said.
"And he hath filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship." - Exodus 35:31
The football players at Gainesville State School play every game on the road. Gainesville State is a place where the students are convicted criminals. They are incarcerated
They are allowed to play football as a reward because of good behavior and good grades behind the fences topped with barbed wire.
One night last year they played at Grapevine Faith Christian High School, whose coach, Kris Hogan, had an idea.
"We were going to show them that in this country if you make the right decisions people will get on your side and support you." he said. "It doesn't matter what your background is - you can make it."
Hogan asked his fans, the parents of his players to cheer on that Friday night for the players at Gainesville State.
"It looked like they thought they were at the wrong end of the field," said Hogan, "because they know they don't have any fans."
The parents lined up in a spirit line for the Tornadoes players to run through before the game started.
"When it happened, it was dynamic," said Gainesville coach Mark Williams. "It was one of the most unbelievable things I've ever seen.
"Our kids were their kids and their kids were our kids and all kids were the same."
Following the game, a 33-14 win by Grapevine Faith, each Tornadoes player received a meal for the ride home, a Bible and an encouraging letter from a member of the Faith Christian team.
You see, it's not always about wins and losses.
It's about teaching, learning and having an open heart and mind.
"But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased." - Daniel 12:4
Sarah Tucholsky, all 5-foot-2 of her, stepped to the plate in the top of the second inning of a softball game a year ago having never hit a home run in her career.
There were two runners on base when the Western Oregon senior waited for a pitch. After watching a strike, the career .153 hitter belted a shot over the fence in center field.
Watching the ball go over the fence, she missed first base. When she turned around to go back to touch it, something gave in her right knee and she fell to the ground and couldn't move.
It was the second game of a doubleheader against Central Washington with the winner heading to the Division II playoffs. It wasn't just a normal game.
Tucholsky crawled back to first base. If any member of her team had helped her do so, she would have been called out.
If a substitute runner came in her homer would have been erased and would have been credited with a single.
That's when Mallory Holtman stepped in. The leading home run hitter in conference history asked if she and teammate Liz Wallace could carry Tucholsky around the bases. The answer was yes and they did so, stopping at each base so Tucholsky could touch it with her good leg.
Western Oregon won, 4-2.
"In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge." - Colossians 2:3
D.J. Gregory was born with cerebral palsy, underdeveloped lungs and his legs were entangled.
His parents, Don and Jackie Gregory, were told their son would never walk, that he would be in a wheelchair for the rest of his life.
Gregory's mom and dad did not like that answer and their son endured five surgeries by the first grade.
"They took his lower legs and cut both bones and turned his feet out so they went straight. Then they put them back together put two full length casts on them and that's how he had to survive for a while," said his father.
"For the first few years of my life I would Army crawl around the house," said Gregory
After getting the casts off, he used a walker with four wheels, then a walker with two wheels, then two crutches, then one crutch and then a cane.
"He was really into sports and he couldn't actually play," said his mother.
He started playing golf when he was 9 years old.
"The one reason why golf is my favorite is because it is a sport I can play competitively," said Gregory, who swings one-handed and shoots anywhere from 105 to 115. "I love the game."
Approximately 21 years after picking up the sport, Gregory had an idea.
He wanted to walk every PGA Tour event in 2008.
"Nobody does this," said his dad.
He followed one group from the first tee to the 18th green each day.
He walked 44 tournaments in 45 weeks.
That is 180 rounds, 3,256 holes and more than 900 miles.
Gregory put seven or eight bandaids on his toes every day to minimize the blisters.
Kenny Perry, who had a two-shot lead with two holes to go last month at the Masters only to lose in a playoff to Angel Cabrera, was the first player to request Gregory follow him in an event in March 2008.
"How can you see a kid struggle around the golf course and then you're out there complaining playing golf. It just really changed my perspective about my life and about my golf game," said Perry.
Now, any wonder why Perry was such a gentleman last month when he sat in front of the media after blowing the biggest tournament of his life?
"I'm not embarrassed of who I am or what I've been through," Gregory said.
(Mathison, a Weirton resident, is the sports editor of the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times and can be contacted at email@example.com)