There is an expression in the world of sports known as “mop up time.”

An example would be when a basketball team has a 20-point lead with two minutes left and the coach hollers to the kid at the end of the bench to “get in there.” I know because I was that kid.

My senior year we had a really good team and I was the last guy to make it during try-outs. The highlight of the season was one game (during “mop up time”) in which I made a great move down the lane for an easy bucket. The crowd went wild and continued to cheer and point at me as I ran back up the court. When I looked over at our bench I saw my teammates and even the coach laughing at me.

“What’s the deal?” I thought. I noticed they were pointing at my shorts so I looked down and realized I had put them on backwards. At that point I had to laugh too, it was pretty funny looking. Later that night someone called in the incident to the local radio station and they dedicated a song to me called “Everybody Plays the Fool.” Fortunately, I was one of the class clowns so it didn’t emotionally scar me … too bad.

Anyway, back to present day. I contact the Ahwatukee newspaper and say, “I feel God is nudging me to write a couple spiritual articles. Do you have any need for additional writers for your Spiritual Side column?”

The editor sent me back a very nice response saying, “Yes, there are three months this year when we have a fifth Wednesday and we don’t have anyone to write for those three editions.” In other words, she was telling me there is some “mop up time” even in the world of journalism. Hey, I’m not complaining. I think the “starters” are phenomenal and I am always inspired by what they share each week.

So, I get to write three columns this year and I’ve already used up half of this one just talking basketball. Now that’s real spiritual.

OK, here we go. I’m a pretty good problem solver and, especially, if I pray about something I usually come up with a decent answer.

But I’m not getting anything on this one and am asking for your input. It’s the situation where you exit the freeway and come upon a person holding a sign asking for help. I’m just not sure what is the best thing to do for that person.

My son just finished his freshman year at Arizona State University. One of his assignments in his English class was to go do something totally out of your comfort zone and write a paper about it.

Since he’s spoiled rotten and has never missed a meal in his life he decided to be a homeless person.

With a 3-day-old beard and a sign that said, “Please help, God bless,” he went and stood on a freeway off-ramp. In less than an hour he was given $59 and half a pizza. When I swung by to pick him up his first words were, “Why do I need to go to college?”

So I’m taking a poll and I’ll share the results in a future “mop up time.”

What do you think is the right thing to do for people standing on off-ramps asking for help (in case you’re wondering, Brett thoroughly enjoyed eating the pizza and later gave the money to a charitable organization)?

• Brad Butler is a PGA golf pro who attends Mountain Park Community Church in Ahwatukee Foothills. He can be reached at

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