Is it going to rain or not? It looks like the sky could open up any minute, which is a problem when it’s Big Trash Day on Monday, and Karen and I have stuff to put on the curb. I guess I’ll just be flexible and be thankful for the rain—if it actually comes.
I wanted to share with you this week six people I find fascinating. They’re not in the same profession, and for many of them, I’m not certain of their faith. Some of them I’ve recently discovered, and a few I’ve admired for a while.
You’re welcome to offer me feedback on my selections, or tell me what public figures you find fascinating. And if you are uncertain of whether or not they have made a profession of faith in Christ, pray for God to impact their lives.
- Sam Presti
The general manager of the Oklahoma City Thunder has fascinated me ever since the NBA team staked claim in these parts. Sam is on genius level. He’s hard to figure out. He sometimes frustrates Thunder fans. But more often than not, he knows to make a small market professional basketball team be competitive, even succeed, in one of the world’s most popular sports leagues.
One of the best reads about Sam was a Sports Illustrated article in 2017 titled “Why Russell Westbrook, Thunder Put Their Trust in Sam Presti.” I enjoyed finding out more of what he does in the offseason and how he handled the darkest, most disappointing time in Thunder history.
I’ve had a couple of passing conversations with Sam. He is soft-spoken, but if you ask him a question, be prepared for an intellectual answer.
I remember walking with him to the arena one time, and I got to ask him what he thought of the movie “Moneyball”—baseball movie about Billy Beane, G.M. of the Oakland A’s, starring Brad Pitt—because he seemed to be in a similar position as Beane, but with basketball.
His answer was lengthy and a little above my head as he explained the difference of managing a basketball team compared to a baseball club. But he did like the movie.
- Eva zu Beck
I am fascinated by world travel. I’ve done a few jaunts across the globe but not many trips—about four international excursions (not counting Canada or Mexico), and all of them in the last 10 years.
Eva zu Beck is a young English woman who became a YouTube personality with her international travel vlogs (video blogs). She often goes “off the beaten path” and makes visits to some uncommon countries.
The first video I watched of Eva was of her video journaling her train ride from California to New York, which she did with purchasing a single seat on Amtrak. From there, I’ve watched her travel on a cargo ship in the Middle East and journey through Mongolia on horseback. The next video of Eva I want to watch is when she rode a cargo train in the Sahara Desert.
- John Krasinski
If you’re not a fan of The Office, this name may not be familiar with you. He played Jim in the popular comedy. He also has been in a few movies too, including A Quiet Place, which he starred with his wife and well-known actress Emily Blunt.
John appears to be an incredibly likeable guy. But why he makes my list of fascinating people was due to his YouTube videos he did last year during the heavy part of the pandemic. Some Good News is the name of the video series, which ran for about eight weeks, and was one of the best things to come out of the COVID-19 quarantine stint.
Yes, the Some Good News videos definitely raised my fascination of Jim—I mean John.
- Sarah Eekhoff Zylstra
If you are a frequent DHD reader, you should already know about my fascination with the feature writer of The Gospel Coalition. The quality of her writing along with the unique topics make Sarah a rarity. There’s just not that many Christian journalists who seek after the different subject matters of the Christian faith and write at such an excellent level.
My favorite article Sarah wrote was on Montreat College in N.C.—“The Montreat Miracle.” She shared how an unexpected donor combined with an innovative, popular major of cybersecurity helped save this small Christian college.
But there are many more fascinating articles that Sarah has written, including this week’s piece, “How Will COVID Permanently Change Churches.”
- Bill Hancock
Bill Hancock has an incredibly hard job as the executive director of the College Football Playoff. But it helps that he may be the nicest person on the face of the earth. He doesn’t know a stranger and has an overly optimistic personality.
The reason I am fascinated with Bill is due to the journals he shares daily when he volunteers to work during the Olympic Games. He shares about his interesting eating habits, which usually includes a hearty breakfast but eating like a bird the rest of the day. He also has many anecdotal moments that he shares with a joyful spin.
Bill works in the media press room for the U.S. Olympic teams for both summer and winter games. My biggest disappointment that the games were postponed last year was not being able to read Bill’s daily posts. Hopefully he will be in Tokyo this year.
- Willa Ruth Garlow
My final figure of fascination is no longer with us. Willa Ruth was an amazing woman who passed away the same week as Billy Graham, just a few years ago.
She was an excellent writer and storyteller. She might have been five-foot, but she could control a room full of pastors when she spoke.
There have been many articles I have written over the years, but I consider it one of my greatest privileges to have written about Willa Ruth’s passing. “Remembering Willa Ruth” is one I hope I never forget because it’s about a remarkable woman whom I take great appreciation in knowing as a friend.