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story.lead_photo.caption MARK HUMPHREY GAME JOURNAL

What would a confrontation between legendary motorcycle stuntman Robert "Evel" Knievel against Marvel Comics fictional character Ghost Rider, portrayed by Nicolas Cage on the big screen, sound like?

In the 2007 movie Ghost Rider, Johnny Blaze, who like Knievel is a motorcycle stunt rider, walks away from a bad crash. His friend Mack tells him, "Man, you got an angel looking after you."

Johnny answers, "Yeah maybe," then after Mack walks away, mutters to himself, "Maybe it's something else."

Knievel never made a deal selling his soul for supernatural intervention like Johnny Blaze.

Knievel didn't have to, an ancient ancestor made a deal for all mankind unleashing a curse into the world for that generation and every generation thereafter.

Still there was a price on his head. Death and injury were potential consequences with each motorcycle jump Knievel attempted.

Johnny Blaze's deal made him the spiritual adopted son of an illegitimate father as a demonized bounty hunter seeking souls for evil. That story is a work of fiction, yet the wicked activities of some people would make one wonder who their employer is.

At one point in the New Testament, Jesus, who himself was tempted to make a deal but refused; tells a certain group of people point-blank, "Ye are of your father ..., and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it."

Knievel did take to calling himself "Evel" after a 1956 arrest when a police chase ended in Knievel crashing his motorcycle. Locked in jail alongside another apparently notorious inmate, William Knofel, known as "Awful Knofel," police dubbed him, "Evel Knievel."

With a moniker implying evil, it's no wonder Knievel's track record isn't exactly that of a model citizen. By his own admission, he stole his first motorcycle, cheated on his wife, and pled guilty in 1977 to a violent assault using a baseball bat to batter the man, who was in charge of publicity for the 1974 Snake River Canyon jump in which Knievel's steam-powered rocket failed to clear the canyon and he landed near the river bank.

Knievel gave in to rage thinking a book damaged his reputation. That one criminal act proved more costly than all of his crashes, in which he broke more than 40 bones in his body, some more than once. Endorsements went out the door and Knievel lost Learjets, homes, cars, boats, and more.

When Johnny Blaze made a deal with the supernatural he didn't take time to think things through. He was focused on what he could get, not on what he would give.

In Mark 8:35-37, Jesus talks about the temptation to make a deal, saying, "For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel's, the same shall save it. For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?"

Six months before he passed on Nov. 30, 2007, Knievel appeared on Robert H. Shuller's "Hour of Power" television program and told evil to go away. He wasn't making any deal. He was choosing Jesus.

"All of a sudden, I just believed in Jesus Christ. I did. I believed in him," Knievel said. "I just, I don't know what happened to me. I just, I rose up in bed in Daytona, the second night I was there. I rose up in bed and, I was by myself," and addressing evil he said, "you, get away from me. I, I cast you out of my life.' I went to the balcony of my hotel room. I said, 'I will take you and throw you, throw you on the beach. You will be dead. You will be gone. I don't want you around me anymore.'"

"I, I did everything I could," Knievel said. "I, I just got on my knees and prayed that God would put his arms around me and never, ever, ever let me go. I just, all of a sudden was just overcome by the Spirit of God, Almighty."

MARK HUMPHREY IS A SPORTS WRITER FOR THE ENTERPRISE-LEADER. THE OPINIONS ARE HIS OWN.

Sports on 07/11/2018

Print Headline: Evel Knievel Confronts Ghost Rider

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