Faith in the Game is a blog containing submissions by athletes of faith. Each of them was asked one question: Tell us a story about a time when your faith was most present in your life. Rather than tell us about their faith, we asked them to show us.
These stories are oftentimes uplifting, and at all times profound, raw, honest, introspective and heartfelt. These are not the sort of stories you hear in a press conference. Some of them take place on the field; others, off it. They are presented without agenda or judgment. On many levels, we think you'll find them fascinating, as they pull up the veil on a side of sports that is rarely revealed but very often present.
This blog is moderated by author and father Ben Petrick, a former Colorado Rockies catcher thought to be the only professional athlete to have his career shortened by Parkinson's Disease, along with writer and father Scott Brown. In addition to their professional and family lives, both men are also coaches of youth sports. A selection of the stories they've collected will soon appear in a book, and together they're also working on Ben's autobiography.
If you'd like us to email you when new stories appear on the blog, please send us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The following is excerpted from Ben Petrick’s acclaimed new book, Forty Thousand to One, which he co-wrote with Scott Brown. Petrick was a catcher for the Colorado Rockies and one of the top prospects in baseball when he was told he had Parkinson’s disease — a diagnosis he hid for four Major League seasons.
After his retirement, Petrick became a full-time caregiver to his daughter, Makena, while his wife went back to work. His health deteriorated greatly until one year ago, when he underwent a radical surgery in an attempt to lessen his Parkinson’s symptoms.
Forty Thousand to One was recently included in the library of the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY.
I left the doctor’s office wondering what the appropriate response should be to finding out you’re just 22 and no longer free from time.
A doctor at University Hospital in Denver had told me the odd movement disorders I’d been experiencing for nearly six months were caused by “Parkinsonism.”
“I’d diagnose you with actual Parkinson’s,” he said, “but you’re four decades younger than the typical patient.”
Getting that diagnosis (just seven months after my father received the same news) was more than surreal. It was like watching the moon fall.
Hello Friends — Apologies that we’ve been away lately — please know it’s been with good reason. We have been working on a book of stories by Faith in the Game co-founder Ben Petrick. That collection will be made available in the coming days.
You’ll also be reading and hearing a lot more about Ben and his brave fight against Parkinson’s disease, starting with an incredible feature story now appearing in ESPN: The Magazine, written by legendary sportswriter Steve Wulf. It’s a great testament to the Petrick family and their journey. The story is only available in print editions right now, and will be online in January.
Ben Petrick is co-editor of Faith In The Game. A former Major Leaguer with the Colorado Rockies and Detroit Tigers, Ben has Parkinson’s disease and recently underwent an aggressive surgery called Deep Brain Stimulation to alleviate his symptoms. A television news story on Ben’s amazing recovery can be found here. Ben chronicles his progress, along with stories of faith, family and baseball, in this blog.
Voltaire wrote, “Perfect is the enemy of the good.” It’s a phrase that was true when I was an athlete, and even truer in my life now.
If you were to ask my childhood teammates what they remember about me from those days, I’m sure my tendency to cry after games would come up. It was pretty much a ritual, as I was born with a painfully strong, unquenchable longing to be perfect — or at least appear to be.
This issue continued to swell inside me as I grew older, even as my successes piled up just as fast. Vanity and insecurity filled me by the time I reached the Major Leagues. Whenever I struggled, I wondered, “How must this look to others? What will others think of me when they find out I’ve failed?” Inside I felt like nothing more than a massive collection of others’ perceptions, rather than someone leavened by his own self-awareness.
Ben Petrick is co-moderator of Faith On The Field. A former major leaguer with the Colorado Rockies and Detroit Tigers, Ben has Parkinson’s disease and recently underwent an aggressive procedure to alleviate his symptoms. Ben chronicles his progress, along with stories of faith, family and baseball, in this blog.