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.
Rather than contribute a story, Colorado Rockies All Star first baseman Todd Helton has passed on this prayer for our readers. Despite injury, Helton is having a resurgent season, batting .303 with six home runs in 44 games:
Help me be a good sport in the game of life.
I don’t ask for an easy place in the lineup. Put me anywhere you need me.
I only ask that I can give you 100% of everything I have.
If all the hard drives seem to come my way, I thank you for the compliment.
Help me to remember that you never send a player more trouble then he can handle with your help…
And help me, Lord, to accept the bad breaks as part of the game.
May I always play on the square no matter what others do.
Help me study the book so I’ll know the rules.
Finally, God, if the natural turn of events goes against me and I am benched for sickness or old age, help me accept that as a part of the game, too.
Keep me from whimpering that I was framed or that I got a raw deal.
And when I finish the final inning, I ask for no laurels; all I want is to believe in my heart, I played as well as I could and that I didn’t let you down.