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.
And it is by God’s will that we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. — Hebrews 10:10
When an athlete comes off the field and says, “God gave us the victory tonight,” we hope he or she is saying, “I thank God who gave me a healthy body so I can play at my best; I thank God for my good mind that allowed me to play alert and with awareness; I thank God for giving me the hunger to always be at my best.” If that is what the athlete is saying, then I want to say, “You are absolutely right. Thank God for all God’s good gifts.”
But if that athlete is saying God literally guided the football through the uprights for the winning field goal so that one team would win and the other lose, that man has a lot to learn about life and about God.
God is not our personal weather expert, football strategist, romance matchmaker, or rectifier of our past mistakes. God is God. God is our Sovereign, not our servant. — Ron Newhouse
Pittsburgh Pirates manager Clint Hurdle is a great friend to Faith In The Game, providing us with thoughts to pass on to our readers. They’ll be shared periodically on this blog. Here is today’s —- it’s a bit of a quick one:
"Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power." — Abraham Lincoln
Comments today from Josh Hamilton in the wake of the tragedy in Arlington:
"It helps me handle life," Hamilton said, "and this is life, this tragedy. There’s things that happen that you have no control over and you don’t understand them and you will never understand them until you stand in front of your maker."
Legendary St. Louis Cardinals announcer Jack Buck reads a poem he wrote upon the return of baseball post-9/11 on Sept. 17, 2001. Buck passed away less than a year later. This poem is the subject of a story we’ll soon post with retired relief pitcher Mike DeJean.
Ben Petrick is co-moderator 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 news story on Ben’s recovery can be found here. Ben chronicles his progress, along with stories of faith, family and baseball, in this blog.
Before I begin, I wanted to tell you that the first thing that goes through my mind when I write a new blog entry is, “I sure hope the reader doesn’t think I’m arrogant for sharing these personal stories.” In fact, one of the great anxieties of my life has been a concern over appearing self-centered. I write these stories simply because in my heart, I believe I’ve experienced things in my life by way of my illness that have forced me to develop a perspective that a healthier individual might not otherwise have. When you’re ill, you can go one of two ways: You can either blame Him for your troubles, or grow closer to Him as you explore the greater purpose for your struggle. I’ve chosen the latter path. My hope is that by me writing about these experiences, it might stimulate a new way of looking at things in your own life.
On with the blog …
All I wanted to do was cut hair and mow grass.
People often say to me something to the effect of, “Wow, I’ll bet your disease gives you a whole new outlook on life.” I understand their reasons for saying this. But thanks to two amazing parents, perspective is not something I’ve lacked.
Aaron Brooks, 26, is a guard for the Phoenix Suns. After winning the NBA Most Improved Player Award in 2009-2010 with the Houston Rockets, he was dealt midway through the 2010-2011 season for Goran Dragic and a first-round pick. This is his story, as told to Scott Brown and Ben Petrick.
Announcers sometimes call me “Little Aaron Brooks.” I’m barely six feet tall, so relative to other NBA players I guess the nickname is appropriate. This is a story about the time Little Aaron became a man.
I was coming off a great sophomore season at University of Oregon. The team had done well, and my 15-point-per-game average had me on a lot of NBA draft boards. I was all-Pac-10, and had a great against USC where I scored 34.If I put together a junior season that in any way resembled the previous one, I’d be in great shape to get drafted.
But my junior year was horrible. My play was uneven and our team failed to make the postseason. Things were so bad that I was suspended for our last game for throwing a forearm at a guy from Washington during the Pac-10 Tournament. Needless to say, I fell off everyone’s draft board. Entering the NBA was not an option.
What most people didn’t know was that as bad as things appeared on the surface, they were much worse inside my skin. Halfway through the year, my girlfriend, Shavonne, told me she was pregnant.