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 story is from American speedskater Dan Jansen, as told to moderators Scott Brown and Ben Petrick.
I am the youngest of nine children. When I was a kid, I used to ask my parents the same question over and over: Are we rich?
My father was a police officer. My mother was a nurse. We didn’t have much money. But they would always answer, “Yes, we’re rich because we have nine children.”
At the 1988 Winter Games in Calgary, I came into the 500 meters as the heavy favorite. I’d set a junior world record in the 500m when I was 16, and finished fourth at that distance in the 1984 Olympics.
Normally before a race, you’re thinking about strategy and split times. But as I skated to the starting line, what was in my head was the number 8. That morning, in the early hours before the race, I got word that my sister, Jane, was dying of leukemia. I spoke to her on the phone, but she couldn’t respond. Later I was informed that she had died. There used to be nine, and now there were eight.