Column: When faith meets sport

Published 7:29 pm Friday, June 25, 2021

Seconds after beating Avoyelles Parish, the Vidalia All-Stars and Avoyelles players ran to the pitcher’s circle. They clasped hands and bowed their heads in prayer.

I’m not sure what it is about God, faith and sports, but the three usually meet together similarly across the region. Adams County Christian School and Cathedral players took a knee after every game this year to pray. If they played each other, they prayed together.

My great uncle argues his church can be found on Black River Lake in Monterey. It makes sense that he would say this because it is usually just God and him on the lake. I’m sure some hunters in the area claim they are closest to God in a deer stand or turkey woods.

It is the quiet, still and reverent nature of the outdoors where inner reflection takes place. If you are a Christian, you would know a quiet time is a great time to pray. Much like the outdoors, I believe God gave man sports as a way to reach people.

Sports teach life lessons. They teach about competition and the importance of hard work. They can push you to your breaking point, and in the same week, sports will take you to the top of the world. In practice runs for cross country, I found quiet time to pray like the peace my great uncle finds on a lake. 

I have heard the saying that sports are a religion. Specifically, it is used about football here in the south. I would argue sports are another way God reaches, teaches and saves people.

Upward basketball was the best way for the gospel to be illustrated to the seven-year-old me. My dad was the coach, and when he shared his testimony with my teammates and me, it was the most crucial moment of my life.

There is something about the weight of 15 fouls a game that begins to teach you the depravity and inequity of your sin. To the seven-year-old me, I understood one thing. If sin were like fouling in basketball, I would foul out of life. I asked Jesus to dropkick me through the goalposts of life and save me before the season was over.

My walk with Christ began on a hardwood basketball court. To me, faith and sports will always go together.