Three Athletes, One God


I mentioned it before, but “the boy” asks an interesting question rather frequently as we watch sporting events. The question is simple, but often I cannot give a clear answer. His question is this…

Hey Dad, is (insert athlete’s name here) a Christian?

Athletes he has asked about in the past are Lebron James, Tyler Hansbrough and Ryan Howard. I found out yesterday that Albert Pujols is a man of great faith. “The Boy” and I watched the home run contest together the other night. I had stepped out of the room, but when I returned he told me about an interview they did with Josh Hamilton while I was gone. They had asked him about his incredible home run display last year and he gave all of the credit, glory and honor to Jesus. “The boy” told me about it and later I heard him telling my wife.

Lastly this morning, I received an email from our good friend Lynne with an article in the Columbus Dispatch about a blue chip prospect in the Cleveland Indians farm system named Matt Laporta. He is the next big thing in Cleveland and currently plays for our local AAA Columbus Clippers. The article outlines his faith. Great, great stuff. I printed the Pujols and Laporta articles (see links below) and shared them with “the boy” this morning. Later, I plan to take him to the “I Am Second” web site so he can hear the testimony of Josh Hamilton first hand.

Dads, like it or not, our kids are going to follow athletes and pick their heroes (just like we did). Choose wisely.

Albert Pujols article -(HERE)

Matt Laporta article -(HERE)

Josh Hamilton testimony – (HERE)

Heroes and Saviors

A few weeks ago we received a Sports Illustrated in the mail that had Josh Hamilton on the cover. As is his practice, my 7 year old previews the SI before giving it to me (excluding the swimsuit which went directly in the trash). Since receiving that SI, and talking through the article about Josh, when he hears that name, my son always gets excited. Thus was the case tonight as we watched the Home Run Derby.

We set our early favorites as Grady Sizemore and Josh Hamilton. We then watched possibly the greatest hitting display in HR Derby history unfold. When the dust cleared, Josh Hamilton had a new record and a new 7 year old fan in Ohio. Here’s the part I’m getting to. The first words to come out of his mouth when asked about his performance were these…

“I have to give credit to God for how much He has done in my life and how quickly He has done it”.

With that, Austin looked at me and I just smiled. I smiled because he now had two new fans in Ohio. I followed a Twitter post by Mudpuppy to another article about Josh Hamilton. It ended with this quote. I’ll do the same:

“But there is one story that sticks with me, so much so that I think of it every day. I was driving out of the players’ parking lot at Great American Ball Park after a game in May, with Katie and our two girls. There’s always a group of fans standing at the curb, hoping to get autographs, and I stop to sign as many as I can.

And on this particular night, a little boy of about 9 or 10, wearing a Reds cap, handed me a pen and something to sign. Nothing unusual there, but as I was writing the boy said, “Josh, you’re my savior.”

This stopped me. I looked at him and said, “Well, thank you. Do you know who my savior is?”

He thought for a minute. I could see the gears turning. Finally, he smiled and blurted out, “Jesus Christ.” He said it like he’d just come up with the answer to a test. “That’s exactly right,” I said.

You see, I may not know how I got here from there, but every day I get a better understanding of why.”