Sports today are an important part of our culture, because sports have the power to bring people together. Sports in 2016 are not as they used to be, though. The focus of sports is centered on winning and recruiting. There has been an increase in pressure, stress and intensity. Sports aren’t focused on having fun. There’s a much bigger picture to sports that so many people are not seeing.
Religion, like sports, has the power of bringing people together. Most people don’t know that you can actually combine the two into something great.
I grew up on the sidelines of the Georgetown University lacrosse field. Playing lacrosse was a big part of my life, but it was not always a positive experience for me. I loved the game, but I struggled with dealing with cliquey, exclusive girls who wouldn’t give me the time of day.
But then I discovered the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA). The Fellowship of Christian Athletes is focused on serving God through sports. FCA has changed my life, and it has taught me that there’s so much more to sports than society tells us. Instead of worrying about college coaches, parents or teammates, I realized that I am not playing for them. I’m playing for an “Audience of One.” He is the only one that matters. Sometimes I even write on my arm “AO1.”
I learned that these are not my gifts and talents, but rather the gifts and talents that God has given me. Just because there were mean girls did not mean I should let my God-given gifts go to waste. No, I must rise up and be the light on my team. Someone once told me something that really stuck with me: “You don’t have to play, you get to.” And that applies to everything in life, on and off the field. You don’t have to do anything, you get to.
I think often we all struggle with our “identity” and how society identifies and labels us. We often think of our “identity” as what we do. I’m a lacrosse player. I’m a student. I’m an “X” major. But at the end of the day, it all comes down to finding your identity as a child of God. That is the only identity that matters.
My life was changed forever the day that I discovered FCA. Using my sport to glorify God has changed everything for me, both on and off the lacrosse field.