Athletes are imitated every day. On game day, millions of eyes watch to see what their hero will accomplish. The day after, those same eyes see how that hero’s alter-ego lives his everyday life, without the cape.
Sometimes the news headlines aren’t as pristine as the home run or touchdown, because no one is perfect, but everyone stands for something. Professionals are given a platform with which to influence and impact lives. Each individual has a chance to be more hero than human.
Many competitors openly share their Christian beliefs through interviews, social media and even their actions on the field: Robert Griffin III, Russell Wilson and Drew Brees in the NFL, Jeremy Lin in the NBA, Albert Pujols in MLB.
Los Angeles Angels’s outfielder Josh Hamilton understands that the world is waiting for him to fail, but he is prepared to beat the odds. His life has been changed, and even through relapses and struggles, his faith and God’s faithfulness remains.
“I have been given a platform to tell my story. I pray every night I am a good messenger,” Hamilton said.
There are so many Christians in sports that don’t receive a spotlight, but if their goal is glorifying God, they will fulfill that mission even when they aren’t patted on the back.
Houston Texans’s defensive end J.J Watt seems to remain humble even through his tremendous success in his career. He is constantly finding ways to brighten days and change lives through the JJ Watt Foundation, which raised $194,000 in 2012 alone.
On the flip side, New England Patriots’s tight end Rob Gronkowski has made his stand quite clear- he likes to have fun. Forget the consequences; the organization has dismissed every bad choice in the past. He has the opportunity to live however he wants, because he is the best in the nation. “Nothing” and “no one” can stop him.
Athletes are the real-life storybook heroes. They are the living, breathing supermen. Contenders have the opportunity to be champions both on and off the field. Competitors have a great responsibility- on whatever level: from t-ball to MLB. How will they use their platform? How will you use yours? Because whether or not a player speaks about what he stands for, it is evident. Just watch how he lives.
Los Angeles Angels’ outfielder Josh Hamilton poses for ESPN magazine, showing his tattoo that reads,
*Impossible without nos. 1-4