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FEEDBACK FROM THE FOREST: HU student athletes react to Maya DiRado’s stance for Christ

by Gina Eisenhut

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Christian athletes are often presented with opportunity to represent Christ in games where all eyes present are on them. When the Olympics take place every two years, Christian athletes, like American swimmer and Stanford graduate Maya DiRado, have the chance to represent Christ on the sports world’s largest stage.

This summer, DiRado medaled in four races – including two in which she came up with gold. After a race, she made a bold statement of faith with the following comment:

“I don’t think God really cares about my swimming very much. This is not my end purpose, to make the Olympic team. I think God cares about my soul and whether I’m bringing his love and mercy into the world.”

The Huntingtonian sought out HU athletes to gain their reactions on DiRado’s perspective.

“I would agree that the sport that I am playing is not my sole purpose on this earth, but I do think that God has given me a talent to play the sport of basketball and it is extremely important that I take advantage of the stage that I am on… I think that God cares about the way that we act in our sport more than the sport itself. We have great opportunity to lead our teams in a way that honors God, and we should strive to do that everyday!” –Daniel Woll, senior, basketball

“While winning a tournament or competition may not be the end purpose, it can certainly be part of His journey for me. He may be working in my life as an athlete to prepare me to reach out to the life of another athlete at some point. Setting the stage for something greater than winning a medal, perhaps winning heart over for God instead.” –Jean Donaldson, senior, track and field

“I agree with her that sports isn’t our end goal or purpose, but I think we can show God’s love through our sports. God has giving me talent and I’m going to use it to glorify Him whether that’s here competing for HU or later in life coaching young adolescents… Running has taught me so much about life and has not only improved me physically and mentally, but it has also helped develop me spiritually.” –Christine Sparks, senior, cross country/track and field

“I personally believe that God cares about sports and how you place because if you are successful you would be able to use that spotlight to bring more people to Christ. if I wasn’t bowling well and managed to keep myself calm and collected, it would turn some heads, and people would start noticing and maybe even ask questions about how I am able to do it.” –Joe Miller, senior, bowling

“I love her quote! I know for my career here at HU, God has used soccer in two-fold – He has used my teammates to challenge me to move outside of myself, and He has used the sport of soccer to mold the way I process internally as well. Like the Olympic athlete said – I don’t think God cares as much about soccer as He does what goes on within us individually, and He can mold us in even more complex ways using the other athletes that surround us within our team!” –Olivia Knispel, senior, soccer

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