By Ryan Laverty
"I don’t run without a goal. And I don’t box by beating my fists in the air. I keep my body under control and make it my slave, so I won’t lose out after telling the good news to others." –Corinthians (9:26, 9:27)
Athletes face adversity off the field as much as on it. Their resiliency and determination during a game is apparent to everyone in attendance or watching at home, but at times the on-field victories are shrouded by their decisions out of the public eye. In a world seemingly out-of-control, there seems to be a growing tendency to turn to God for salvation and guidance. University athletes are no different.
On Wed., Jan. 30, Athletes-In-Action, a University of Calgary Christian club, held their "Grey Cup Extravaganza" in MacEwan Student Centre’s North Courtyard. It was a chance to get one’s picture taken with the Canadian Football League’s ultimate prize and to hear personal perspectives on the balance between religion and sport.
"I’ve realized that it’s not what kind of stats you put up that matters. It’s what you do as a person to glorify the Lord," said Dinos volleyball player Paul Armbruster. "Because it may not be the game you remember, but the road travelled to get there."
Armbruster is a fifth-year transfer student from Briercrest Bible College and as his Dinos coach, Greg Ryan, told the crowd players like him are always a welcome addition to a team.
"People with faith have a grounding," he explained. "They understand there is a plan for their life after the game, so they are able to stand in when things get rough. They are guys you can count on not to get caught up."
Whether professional or amateur, getting caught up can be quite easy as a high-level athlete. The world behind what is seen on television or in the box scores can devastate a career and more importantly, a life. With headlines revolving around athletes’ murder convictions, rape charges and substance abuse problems, groups like AIA and events like the "Grey Cup Extravaganza" offer athletes a stronger alternative and the public a different, healthier perspective.
Calgary Stampeders’ free safety Greg Frers summed up the event’s message in one simple sentence, "Having faith in the Lord helps to push you through the tough times and adds value to the good ones."