Archive for January 16, 2008
When punter Hunter Smith isn’t helping the Indianapolis Colts score points, he’s composing musical scores. Whether it’s on TSN or the Gospel Music Channel (GMC), Smith’s impressive talents are being seen by millions of people. On Oct. 13, Smith and band-mate Chris Wilson premiered nationally on the GMC’s Front Row Live, performing from their newly-released, self-titled debut album, Connersvine. Smith began playing guitar at the age of 10, and was helping on the worship team at his local church by the time he was a teen. He and Wilson met seven years ago while leading worship for young adults. Despite his many talents, Smith humbly acknowledges he’s nothing without his Saviour, Jesus Christ. “There is a Holy God, and we are an imperfect people. We needed His Son to die for us, rise again, and be that sacrifice for our sins,” Smith told Sports Spectrum. “Jesus has won that victory on the cross for us, and I am walking in that victory in my life.” Connersvine is evidence of this. Combining an acoustic-driven rock sound with worshipful melodies and passionate vocals, Smith will no doubt score big with gospel fans.
His motto? “Live by faith, not by fear.”
Known to family and friends as José Antonio Rivera, and to the boxing world as “El Gallo” or “The Rooster” in Spanish, the 31-year-old fulfilled his lifelong dream against Michel Trabant in 2003, when he secured the WBA Welterweight Championship.
It was a dream nurtured inside the Philadelphia-native since the age of eight, when he watched boxing with his cousins and uncles. Yet only two years later, his dream of becoming Champion nearly died — along with his mother.
“I grew up without a dad,” explains Rivera, “and when my mom passed away when I was 10, that crushed me. I gave up on life. I hated the world — and I let people know it.” (more…)
International Boxing Federation (IBF) Heavyweight Champion Chris Byrd knows every time he steps into the ring he’s laying his title on the line.
But the 34-year-old isn’t worried. Sure, he’s confident of his skills, but more importantly, he realizes that, ultimately, he’s not the one in control. God is.
A Christian, Byrd says after he gave his life to Jesus, his outlook on life in general changed dramatically.
“I still want to be the very best at boxing, but as far as what I have done and what I will accomplish, it’s all about whatever God has in store for me,” he explains. “I used to care about how I fought and who I fought, but God will work it out. There’s no need to worry.”
Byrd’s personal relationship with God began in 1993. He, his wife Tracy and their new baby were living next door to two young Christian women. Having a limited spiritual background, Tracy had questions about what happened to people when they died, and she shared her concerns with her neighbors. The women proceeded to show her what the Bible had to say on the matter.
That night Tracy asked Jesus to come into her life. Chris recalls, “As soon as I came in, I noticed something different about [her] … ” (more…)
Tony Bouie has cancer. Exactly what kind he will find out Wednesday. But it’s bad. It’s in his liver, elbow, neck, hip . . . the damn disease is all over his skeletal system.
Time is beginning to be measured in months.
Bouie, at 35 years old, married with two young daughters, the chairman and CEO of a burgeoning company, a former All-American football player at the University of Arizona, was just about on top of the world a month ago.
Undrafted, Bouie persisted and made the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1995. He played 57 games, mostly as a backup, for four seasons. He earned a master’s degree from UA while playing in the NFL. Later, he earned a master’s in business administration from Arizona State.
He founded Halo Cups in 2004 – note the religious reference in the name – which produces drink cups with an attached lid. UA concessions is one of the company’s clients. (more…)
Darvin Ham’s final NBA season came in 2004-2005 with the Pistons. He considered moving into broadcasting after briefly playing overseas, but decided to enter the D-League draft this season so he could share his experiences.
“I just want to help these guys learn how to work hard and wait for their opportunity,” Ham said. “You don’t have to be the star. You just have to build on your strengths and improve on your weaknesses.”
Albuquerque coach Jeff Ruland – a former NBA All-Star – jumped at the chance to draft Ham, taking him with the No. 3 overall pick.
“Darvin brings so much to the table,” Ruland said. “He works hard at the little things and goes about his business the right way. He is the ultimate professional.”
Ham says he’s happy with his career, though it almost never happened. As a 14-year-old, Ham was hospitalized after being struck in the jaw by a stray bullet in his Saginaw, Mich., neighborhood.
On the operating table that night, Ham showed he knew how to survive. It’s a lesson he’s hoping to pass on in the D-League.
“I know God has a purpose for my life,” Ham said.
“I’ve had a great career, and I want to share everything I’ve been through. Hopefully, I can be an inspiration to these young guys.”
Here is an older article from September 18,2005 about the faith of players on the Washington Nationals:
Three hours before the game, in the Washington Nationals’ clubhouse, Ryan Church and Matt Cepicky were razzing each other, laughing and dancing around in their shorts.
A sober voice interrupted, “Chapel, 10:45.”
Church and Cepicky nodded. Another player burped. Another swallowed a light blue pill. Another swatted his bat at a teammate’s bare behind.
“Chapel in thirty minutes,” Jon Moeller said, working his way — locker to locker, broad back to back — around the room, distributing a leaflet: “What God Has Done For You.” Moeller, 36, is the chapel leader for the Nationals baseball team. On Sundays, before they play, they pray. (more…)