At Nyack College, athletes form friendships that go beyond the game. They come alongside their teammates as encouragers on and off the field, strengthening one another in their lives and faith. I believe that community is integral to not only sports teams, but in the Christian’s walk. As Christian athletes, students at Nyack College desire a team that emphasizes a community built on faith and that models the character of Christ.
Senior lacrosse player Emily Sigmon believes that the atmosphere of being on a team with other Christians has given her not only freedom in her sport, but in life.
Sigmon says, “[It] has really helped me realize that my identity is not in how well I can play lacrosse, but found first and foremost in who I am in Christ.”
As a team, being centered on a common purpose or goal generates genuine unity.
By talking about faith with other athletes, sophomore track and cross country runner Stefani Ritter has found that it allows her, as well as her team, to grow their bond and faith with one another. Their purpose as teammates becomes greater, as they build each other in their faith.
“I think being on a team with other athletes who are also Christian creates a completely different environment than being on a team where you don’t talk about faith,” says Ritter.
Attending a Christian college, as well as being on a sports team at a Christian college, opens opportunities to ask questions about faith with other students who are also developmentally and spiritually growing.
Sophomore soccer player Storm Glautier says that the moment in the past season that his faith grew most was when his friend and he lead a teammate to Christ.
Glautier explains, “[He] was like, ‘Look, you guys […] are Christians and you follow faith, and I’ve been watching you guys, and I see that you guys have fun and are happy without doing worldly things, and I want to be just like you guys, and I want to follow Jesus.’ […] We were like, ‘Dude, we are proud of you. That is amazing.’”
Many of the athletes believe that their conduct as Christians sets them a part from other athletes.
“I know that I am representing my Christian school too, so I want to show that I’m different, you know I’m just not a typical athlete,” says freshman track runner Benjamin Tse.
Through his sportsmanship and personal character, sophomore cross country runner Thomas Trott desires to show God in his life.
“I want to represent a member of what I hope to be — a good, loving, God-faithful community,” says Trott.
The athletes recognize that their attitude and character extends beyond their teammates.
On the soccer field, sophomore Jordan Jansen explains that she expresses her faith by showing love to her opponents: “[…] learning to love in competition, so that I can look at the other player on the other team and not have a hatred but rather see them as a child of God or as someone that God loves rather than a rival.”
By representing Christ in their character, the athletes’ love speaks louder than their words.
2 Peter 1:5-7 (NIV)
5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love.