This is a three part series on how my sport development story happened.
I came from a family where we were given every opportunity to succeed and were expected to do so (in a kind and supportive way). My father, as an officer in the army and former basketball player, saw the value of sports in developing our character and led by example continuing to play basketball and running well into his adult years. As well, we all pursued a vibrant relationship with our savior Jesus and sought to live a life where our faith in God was integrated into all.
From the age of five, I ran. Our parents were quick to put us in “everything”. I played tennis, basketball, football, baseball, and swam in addition to the running from the age of seven. We were a “sporting family” of the 1970’s. At the age of ten, I wanted to accomplish two things: win the Olympic marathon and become a cardiologist. I know that is a bit early for lofty goals, but it was important in our family to plan ahead.
Spring of 1988. As a junior at Harding University, I was racing well and had scored decently on my MCAT. Things seemed to be humming along very nicely for my 10 year old plans. What I didn’t count on was the impact of my Bible courses at Harding which began to augment the faith journey I had been on since childhood. That semester, I was being taught by a missionary serving in Kenya. Towards the end of the semester after many heated discussions in class, he called me to his office or maybe I just happened by and he expressed that he could see me becoming a missionary to Africa as well. I remember, either just in my imagination or in the flesh, placing my hand on his desk, quite possibly in a fist of defiance, and proclaiming that I would never be a missionary, and most definitely would never be a missionary in Africa.
Thus began an eight year wrestling match with God that I eventually lost. Only, in losing to God, I won at life.
11For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.