Student-athletes find balance of faith and sport

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Finding balance between faith and sports can be a difficult challenge for many, but California Baptist University athletes conquer it in a variety of ways.

Ryan Williams, CBU alumnus and former Lancer baseball player, said he was able to successfully maintain his faith.

Throughout Williams’ four years he said he kept God  his No. 1 priority by setting aside time each day for God, whether reading the Bible, doing devotions or taking daily prayer walks.

“You have a time for everything. It’s just about making him a priority. You have a priority to put on clothes or take a shower. It’s the same deal, but with God,” Williams said.

Some Christian student-athletes struggle to find this balance, though. Elizabeth Gilley, junior pre-nursing major and volleyball outside hitter, said finding time can be difficult, especially during her  season.

“Our days and weeks all look different from each other so staying on top of school, volleyball and the rest of life certainly puts obstacles in the way of setting aside time,” Gilley said.

Staying on top of academics and volleyball is time-consuming but Gilley said she has learned to use her skills and abilities to glorify God every day.

“My coach and past players have done a great job of reminding me that volleyball is a gifted skill and it isn’t without a bigger meaning,” Gilley said. “We’ve been given our skills and gifts by God so the best way we can glorify him is by using them and working as hard as we can by making the most of what he’s given us.”

Another challenge some athletes may face is the faith of their teammates and trying to reflect what they believe.

Bryce Buckley, senior accounting major and wrestler, said commitment to faith varies among athletes.

Buckley said he learned to be a good example through his actions when it comes to prioritizing faith and shift the stereotype athletes may have.

“Its about how you carry yourself,” Buckley said. “My purpose is to glorify God and reflect my relationship with him. I hope people can see that in the decisions I make and the way I behave.”

By looking at the actions exhibited by these athletes, students can see that it is possible to balance faith and sports. Through challenges and obstacles, some student-athletes have been able to persevere and put God first in all that they do.

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