Bringing christ into the locker room


Let me set the scene. We had just lost the Sweet 16 game by a heavy margin. This was the last time I’d get the pleasure of sharing a locker room with this team. As we were about to huddle up one last time, my teammate, another senior, asked if we could pray, one more time. I interlocked hands with her and my other teammates & began to pray, thanking God for the girls around me and the opportunity to play with them. After the prayer was finished, we began changing and leaving the locker room one by one. It was finally sinking in that my four years of Trine basketball were over.

As a freshman at Trine, my team looked very different than it did that day in the locker room after the Sweet 16 game. I remember being very nervous to talk about my faith. I was one of the few Christians on the team, and the topic of God and the Christian lifestyle was often dismissed or looked down upon. I was immediately discouraged. My faith began to grow in other parts of campus, but not in the locker room. My teammates knew I was a believer, but we didn’t talk about it much. As that year came and went, God had provided me with a handful of opportunities to share Christ with my teammates, but the atmosphere was similar to when I first got there. For about two years, I created teammate relationships without Christ at the center. I feared making people uncomfortable or them feeling as if I were forcing my beliefs on them. I kept my faith separate from the locker room.

Finally, in the summer before my junior year, God put a big task on my heart. God did not say, “Hey, I would like you to do this”. He said, “Hey, you are going to do this whether you like it or not”. God told me it was time to bring my faith into the locker room. He wanted His presence to be known there, and He knew the effect it would have over the next two years.

FCA was formed at Trine that fall under the name Trine Christian Athletes (TCA). At our first meeting a lot of my teammates were in attendance. After that meeting, they began texting me with questions, ideas for topics, and even prayer. Before I knew it, we were listening to Christian rap during preseason open gyms and God was getting brought up in casual locker room conversation. My two worlds had finally collided, and I was amazed at how quickly God was working.

Those relationships I had formed during those first two years began to strengthen, and God became the center. The team atmosphere became more positive. The concept of playing for Him and each other became something all of us clung to. Senior year came around and we began praying with teams after home games. I remember sitting on the bench at the end of a huge home loss, and telling one of my teammates that we probably were not going to pray after this game. I knew everyone was going to be angry, disappointed, and not want to hold hands with the team that just gave us our first home loss of the season. I didn’t want to frustrate my teammates further. Of course to my surprise, after the game concluded our most competitive starter told me to ask the opposing team to pray with us. We rounded up and prayed. It didn’t make the loss hurt any less, but it put it in perspective. We could refocus on what the ultimate goal was.

Moments of surprise, such as that, happened numerous times throughout the year. My teammates became my accountability partners, my teachers, and my sisters in Christ. So although I will never put a Trine jersey on again, I know that I have a group of people that have seen each other during some of the highest and lowest moments of our lives, and have used the power of prayer and faith to grow as teammates and friends.  The transformation from my freshmen team to my senior team is truly evidence of Jeremiah 29:11,

“For 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.”

God works in mysterious ways, and we don’t always understand it or see it until we look back on the process. God has done amazing things to the Trine Women’s Basketball program, and I trust that the relationships formed will only continue to strengthen God’s presence there. Here’s to four amazing years of growth; God knew the plan He had for me and it all started by bringing Christ into the locker room.

 

 

 

 

 

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