As I was drove home on June 3 from visiting my son, Lamar III, who is recovering from major jaw surgery, I turned on the radio and was delighted to hear an interview with Eddie Gavin of the Columbus Crew, a Major League Soccer (MLS) franchise. I had been told about the interview last Friday by Archbishop Naumann of the Archdiocese of Kansas City, Kansas so I noted it and listened in. Eddie was being interviewed about his Christian faith by Ron Meyer for a show called Blessed 2 Play, a national program featuring sports figures who explain how their faith impacts their careers and family. If you go to the Blessed 2 Play website, you can listen to the entire 30-minute interview.
The two things that impressed me most were (a) Eddie’s gratitude for his faith, career in soccer, and his young family (a wife and one child), and (b) his absolute willingness to share his gratitude openly with others. I have heard spiritually-astute individuals say that gratitude and giving God his proper respect are the foundations for a strong spiritual life – a life that gives back to others and is sacrificial in nature. Coincidentally, the nature of being a good athlete and teammate encompasses those two things. Athletes can be thought of as entertainers and it is a gift to be an athlete. Mr. Gavin had things in the proper perspective: love people and use the things of this Earth to help others. This is a message so many young people need to hear because it is typically turned around so that the things of the Earth are loved first and foremost while people are considered to be disposable or just simply for “use” by others. Throughout the interview Eddie sounded like a man who says each morning, “Good morning Lord!” as opposed to “Good Lord! It is morning?” Each morning when each of us wakes and still has a heartbeat, we should know that there is something more for us to do on behalf of our families, our friends, and our community.
Blessed 2 Play focuses on the athlete’s perspective on their professional sporting life as well as how their faith affects their on-field and community life. The core identity for all of us is that we are beloved sons and daughters of God, friends to Jesus Christ, and temples of the Holy Spirit. Mr. Gavin knows what he is seeking, and he has put his life in the proper perspective. I believe that this may contribute to his competitive zeal and hustle. When I have watched him play, I notice a relentlessness – and I know the fans notice this as well. He is striving for excellence, beauty, and truth and will take what life on and off the soccer pitch brings because he has a supernatural perspective.
On behalf of the Hunt family, I’d like to say thank you to Eddie and all the members and staff of the Columbus Crew for putting yourselves out there each and every day to the greatest of your abilities. The team is in 4th place and has played some of its very best soccer of the season in the last five matches – accumulating a total of 11 points. The coaching staff has done a masterful job of engineering the lineups despite the lack of certain players, and should be commended for that. The handling of personnel is such an important task for a coaching staff, and the community of Columbus should be elated to have such a fine professional team representing the community. Let’s pack Crew Stadium this summer – starting with Military Appreciation Night on June 30th!