I'll admit that my timing is awkward. Oklahomans are not supposed to write positive words about the quarterback of the Texas Longhorns on the eve of the University of Oklahoma- University of Texas football game.
However, I can't help myself. I appreciate Christian athletes who live their faith in Christ with class and dignity.
When I read about Texas quarterback Colt McCoy's friendship with Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford in today's edition of USA Today ("A brotherly bond links archrival QBs," October 16, 2009, section C, page 7), I knew I had to make a few comments.
Following the injury to Bradford's shoulder last month, the article reported,
"McCoy texted Bradford the night of his injury, saying he was praying for him. 'I know that it's tough. Anytime you're in a situation like that, you're disappointed, you're upset, because you want to be out there with your team and competing with your team,' McCoy says.
"Bradford says, 'For him to do something like that and keep encouraging me, it says a lot about who he is.'"
Sam Bradford has seen something uncommon and good in his Red River rival. He has seen a glimpse of genuine Christian faith in action.
In an interview published in the October edition of the Christian Chronicle ("A conversation with Colt McCoy", page 22), McCoy explained that he was raised in a Christian home and came to share his parents' faith in Jesus Christ.
"Most of all, my family (is the key spiritual influence in my life). Both sets of my grandparents were believers, and it was shown in all ways in their everyday lives.
"My mom and dad were my first examples of what a Christian life should look like.
"We didn't have much choice, though, when we were young. We were at church every time the doors were open--and sometimes when they weren't. It was not an option to miss church for anything...Those priorities made a big impression on me and my brothers. It wasn't always easy on my parents, but being in worship...and encouraging others was always a priority.
"...I was taught at an early age the way I was supposed to act and treat others, and there was never really any acceptance of anything less.
"My parents set high standards for me and my brothers...So I learned that people were watching and that doing things right was important--and that being helpful to others was important, too.
"So I guess you might say that I was raised with those expectations, and nothing has changed."
I like the character displayed by Colt McCoy. His kindness to a rival has made a positive impact for Christ. And all those unseen years of training by dedicated Christian parents has paid off.
The little things in life count and make big impressions.
"...always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else" (1 Thessalonians 5:15).