Thank you for making Orthodoxy cool. For showing my sports-crazy 9 year old son that a professional football player can be a devout Orthodox Christian who isn’t afraid to talk about his faith and to make the sign of the Cross in public. Thank you for your example of good sportsmanship and hard work; your devotion to family and a clear-mindedness about the value of eternal things over material possessions.
I’ll admit it, but football isn’t one of my favorite sports. Maybe having spent my entire life in the state of Texas makes one either love football or not. It’s not for lack of exposure though. Back in the day, my high school (Judson HS) won the state championship several times. As a geek, I was of course president of the “spirit club”. Yeah, that meant myself and other fellow geeks and nerds worked the concession stand every Friday night and made the big, decorated paper goalpost banners. Then I sealed this ambivalent footballness with my induction into the maroon and white cult of Texas A & M; a university that could not be more historically and intricately linked with football. However, it was at A & M that I most clearly understood and appreciated the Pavlovian reward for fan devotion and team spirit. Football games that by tradition require men to kiss their dates after every Aggie touchdown are ok in my book.
So, what am I going to do now that my 9 year old thinks football is the greatest sport since the gladiatorial games? If he’s got someone like Troy Polamalu as a role model, I’m gonna say…. GO STEELERS!
(And Mr. Polamalu – if you ever feel the need to get out of the cold Yankee north country, I know a very nice Orthodox parish in San Antonio that would love to have you come for a visit!)
For a very personal interview with Troy Polamalu, discussing his faith and family life, click here.