While the area was captivated with several events surrounding the Preakness Stakes, several greats from the world of professional and college football came to town for an event called, “Faith and Football” that was sponsored by the Baltimore Stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and held at their Stake Center in Essex.
The list of speakers read like a who’s who of the gridiron:
– Lavell Edwards – BYU and College Football Hall of Fame Head Coach
– Burgess Owens – DB for the New York Jets and Oakland Raiders
– Derrick Mason – WR for the Baltimore Ravens
– Lenny Moore – legendary Baltimore Colt and Pro Football Hall of Fame running back
– Edwin Mulitalo – guard for the Ravens and the Detroit Lions
– Ken Niumatalolo – head coach, U.S. Naval Academy
– Andy Reid – head coach, Philadelphia Eagles
– Stan White – Baltimore Colt All-Pro LB and Ravens’ radio analyst
Lenny Moore was given a ”Lifetime Achievement Award” after a great video presentation highlighting his career with the Colts. Mr. Moore followed with a powerful and inspiring speech, just as the other above mentioned speakers did.
The only thing about those men that is more numerous than their accomplishments in football is the amount of times each of them have given back to society. Whether it be Derrick Mason’s work with at risk children and animal shelters, Lenny Moore’s work with juvenile services, Edwin Mulitalo’s involvement with school music programs, the list goes on and on.
What I liked about each of these speakers is that none of them were “preachy” about their faith. Each of them told personal stories about their lives on and off of the field and how their faith helped them through the good times and the bad. I especially appreciated this since I often joke with my friends about what I call my “twelve year sentence to Catholic school”. I am grateful for the education and the values that they taught but I often thought there was a lot of inconsistency and sometimes, hypocrisy with a lot of organized religions. But rather than give “fire and brimstone” speeches that often cause controversy and vilify many religions, these men spoke because they thought this was another way to help people, just as they do in various ways on a daily basis.
I want to express my gratitude to Monica and other members of the Church of Jesus Christ and Latter Day Saints for holding this event and allowing me to participate. Like other facets of news, it seems as if there is more negative press about professional athletes than the positive things that they do. Nestor allowed me to continue blogging to “give me a voice”. Well, I’m using my voice to highlight this event and the people involved.
If you would like more info about future events, go to www.faithfootball.org.