I’m a huge hockey fan. It is a love I share with my daughter and many of our friends. We have even been known to convert people to hockey by sharing our love of the game with them. Anyone who knows us, even briefly, knows we are Washington Capitals and LA Kings hockey fans. I have a wall in my home dedicated to hockey memorabilia. I have hockey stickers on my car. I proudly “rock the red” with shirts, scarves, and jackets. I am bold about my team and happy to tell you about our community and why we follow hockey.
Funny thing is, I’m not sure that everyone I meet knows right off the bat that I am a follower of Jesus Christ and a Christian. I don’t know if I am always willing to risk that recognition in public. I don’t know that I am as willing to talk about Jesus as I am to talk about hockey.
When it comes to hockey, I love the excitement. I love the speed of the game and the powerful hitting and fighting that takes place on the ice. I love that these men are willing to bang up their bodies and risk head injuries for my enjoyment. They do what they do at the risk of concussions and torn ligaments:
A concussion is a type of brain injury that is caused by a bump or blow not only to the head, but anywhere else that causes the head to jolt in a harsh manner. The main symptoms of a concussion include headaches, loss of memory, and general confusion. Some of the worst symptoms include seizures as well as constant dizziness. Unfortunately, the style of play in hockey means that concussions are pretty common.
Players get out there time and again and offer so much of themselves for the benefit of others. They don’t think twice about the sacrifice or the long-term effects of what they do, they just do it. And there have been repercussions. For example, Dennis Vaske was playing for The New York Islanders when his career was interrupted by a concussion. In a game against The Los Angeles Kings in 1995 Vaske was on the receiving end of a nasty hit that sent him face first into the boards. Three other players with the Flyers had their careers ended by concussions: Eric Lindros, Keith Primeau, and Chris Pronger. Eric Lindros career ended after a shoulder to head hit in the 2000 Stanley Cup Finals. Keith Primeau’s career ending concussion was caused by an elbow to the head in 2006. Finally, Chris Pronger was concussed in 2011 after taking a stick to the right eye.
And we cheer on the sidelines for these rough and tough players as they get up and do it all again. As I think about this great game and the risks players are willing to take to their health in the name of a sport, I’m left wondering what risk I am willing to take in the name of Jesus that might yield a lasting result. What am I willing to do to bring lasting joy and healing to someone else? What risk am I willing to take to show my love of Christ with the same passion I show for my love of hockey? Am I willing to take the hard hits and get back up to share another day?
Hockey can be a brutal game and so can sharing the Gospel. We may have to dodge a few pucks shot our way as we defend our faith. We may run the risk of being knocked down to boldly step forward into the other zone. Our heads will likely be spinning some days as we launch into new territory. We may even loose the life we planned as God opens new doors to us. We may suffer a few bumps along the way; however, the end result might just be winning the game, in his name.
Be bold. Step forward. Put on your protective gear and don’t worry about what might happen. Know that you are protected and that even when the fight seems impossible, there will always be another chance at the goal. And remember that the angels are cheering you on.
Written with contribution and photos by Brittney Marcum (@NewViewOfYouPhotography )