January 26, 2009
I confess to being a sports junkie. I was raised with a dad and two brothers who loved sports. I either got on the band wagon or I would have nothing to contribute to dinner time conversations! (Not quite…we fussed about politics and world affairs a bit too!)
But if you love sports, this is a big week. Next Sunday is Super Bowl Sunday. Millions are spent on advertising; thousands crowd into the stadium hours before the game and scream until someone is holding the trophy over their head. I can’t wait!
Like any good fan, I have my favorites and they are usually picked because I know something personal about them. And this year, I am rooting for the Arizona Cardinals, mainly because I have great respect and admiration for their quarterback, Kurt Warner. Even if you do not like sports, here is a guy who personifies perseverance with a Godly attitude.
After an undistinguished career at Northern Iowa University, Kurt was cut by the Green Bay Packers before the regular season even began. While he waited for another chance in the NFL, he worked the night shift as a stock boy for a grocery store. About then, he married Brenda Meoni, a divorcee with two young children who had been deserted by her first husband. Her son was seriously disabled when his father carelessly dropped him on the floor. When Kurt was dating Brenda, he would take the kids along too, and when they were married, he adopted them both.
Kurt came to Christ through a family tragedy. In 1996, Brenda’s parents were both killed by a tornado. The experience deeply affected both Brenda and Kurt and through it all, their spiritual lives were ignited.
He played several years of arena football before he was signed by the St. Louis Rams in 1998. Out of nowhere, he had a break-out season and ended up leading the Rams to a Super Bowl victory in 1999. That year he was MVP of the league and MVP of the Super Bowl. Only six other players have ever done that! He should have been at the apex of his career, but after a couple of disappointing seasons with the Rams, Kurt was traded to the Giants. After just one “so-so” season, Kurt was again traded, this time to the Cardinals. He was the starting quarterback, but after a groin injury he was relegated to back up. He rallied and then suffered a partially torn MCL. He rallied again only to be replaced by the rookie Matt Leinart. But at the start of this season when Matt faltered, the Cardinal’s coach, Ken Whisenhunt gave the job to Kurt.
And the rest is history. He has led his team to the conference championship and is now ready to lead them to a super bowl victory…as a 37 year old! In the exciting chaos after the championship game, the interviewer asked about that remarkable victory and Kurt did as he always does…he paused to give credit to “his Lord and Savor Jesus Christ”. What a testimony he has among the players, his community and the football world.
And along the way, Kurt and Brenda have had 5 other children, formed a non-profit organization called “First Things First” based on the passage in Matt. 6:33. His foundation is focused on teaching others how to have a strong faith in God, themselves and their talent. He has a wide array of projects focused on children, and he has spent countless hours volunteering with Habitat for Humanity and many other charitable organizations.
We don’t have a lot of heroes in our society…so if you are looking for someone to cheer for this weekend, I vote for Kurt Warner and the Cardinals!
Warmest Regards in Christ,
Sherry L. Worel
Stoneybrooke Christian Schools