What is it about American football? It draws people in and, love it or hate it, can bring a community together. In this episode Dr. Brian Bolt and Dr. Chad Carlson talk about their own experience with the game – from their own participation to analysis of the daily headlines. They also foreshadow an upcoming talk on football set to take place at the 2nd Global Congress on Sport and Christianity. Not only will there be questions of the game itself, but also discussion of what is theologically sound.
As believers we are told to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It’s a two-fold task to make the world a better place and to praise and celebrate life. In other words, we are asked to work and play. In this episode we will focus on the play part. Dr. Scott Kretchmar, retired professor at Penn State University and one of world’s leading sport philosophers, helps us understand how sport can fit into our Christian worldview. He takes the drama of the game to a whole different level asking some big questions and providing answers on the place and purpose of sport.
We get our sports news in a variety of ways. To get a final score or highlights we quick check social media. For a bit deeper perspective many of us turn on the TV, radio or tune into our favorite podcast. Behind every platform is a person who works long hours to deliver us the facts and perspective we so love to hear. In this episode, Dr. Brian Bolt and Dr. Chad Carlson talk with Bruce Wawrzyniak from Catholic Sport Radio. Wawrzyniak does sports public relations, which means broadcaster but also podcaster, blogger and author. He juggles many sports and shares how delivers the information through a Christian lens.
When Ryan Hall was a kid he hated running. In fact he still doesn’t enjoy it. The irony, Hall is an Olympic athlete and American record holder in the half marathon. At 13-years old he says he felt God was pushing him to run with the best runners in the world. The best part is that he listened. In this episode, Hall talks to Dr. Brian Bolt and Dr. Chad Carlson about the faith behind his running success. Now a coach, speaker and nonprofit partner, Hall also talks about his new book “Run the Mile You’re In: Finding God in Every Step.” Tune in for some guaranteed motivation today.
That last bit of energy, focus, or determination you bring to sport contest may just be what makes the difference in the end, but you never know in the moment. Tim Selgo, the athletic director who built the Grand Valley Lakers into the most prominent NCAA Division II athletic program in the United States, tells the story of how he built a culture of competitive greatness, getting his coaches and student athletes ready and able compete with the mindset of “you never know.” With Chad Carlson away on vacation, Calvin University athletic director Jim Timmer joins Brian to dig deep with Tim Selgo about how his faith served as his foundation as a leader in this very competitive environment.
All eyes are on the World Cup. When sport is put on an international stage and the world is watching emotions become magnified. There are emotions with winning and losing and with the controversy within. We have seen plenty of controversy watching Team USA (in the recent tournament and with past social and political issues). In this episode Dr. Brian Bolt and Dr. Chad Carlson dig into some of the headlines. From running up the score to penalty kicks they question: Is the media hype surrounding the controversy legitimate or misplaced labels? And in the end, they’ll bring full circle what the answers tell us about ourselves as humans looking for a place in sport.
Chris Norton is known as the college football player who suffered a spinal cord injury during kick-off that nearly took his life. Doctors gave him a 3% chance to move and feel anything below his neck. Now nearly a decade after his injury Norton shares with Dr. Brian Bolt and Dr. Chad Carlson his story — a story of faithfully pushing past life’s challenges. For Norton the victories are walking across a stage to graduate, walking down the aisle with his wife, and learning to live daily with a devastating injury. It’s all chronicled in his new book “The Seven Longest Yards” and we get to hear a bit of his inspiration live!
Life, like sport, has different seasons. In this episode Dr. Bolt and Dr. Carlson look at the rhythms of both life and sport, including the highs and the lows — the joy, intensity, obsession, guilt and much needed rest. All things that must be put in perspective as we check ourselves on identity and priority. And on a side note, they’ll let you in on some big news with the 2nd Global Congress on Sport and Christianity, an event they’re planning for next fall. The speaker line-up is official and there’s a big name, an icon in the world of sport and faith, they want to share with you.
March Madness is here! Dr. Chad Carlson knows more about this topic and time of year than anyone. He’s played and coached college basketball. He’s also written a book called “Making March Madness: The Early Years of the NCAA, NIT, and College Basketball Championships, 1922-1951”. So this podcast is a little different; the duo does a little Q&A putting the expert in the hot seat. They’ll discuss everything from Chad’s basketball game to the history behind the hype of March Madness. Tune in for some fun!
Is there such a thing as righteous indignation, or justified anger, in sport? Justice and anger are complex topics. God made us to have emotion. And while we are called to be slow to anger, the truth is sport can bring out the worse in us. We quickly realize our zeal for justice is very often self-centered. In this episode Dr. Bolt and Dr. Carlson look at scripture and modern-day sport references to examine this topic. You can also read more in their recent article published by Christian Today titled “Leave Your Righteous Indignation on the Field.”
It’s a grassroots movement for the empowerment of people with intellectual disabilities, and it’s growing. Special Olympics has been around for decades. The organization started with sport at its core but is now evolving to include advocacy and unification in a different way. In this episode Tim Hileman, President and CEO of Special Olympics Michigan, joins us for an honest conversation to talk about the next phase for the movement that aims to find gifts for all athletes, together.
Many of us play sport, but even more of us watch. Walk into any stadium, arena or sports bar and you’ll find passionate, sometimes crazy looking, people cheering on their team. Enter Dr. John Acquaviva, professor of exercise science at Wingate University. He’s made a vocation out of connecting sport and virtue. His books and articles focus on body image, but today he takes the virtue angle a different direction – the role of a sport fan. With the help Dr. Bolt and Dr. Carlson, the trio unpacks what it means to be a good, loyal cheerleader for that team we love so much.
Sister Rita Clare Yoches knows a thing or two about sports. She played Division I basketball at Detroit Mercy and then landed on the Detroit Demolition, a team part of the (now de-funct) national women’s football association. She said she grew up with a belief in God but wasn’t prepared for a sermon that would change her life. Her testimony is humbling and this football nun, as she’s been coined, takes us inside the life of a modern day convent.
Sports fans sometimes wonder, “Why do I care?” In this episode, Dr. Art Remillard, professor of religious studies and author of soon to be released Bodies in Motion: A Religious History of Sports in America, offers an answer. The word “fan” comes from the Latin fanaticus, meaning “possessed by a local deity.” Sport helps define our place, often forming a local identity and connection to others. This “possession” is part of the thrill of sports that has the power both to bring out the best in us, and unfortunately, also our worst.
You can talk the talk, but do you walk the walk? In the media we often hear an athlete profess Glory to God. Instantly, we hold them to a higher standard. But what does it really mean to make a faith statement in sport? Brian Smith is author of “The Assist” (book and website) and is on staff with Athletes In Action at University of Wisconsin-Madison. In this episode he talks with Dr. Bolt and Dr. Carlson about the follow-up questions that the media often neglects. Smith challenges that being a Christian athlete means more than just giving your best and making sure God gets the credit. And that’s just scratching the surface!
What does it mean to love the Lord with all your heart, soul, strength and mind? In this episode we focus on the word “strength” which translates into the physical. Professor Matthew Ruiz from Lipscomb University joins Dr. Brian Bolt and Dr. Chad Carlson to share his perspective on how physical strength and performance can change our perspective in all aspects of our lives. Ruiz, who has consulted with many coaches, athletes, families and sports medicine professionals, dives into scripture to teach on health and being whole—body and soul.
Stanford University is known for its high academic standards, but it also boasts one of the most productive athletic department in the country. Student-athletes at this institution must meet high expectations. In this episode, Dr. Bolt and Dr. Carlson talk with one of the minds on the front lines of support for these student-athletes. The Rev. Dr. Joanne Sanders is the Associate Dean of Religious Life and Priest in the Episcopal Church. As a former athlete, coach and educator, Rev. Dr. Sanders takes her years of experience to discuss some of the issues she confronts and addresses on a daily basis.
As athletes, specifically student-athletes, it is easy to find your self-worth in a sport. Often, when a God-given ability is showcased at a high level of play that ability becomes what you’re known for. It’s easy to question your identity. In this episode, Dr. Bolt and Dr. Carlson talk with National Championship Volleyball Coach Dr. Amber Warners. She blends her knowledge from the classroom and the court to address real life experiences she walks through with her athletes. It all is a taste of what’s come at the 2nd Global Congress of Sport and Christianity when Dr. Warners presents more on sport and faith!
It’s been a while since Dr. Bolt and Dr. Carlson have met to chat. So, in this episode they catch-up and share some current events (some from their own lives) all sharing an underlying theme – the quest for sport excellence. When done right they look at ways that sport can have moments of redemption and even diversion in our everyday lives. This curative effect can certainly be healthy calling our greater community, and even our opponents, to play alongside us.
In collegiate and professional sports there are many support roles, people who walk alongside athletes when the camera is off, and life happens. In this episode Dr. Brian Bolt and Dr. Chad Carlson speak with special guest Bill Houston, a sports chaplain who works for Our Daily Bread Ministries and the NBA G League. Houston says the job is about building authentic, Christ centered relationships. It’s easier said than done when you work in a secular scene. What you’ll hear in this conversation is how pivotal the work is in changing lives.
Sport, like life, has seasons. All seasons hit a low, a grind, a monotonous time that athletes and coaches must push through. We specifically feel it now in the summer. However, when we chose to play sport we are fully aware that we are entering a two-sided agreement: we will have highs and lows, we will win and lose. Sport is a beautiful analogy of our walk with Christ. Regardless of the final score, we are gifted the ability to play again tomorrow, to work and improve. This episode will encourage you to push through the challenges you face today.
The rise of youth sports in today’s culture is a complex topic. Organized sports provides a different sort of opportunity for young kids. It also comes with a price tag—literal and figurative. In this episode Dr. Brian Bolt and Dr. Chad Carlson focus in on one specific question from a listener regarding expectations of practice for young athletes. They challenge parents to find the source of their child’s passion. Is it the sport itself or the outcomes? And, they walk us through the process of nurturing self-directed play and discipline without pressure, all to encourage us to help our kids fall in love with the activity, not the reward.
There are many outcomes of sport. Does sport build character? Reveal it? Should we evaluate actions by athletes differently in a sport environment than in our walk around world? Dr. Brian Bolt and Dr. Chad Carlson reflect on these things while discussing the rescue of the youth soccer team in Thailand and the World Cup. They challenge us to unpack the details and context of a specific sport before we arrive at a conclusion of what is good and what is bad. And in the end, give ourselves a gut check on the main question of intent—the questions of how of why we play.
A photo of a naked body can make us marvel yet feel uncomfortable at the same time. This week is the 10-year anniversary of the Body Issue, an edition of ESPN The Magazine that features top athletes in nude photographs. It’s often compared to the Sports Illustrated annual Swimsuit Issue, and frankly because of that the conversation stops quickly. But is there more here that we as Christians should talk about? God created us whole, body and soul. Can we celebrate extraordinarily athletic bodies, the disciple to build them, and the vulnerability to share them — all with a certain lens of discernment? There’s much more to hear. Tune in.
Listen to the PhDs play a little philosophical game of tackling different perspectives in sport, perspectives that claim Christianity as its vehicle to approach the game. It’s a big topic, but an important one as we look at our motives of connecting sport and faith in our everyday lives. Dr. Brian Bolt puts Dr. Chad Carlson on the spot and asks him to dissect some basic ideas we see in culture, like a Bible verse above a locker room, and draw some conclusions on how these ideas impact us as believers and athletes.