What is SportsFaith? Founder Matt Kowalczyk shares more about how Sportsfaith started and how he sees it today.
I had the opportunity to interview Jeff Middlestead NE Wisconsin Director of FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes). He has been the Director since April of 2017. If you would like to get involved in FCA give Jeff a call at 920-209-3505 or email him at email@example.com
Our guest today on Episode #7 of the Sportsfaith Podcast is Brian Hendricks 2nd year Head Coach of the Divine Savior Holy Angels High School Girls Basketball team. Brian talked about the disappointment of not being able to play in the State Basketball Tournament in Green Bay after the Covid-19 Pandemic cancelled the rest of the season.
He talked about the beliefs and standards at the all girls school and how the school with an enrollment of 694 students is considered a Division I school. He talked about his early job experience in sales and how he disliked that and was looking for something more fulfilling in his work life before landing at DSHA as a College Advisor.
Today’s guest on the Sportsfaith Podcast was Ryan Borowicz the owner of “The Driveway” a basketball training facility in Green Bay, WI. Ryan was a 3 sport athlete at Ashwaubenon High School and went on to play basketball at UW Green Bay.
He was one of the top 3 point shooters in UW Green Bay history making 49% of his 3 point attempts his senior year. He made a total of 174 career 3 point shots and finished 3rd all time at UW Green Bay.
He went on to play professionally in Australia for two years where he made the league’s All Star team! We talked about his playing career and quite a bit about his summer basketball camps, shooting clinics and his daily work at “The Driveway” since June of 2016. Also Ryan talked about Covid-19 and how that has affected his business and personal life at home.
Ryan along with is wife Melissa reside in West De Pere, WI along with their 3 sons Bryce (13), Cooper (11), Griffin (9)
Today’s guest on Episode #9 of the Sportsfaith Podcast is former UCLA Women’s basketball player Chrissy Baird.
Chrissy is a 2014 graduate of Wheaton High School in Wheaton Illinois. She played at UCLA from 2014-2019 and now works for FCA in Santa Barbara California as a college representative.
Chrissy Earned four varsity letters at Wheaton North High School (Wheaton, Ill.) from 2011-14. She became the school’s all-time leading scorer (1,076 points) and rebounder (828 rebounds). She was a three-time unanimous all-DuPage Valley Conference performer (2012-14), she was a Miss Illinois Basketball finalist as a senior and was named to the second team All-USA Today Illinois Girl’s Basketball Team.
Today on Episode #10 we visited with Danielle Ripley-Burgess the editor of the FCA Magazine. Danielle is a 20 year cancer survivor and was diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer when she was just 17 years old.
Danielle is coming out with a new book talking about her cancer story called Blush: How I barely survived 17.
Danielle talked about the 3 week adoption process of her daughter and how becoming a Mother changed her life.
We talked about how Covid-19 has affected her family and she drew some parallels between today’s quarantine and what she endured when she battled cancer not once, but twice.
You can go to daneileripleyburgess.com to read more about this great story and also subscribe to her blog called the Monday Morning Survival Guide.
You can pre order her new book at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.
Our guest today on the Sportsfaith Podcast is Jon Szalonek, an Army Ranger and Servant Leader. Jon is a graduate of Jacobs High School in the Chicagoland area and also Western Illinois University where he earned his undergrad degree before joining the Army in 2015 as an infantry officer. From 2015 to 2016 Jon completed the Infantry Officer Basic Course, Ranger School, the Stryker Leader Course , and the Airborne Course. He became the Rifle Platoon Leader and Company Executive Officer at Fort Lewis, WA which was his first assignment.
In 2018 Jon was hired by Joint Special Operations Command and deployed with the 75th Ranger Regiment to Afghanistan. Upon returning from overseas Jon moved to Fort Benning GA for the Maneuver Captains Career Course.
He is currently working on getting his Master’s degree in organizational leadership which will be completed in August of 2020. On this episode Jon talks about servant leadership along with what faith looks like in the military. Jon talked about how important physical fitness in the military is and how that holds quite a few potential candidates from ever making it through.
Jon said the biggest reason he has made it through to such high levels in the military is his faith and how he falls back on faith every time he encounters rough times in his military career.
Today’s Sportsfaith Podcast guest is former MLB pitcher Dave Dravecky. Dave’s story is one of finding hope, courage and perseverance in the midst of dark and overwhelming uncertainty.
In 1988, Dave was at the top of his game and his life. Dave’s opening day victory over the Dodgers was overshadowed later that fall by the discovery of cancer and the removal of half of the deltoid muscle in his pitching arm.
After battling cancer in his pitching arm, Dave came back a year later to defy the odds and pitch once again in the Major Leagues. Despite being told by the doctors, “Short of a miracle, you’ll never pitch again,” Dave pitched a 4-3 win for the San Francisco Giants that day.
Sadly, the comeback was short-lived. Five days later, he threw “…the pitch that could be heard round the world vs the Montreal Expos.” Dave’s arm had split in two!!
After my comeback and fall from the mound, the cancer returned, yet again. The arm refused to get better so Dave decided to retire from his dream, the game of baseball, in November of 1989. Finally, the arm along with Dave’s shoulder blade and the left side of his collarbone had to be amputated for fear the cancer would spread and take his life. Little did Dave know that the loss of his childhood dream would become a platform to share hope with the suffering around the world.
Today’s Sportsfaith Podcast guest is former NFL coach Les Steckel. From being an NFL head coach to becoming the President of the FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes). Les was also is a former Marine where he was in the infantry and fought in Vietnam.
Les was released or fired from 8 differ ent coaching positions and he talks about how is faith help carry him through. Coach Steckel listened with ears of faith past the loud rumblings of defeat and loss. Through the power of belief and prayer Les was transformed by God’s grace.
Les became the head coach of the MInnesota Vikings in 1984 as he was handpicked by legendary coach Bud Grant. The season ended with a 3-13 record and Les was fired after that one season.
Les moved on and had great successes with the Patriots(lost to Chicago in 1986 SB) and the Tennessee Titans where he was the Offensive Coordinator.
In Super Bowl XXXIV vs the St Louis Rams the Titans literally fell one yard short of tying the game with just seconds remaining and this became the title of his 2005 book “One Yard Short” Turning your defeats into victory.
After retiring from coaching in 2003 God had a plan to have Les become the 7th President of the FCA in 2005 where he served until his retirement in 2017. Les currently resides in Nashville Tennessee with his wife Chris. They have 3 children Christian, Luke & Lesley.
Our Episode #14 guest of the Sportsfaith Podcast is Chester Marcol former NFL kicker with the Green Bay Packers and Houston Oilers. Chester was inducted into the Packer Hall of Fame in 1987.
Chester talked about his early childhood in Communist Poland and his father’s suicide when he was just 14.
His family immigrated the United States and settled in Inlay, Michigan where Chester discovered football and went on to play at Hillsdale College. He was drafted in the 2nd round(34th overall) by the Green Bay Packers. He won offensive rookie of the year in 1972 and led the NFL in scoring 2 of his first 3 years in the league.
In 1980 Chester was involved in one of the all time great plays in Packer history when he ran in his own blocked FG vs. the Chicago Bears on Sept 7th, 1980 in the home opener.
Later that year the Packers cut Chester during a time where he abused alcohol and prescription painkillers. He had a short stint with Houston before retiring. His abuse of drugs and alcohol continued and resulted in an attempted suicide in 1986.
Chester is currently living in Luxemburg, Wisconsin and is a drug and alcohol counselor in Appleton, Wisconsin. He has been sober for 13 years and enjoys the outdoors where he fishes and hunts.
Today’s Sportsfaith Podcast Guest #15 was Pepper Burruss longtime NFL Athletic Trainer. Pepper spent 42 total years in the NFL with 16 being with the NY Jets and 26 with the Green Bay Packers.
Pepper was part of two Super Bowl winning teams in Green Bay (1997 & 2011).
In 2011 Pepper was inducted into the Wisconsin Athletic Trainers Association Hall of Fame and n 2013 he was awarded the NFL Physicians Society’s “Outstanding NFL Athletic Trainer at the annual NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Pepper and his wife Nancy live in De Pere, Wisconsin and have two grown children Shane, 31 of California and Christina, 26, of Seattle Washington.
SportsFaith is a Christ centered ministry that is focused on introducing people to God through sports. Our prayer is that God uses us to build a better team for Him. He has already provided the playbook (Bible), SportsFaith simply uses articles, interviews, video, audio, and impact events to share His message and make an impact that is positive and God honoring. Visit often, share our mission and help us make sure God is always calling the plays!
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