Sports Role Models
By John Livingston Clark
Every successful baseball team has to have good relief pitchers. The New York Yankees are no exception. From 1995-2013, number 42, was their closing reliever. His name is Mariano Rivera. During his professional career in baseball Mariano recorded 652 saves, and is now considered to be “the greatest closer in the history of baseball.”
Since his retirement, Mariano has a new mission in life. His organization, the Rivera Foundation, is spending three million dollars to restore a 107 year old church. The building which was on the verge of collapse, was being used as a storage building for police evidence. It is being turned into a place where the Refugio de Esperanza (Refuge of Hope) can meet for worship. The congregation is led by Mariano’s wife, Clara. God gave the two of them the vision and desire to renovate it.
Mariano said, “The baseball is one thing. We won championships. But this is totally on another level. This is to hopefully bring families closer to the Lord…Changing people’s lives, that’s what counts.”
Now from baseball to basketball. The location is North Carolina Central University. Not known for a quality basketball program in previous years, Levelle Moton brought new life to the team when he became coach five years ago. Since that time the team has won the championship of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. More important than winning games, Levelle is focused on building men. He said, “When I look in these kids’ eyes on my basketball team, half of my team does not have fathers. I know what it feels like to be a kid longing for your daddy to come home.” This is not the end of this man’s remarkable story. Levelle’s main focus in life is his personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, and his wife and family.
Both of these men are true role models. They are more interested in building character than winning games.