The sports world we live in today is constantly changing. Sports are competitive, and athletes along with coaches have one goal, and that’s to win. Winning is great and wonderful but are you winning for today or the future in your life? The odds of your child becoming a college athlete is around seven percent. Roughly two percent will play in the NCAA Division one system. One in sixteen thousand high school athletes will play professional sports. Considering those numbers, high school athletes will most likely become professionals in something other than sports. Are we teaching our athletes to win at all costs or to grow up and be Godly citizens?

As a high school athlete, it can be difficult when you take into account peer pressure from friends and even adults. Unfortunately, it seems that athletes and coaches are not considered popular unless they curse on the sideline, drink alcohol, or use some type of substance. Athletes are trying to fit in, and unfortunately, many athletes and coaches fall into peer pressure to glorify themself.

Isaac Hoffpauir, a Senior at West Point High School, is an athlete who not only walks the walk but talks the talk and spreads the love of Christ to his teammates. Isaac has a passion for sports, and as a standout athlete, other athletes look up to him for guidance. Isaac accepted the call to ministry and plans to pursue a career in ministry following high school. “I think as an athlete pursuing a call to ministry; I’m just trying to be a light to the people I come in contact with, whether it be praying for them or simply talking with them. Trying to be the hands and feet of Jesus,” said Hoffpauir. Adults, teachers, and coaches play a significant role in what our youth see and do. Hoffpauir went on to say, “I think that what adults, teachers, coaches can do to help be the example for teenagers is to live as God has called us to live. 1 Peter 1:16 says, “Be holy, for I am holy.” If God has called each one of us to live holy, that’s how we should strive to live.”

Student-athletes face adversity nearly every day. However, it’s how they respond to that adversity that will set them apart. “I think the biggest adversities I see today in student-athletes is that we’ve forgotten one of the main goals in life, and that goal is to do everything for the glory of God. I feel like for even me, we get caught up in how much praise we get from the people around us and what other people think, but instead, we should give all that praise to God because he’s the one that gave us the gifts and opportunities.” Living Christ-like in an unGodly world may seem difficult for some, but that lifestyle is not necessary to succeed in life. “I try to be a light to everybody I come in contact with. I think the best thing we can do as Christians is let people know that you care about them and that you’re praying for them.” Isaac went on to say, “I think walking out a life that is pleasing to God is one of the hardest things because the devil wants nothing more than to see you trip up and turn away from God. You have to live with the end in sight because there’s not going to be a better feeling than to hear God say, well done, my good and faithful servant.”

The West Point community has undoubtedly felt the impact over the last year of living for today and not taking life for granted. “This year, I’ve felt the realization that life can be over with quicker than we would like. For many years of my life, death had never really affected me. I never lost someone that close to me. I’ve lost two teenagers that were close to me. One being Chris Owens. One thing that has stuck with me ever since is don’t take your life for granted, and to live every day of my life pleasing and honorable to God.”

The world we live in today can be challenging for adults, much less our youth. Yet, our youth is tomorrow’s leader of America. Therefore, student-athletes all over Cullman County need now more than ever to be uplifted for the Godly achievements they are doing to benefit their respective schools. West Point Baseball Head Coach Drew Bryson summed it up best when talking about Isaac. “Isaac is a special young man that is going to do big things in life. Answering the call to preach as a teenager and serving God in that role can be hard to do with all the pressures and worldly things out there, but Isaac is one of those guys that you can see Jesus in him. There’s a difference in him, how he conducts himself, his actions, his words. Like any other person, he isn’t perfect, but he truly seeks to live a life that is pleasing to God, and in doing that, he has a substantial positive impact in our program with him being a role model for our younger guys both on and off the field.”