My wife and I, as U. of Michigan alumni, were disappointed last night to see the Louisville men’s basketball team beat Michigan in the NCAA national championship game, 82-76.
Then, amid post-game tumult, came the CBS announcer Jim Nantz's interview with Louisville star Peyton Siva. It began with the conventional introductory words for those who idolize an individual: “I’ve heard so many testimonials about what you meant to this program. … How do you put this into words, being a champion?”
Here’s Siva’s unconventional response: “First off, I got to thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, for blessing us for this opportunity. I thank God, and without my teammates, without my parents, my girlfriend over there, my sisters, my brothers, none of this would be possible. I’m just thankful to God.”
Happily, Sports Spectrum posted an article a few days ago about Siva, who grew up in a rough, crime-ridden area of Seattle and told writer Ken Snyder, “My brother, he was in jail. My dad was in and out of jail. My sister had been in and out of jail.”
Siva could have gone there as well, said Danny Cage, youth pastor at Mount Calvary Christian Center in Seattle: “He had so many people pulling at him at such a young age. … He wanted to be focused spiritually through that. It separated him from the pack. He would study scriptures, and fast, and would ask to be held accountable.”
Cage told Snyder that Siva’s father, brother, and sister have all learned about Christ through the hoopster’s urging and his I.A.J.—”It’s All Jesus”—faith. Siva told Snyder, “God lifts us up so we can lift Him up. … He’s definitely using me in basketball to give Him glory and to use me to show other kids that God is with you and God has a plan for you no matter whether it’s basketball, football or being a doctor.”
When we remember what’s important, everything looks different. Disappointment? Hmm. Last night’s basketball game was a great one, with God glorified through 40 minutes of brilliant action and 30 seconds of testimony afterward.