Los Angeles Dodgers All-Star Clayton Kershaw, who is featured on the cover of the newest Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) Magazine, said he must use his time, talent and treasure wisely for his Savior.
Kershaw tells FCA that his time is taken up by regular dinners in the Los Angeles Dodgers’ clubhouse, cardio and weight-room workouts, stretching routines, scouting report breakdowns and long-toss sessions in the outfield. And that’s just on an “off day.”
This once-in-a-decade type of pitcher is destined for the Hall of Fame and consistently displays a white-hot intensity and seemingly singular focus. All this comes from a deeper motivation, he said.
“I didn’t do anything to deserve this gift,” Kershaw says. “God gave me an ability to throw a baseball. He chose me for a reason, and I want to honor Him with that. You can’t control the talents He gives you, no doubt about that. But you can control the effort you put forth with those talents.”
So, from the spring through the fall each year, Kershaw attacks every waking hour of his life. Given the Dodgers’ success in recent years, the season often stretches into October—or, in some cases, like last year’s seven-game World Series, even November.
Because he must exert such a staggering amount of control over his days for at least nine months out of the year, one might think he’d be similarly guarded during the offseason when he’s back home in Dallas. Instead, Kershaw opens his time to generously serve others.
One of the ways Kershaw serves is through the Fellowship of Christian Athletes Huddle at Highland Park High School, where Clayton and his wife, Ellen, both graduated. They still call the area “home” and are often seen around town.
Bobby Leidner has been the school’s FCA Huddle coach for the past five years and says that Kershaw doesn’t bring with him a canned testimony when he speaks to the students. This past year, for instance, with the Dodgers’ heartbreaking loss in Game 7 of the World Series fresh on his mind, Kershaw dealt with the topic of failure at the end of an otherwise spectacular season.
That subject struck a chord for “a group of kids who haven’t experienced much failure,” says Ben Pollard, the FCA area representative who serves Highland Park.
“They win 90 percent of the things they do,” Pollard says. “So, for someone who’s one of them to come in and talk about how people are watching when you fail as a believer, that showed an amazing level of maturity.”
Highland Park’s FCA Huddle typically draws 25 to 30 student-athletes, but when Kershaw shows up, that number balloons to 100 or more. Leidner does his best to make sure the Huddle officers are prepared to build on that momentum so they can invite new attendees to the next FCA event, and hopefully, begin to help build their relationship with Christ.
“Looking back, I realize the speakers we had when I was in FCA had a big impact on my life,” Kershaw says. “I’m fortunate now to be in a position where high school kids might actually listen to what I have to say. I don’t take that for granted.”
FCA is in the midst of its popular summer Camps program, where more than 100,000 coaches and athletes will be transformed, both athletically and spiritually, at hundreds of Camps across the country and around the world. With the theme of “Strong,” based on the Bible verse 2 Timothy 4:7, Camp attendees will focus on the fact that believers serve a strong God, and how His followers are called to be like Him in every area of their lives—including sports.
To find FCA Camps in specific areas or to inquire about volunteering at an FCA Camp, visit www.fcacamps.org. Read more about Fellowship of Christian Athletes here, visit FCA’s website at www.fca.org, its Facebook page at www.facebook.com/fcafans or its Twitter feed @fcanews.