Sports and Faith collide to revamp the religion department


Courtesy of @bsmredknights Instagram

Mr. Becker, coach of the BSM girls’ volleyball team, has found a way to weave together sports and faith in the classroom.

To most people, theology and sports are usually put at opposite ends of a spectrum. However, with a new Spirituality of Athletics and Sports (SAS), seniors at BSM are challenged to intertwine their faith and athletic life to become better athletes.

Taught by the BSM girls’ volleyball coach, Mr. Becker has created a safe environment for students to discover their “why” for choosing to play the sport they do, and to see beyond just the athletics side. “I think the biggest thing is having students be able to connect with their faith through something that they are very passionate about,” Becker said.

Theology teachers like Becker know the importance of balancing faith and sports, but they also are aware of the struggle to strike that balance. “As much as we theology teachers get jazzed about reading the Bible and church documents, that’s not always what students are interested in. And so, hopefully if students are taking this class they’re taking it because they love sports and they see it as something bigger than just playing a game, which is ultimately the goal,” Becker said.

Senior Max Benning decided to enroll in Spirituality of Athletics and Sports for his last year here at BSM. Benning is in the thick of his football season with the Red Knights and is looking forward to connecting his faith with his play. “I love the sports I play and it’s very interesting to bring religion into it,” Benning said.

As a theology teacher and volleyball coach, Becker finds it extremely important to look beyond the team’s performance and look at who players are as people off the court. With that, one of the foundational elements of the new class is challenging students to separate their identity given to them by sports, and to rekindle their identities in who they are on and off the field. “It’s also about making sure that my players feel like they’re cared for, and that they are treated not just as athletes who are supposed to be helping us win, but as people who we, the whole coaching staff, love,” Becker said.

In high school, and especially at BSM, it’s no secret how much of a toll sports can take on the lives of students. Some have minimal involvement, but others go as far as worshipping certain sports teams. There is no wrong way to go about playing a sport or supporting a favorite team, however, Spirituality of Athletics and Sports encourages BSM seniors to seek God and spread their faith while doing so.