Sports Spectrum Magazine Summer 2021

Benjamin Watson hosts pro athletes in first virtual Huddle Up with FCA, PAO

In the midst of city lockdowns and the coronavirus pandemic, pro athletes who are followers of Christ are teaming up to spread hope and the Gospel.

On Friday afternoon, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Pro Athletes Outreach came together virtually for the first global sports gathering called Huddle Up. The virtual huddle served to continue FCA’s and PAO’s partnership in ministry to athletes.

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Benjamin Watson, a former NFL tight end for 15 years who officially announced his retirement from the league only two weeks ago, was the host for the nearly 40-minute virtual chat.

He began the huddle by introducing his three guests: MLB pitcher Adam Wainwright of the St. Louis Cardinals, NFL wide receiver Brandin Cooks of the Los Angeles Rams, and former 13-year NFL quarterback Luke McCown.

Among a number of topics, the group discussed faith in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak. Each athlete shared how they are spending time with their families, the unexpected blessings God has revealed during the prolonged social isolation and how they are maintaining their spiritual disciplines of prayer and Bible reading.

“It’s a great moment for us to be drawn to Him,” McCown said. “His mission has not in any way been sidetracked or thwarted since the beginning of time.”

He said that people have been forced to slow down and to recognize the gifts all around us, like quality time with family. Cooks added that this time has been a period of rest for his soul during the unrelenting grind of life in the NFL.

“Sometimes we forget how important rest is and how important God makes the art of resting,” Cooks said. “I think during this time right now, we need to figure out how to rest. … I’m talking about rest in His Word. Praying and hitting that reset button — being restored through a time like this.”

Wainwright said that while much of the world is beset with anxiety during the pandemic, followers of Christ should respond with the joyful assurance of God’s presence. Believers have been sent out to encourage a broken world.

“As believers, when we let Jesus completely infiltrate our bodies and the Holy Spirit just takes over, we become that light for the world to see,” he said. “And what they’re actually seeing is not us. What they’re actually seeing is Jesus.”

Near the end of the virtual huddle, Watson presented the Gospel and extended an invitation for viewers to place their faith and trust in the finished work of Jesus.

“The offering now, the way to be encouraged, the way to have some sort of peace and understanding, the way to have salvation, the way to have your debt paid — the one that you could not pay — is by putting your faith and trust in Jesus Christ. It’s about repenting and turning away from your sin and putting your faith and trust in what Jesus Christ did for all of us on the cross,” Watson said.

He ended with a prayer.

Watch the entire virtual Huddle Up:

There will be another virtual Huddle Up this Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. ET featuring former NFL quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, current NFL special teamer Matthew Slater and a surprise guest yet to be determined.

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