FCA members give their all to more than just sports

By SHAYNE GOTTLOB Sportswriter


 College athletics today are on a much higher level then where it used to be as far as competition and commitment from athletes are concerned. 

Today’s college athletes are required to sacrifice many hours of their time each week for their sport in addition to carrying a full academic load. A combination of the two engulfs most hours of an athlete’s day, leaving little time for other activities, especially when the athletes are competing during their specific seasons. 

“During football season, it can get difficult … and challenging, but it’s a good challenge,” senior wide receiver Dominique Wright said. 

Much like other athletes, Wright has obligations to his team during the season such as watching film, lifting weights and receiving health treatments, all of which is in addition to practice and games. 

“During football season is the biggest challenge in trying to maintain relationships and my faith and school work,” Wright said. “All of that is the biggest challenge.” 

People often form a perception that athletes focus on their sports without much awareness of what else is going on around them on campus or in their community. 

For a number of athletes, this assumption may be true. However, this concept does not accurately apply to the student-athletes at SDSU, especially for those athletes who actively participate in Fellowship of Christian Athletes. 

FCA is an organization that provides a two-way street for athletes. FCA allows athletes to grow in their Christian faith as well as bond with students in other sports, but the other aspect that athletes enjoy is the opportunities they are given to serve others. 

“Serving is definitively a huge part of FCA and it is one of the reasons why I love it, “ Wright 


 said. “With FCA and being able to serve, you kind of get out of your comfort zone. Serving others has definitely helped me out and is a huge part of my life.”

The Brookings Area FCA offers several opportunities for student-athletes to volunteer in sports camps, fundraisers, and even mission trips. Recently, 24 athletes in FCA offered their spring break to participate in one of the FCA’s most popular serving opportunities, which is a mission trip to Jamaica.

“To show how so many athletes here in South Dakota just have their faith so strong and are willing to help out and take away from their time to relax was an amazing thing to see,” assistant strength coach Jesse Rodriguez said. 

Serving in a foreign country over 2,000 miles from home during the only break some athletes receive all year shows how much SDSU athletes care about serving as well as how far they are willing to go to do it. 

“You would think that spring break would be a time where [athletes say] ‘Okay, I’ve been grueling, I’ve been grinding this whole entire year, it’s time for me to take a break’ … and just to be out there on their spring break serving other people, serving the Jamaicans out there was just an amazing thing,” Rodriguez added.

The opportunity to serve in another country was not just simply SDSU athletes giving their time and efforts either. Wright, one of the leaders of the trip, explained what he learned from the Jamaicans and discussed just how blessed and fortunate he feels to live in America. 

“There’s this guy named Stanley, and he’s one of my good friends in Jamaica. He walks around with a huge smile on his face with holes in his shirt and pants and wearing the same shoes that I saw him wear two years ago. Just seeing that puts everything into perspective,” Wright said. “You realize how grateful and blessed you truly are, because [the Jamaicans] don’t have anything, but they have everything because they have Christ.” 

The mission trip to Jamaica is an annual trip that the FCA members on campus have built into a tradition over the past few years, and it is a tradition that is expected to strive on.

However, no matter the location, FCA will always exist to serve, and it will be led by committed SDSU student-athletes who understand that they are not only called to compete in their sports, but to willingly give back their time to the communities that so faithfully support them. 

“Everybody that’s on a team or even at the collegiate level has been very gifted and blessed by God to have position to play college athletics,” Rodriguez said. … “To see people who are so busy with sports but are also giving that time in sports not for themselves but for glorifying God is a way that they go out their and use that platform.”