In the early 1960’s a high school student changed the face of a sport forever. Dick Fosbury was struggling to clear the high jump bar as a tall 16 year old at Medford High School in Portland Oregon. He began experimenting with different jump techniques and landings since the rules of what was acceptable were fairly broad.
That experimenting birthed the technique that is now used world-wide. It is called the “Fosbury Flop”. And it lead him to World Records and Olympic Gold. Boldness is defined as “willingness to take risks and act innovatively; confidence or courage.” Fosbury demonstrated each of these traits in developing the “flop”. And his boldness changed the way high jumpers jumped.
As I read the articles I will share about Tyler Lockett for this post, his boldness is what stands out to me. We will see some of the bold stands he is takings in his football career and also in his Christian faith. More to come on that in a little bit, first, some background about Lockett.
Seattle drafted Lockett in the third round of the 2015 draft. He had an outstanding 4 year career at Kansas State where he was used as a receiver and return specialist. He was a two-time Big 12 Special Teams player of the year, a two-time All American and the 2011 Big 12 Offensive Rookie of the Year. With Seattle, he was named to the 2015 All-Rookie team (at three different positions) and named to the 2016 Pro Bowl. In 2016, Lockett suffered a season ending injury when he broke his leg making a catch against the Arizona Cardinals.
In general, football requires confidence and courage – a certain amount of boldness is necessary to strap on the pads and run full speed across a field where others are trying to take you down. By Lockett’s boldness goes beyond the football field. As you can read in this article from Seattlepi.com. He is bold about his faith, sharing it via spoken word at team meetings at training camp in 2016 and now, for all to see. This is not the first time that I have written about a player’s musical endeavors (Justin Forsett, Quintin Demps and Jonathan Stewart come to mind immediately) Here is “Fly High” – a sample of his spoken word.
He also has taken a bold stand in talking about some of the temptations that many face, but that seem even more overt when fame and fortune are added to the equation. Here is an article from Sports Spectrum where Lockett discusses how he is waiting until he is married before having sex. He says “I open up to my teammates about it, they all know I’m a virgin,”…”They don’t really trip. I like to talk about things that not too many people really talk about or go down in a discussion… I just want to be able to show that you can be successful and represent God at the same time…Some people wonder because I’m a Christian in the locker room: ‘How do you do that? How do you deal with that?’ It’s not something that you balance. Everybody is human. They act like everybody else is evil, and it’s not like that.”
Also, check out this brief feature done on Lockett by a Seattle TV station about his faith and participation in a church service in the Seattle Area.
Here are my takeaways from Lockett’s story:
1- Which Lie Doesn’t Matter– I am often encouraged when I read stories like Lockett’s. The openness that he has about his faith and the stand he is making on sex. I appreciate that he is so strong in his faith, and so bold that he doesn’t care what others may say. As Christians, in today’s world, these kinds of stands are difficult to make. It seems that all beliefs and faiths are acceptable to the world at large except Christianity. To me, that is a confirmation that Jesus IS the way, the truth and the life. You see the other faiths all seem to get along and coexist. I think that it is because it doesn’t matter to Satan which of his lies you believe, just that you are not following the one true God. Jesus said in John 16.33 that in this world, we WILL have trouble, but that He wins in the end and He invites us to share in that victory. So when you are facing hardship, ridicule or mockery for your faith, take comfort in that. You are under attack because you pose a threat to the prince of this world. He is not controlling you and he wants to. Stay strong in your faith and lean on your Savior for help.
2- Fly High – Lockett’s spoken word poem was great. It is really encouraging as well, that when times get hard, God is with us. He wants to use us, and the things – good and bad – that happen in our life, to point others to Him. He says “You ain’t gotta be rich just to be happy, you could still be broke. If you’re lost, but still alive, then you can still find hope. But don’t live to survive, you got to learn how to fly…” With God on our side, the possibilities are endless. God can use us in many ways, He can lead us on incredible adventures beyond our wildest imaginations, and He will collect us in our moments of brokenness and help us soar again. What is your dream? What amazing adventure lies ahead of you on the path He has laid out? Step out boldly and Fly High!