Texas A&M’s kicker Seth Small lit up the internet this past week after his clutch 23-yard field goal upset top-ranked Alabama, the Crimson Tide’s first loss after 100 consecutive victories against unranked teams.
Thousands of fans swarmed onto the field, including Small’s newlywed wife, Rachel. A video of the young woman, along with Seth’s mother, went viral after the game – an emotional snapshot of the pair praying and then collapsing in a happy tear-filled celebration.
During the postgame press conference, the kicker was asked to sum up the accomplishment at College Station.
“It was probably the third best moment of my life, right after I accepted Jesus into my heart as my true Lord and Savior, and then after getting married to my wife this summer,” he replied. “I’d rank this one three.”
The kicker also revealed that he had been praying Psalm 23:1 all-night to help calm his nerves and stay focused:
The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
The next time you lament the rising generation, remember there are faithful and Godly young men like Seth Smalls committed to doing what is right.
Yet, acute readers of Sports Illustrated, the iconic sports magazine, might be left trying to piece together the kicker’s full comments.
In a piece published yesterday, SI’s Andrew Gastelum writes:
After the game, Small said in his postgame press conference that the kick ranked as the “third best moment of my life”—right after marrying his wife over the summer.
Gastelum leaves out Small’s reference to Jesus – even though readers following along would inevitably wonder what the number one moment of the kicker’s life would be.
In recent years, Christian athletes have increasingly used their platforms on live television to try and call attention and the spotlight away from themselves and onto Jesus. From Tim Tebow to Kevin Durant – and now Seth Small, it’s no longer rare to hear references to the Gospel in prime time.
Some individuals have been criticized for only thanking the Lord for victories – but truth be told, interviews with the victors are more popular than with players on the losing side. Christian athletes know to give glory to God regardless of outcome.
That Sports Illustrated would choose to write an article focused on the personal side of Smalls – and leave out the most important detail of the young man’s personal life – is yet another reminder secular culture is increasingly uncomfortable with any reference to the Christian faith, especially evangelicalism.
Texas A&M’s upset win over Alabama dominated the headlines this past weekend, but even the most memorable football game eventually fades from memory. Sports Illustrated’s conveniently scrubbed article omitting references to Small’s faith will also soon be buried with the next latest and greatest game summary and profile.
We’ll never know if the prophet Isaiah would have been a football fan, but he was surely determined to set future football fans straight when he wrote, “The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever” (40:8).
Congratulations to Seth Small on Saturday’s big win (and condolences to Alabama), but special kudos to a man who has his priorities of faith, family and football straight.
Photo from YouTube/ Texas A&M Athletics.