Taking part in FCA

It is not often journalists cross into the realm of religion, so before anyone calls asking why I have chosen to, know in advance this is not my intent.
Last week, I was invited to a dinner in which former Ole Miss Rebel and Baltimore Raven Jason Cook spoke to the NAHS boys basketball team. Cook, who had a very brief stint in the NFL, found his calling and returned to Oxford, where he is now involved with the Ole Miss Fellowship of Christian Athletes and serves as the Rebel football chaplain.
Interesting side note, Cook was one of my first interviews when I worked in the athletic department, and I wrote about his involvement in the Oxford community, which ultimately earned him a spot on the SEC Good Works Team his junior year. Needless to say, the young man used his platform in sports to send a message and inspire others, particularly youth, and is still active in the community to this day.
Cook’s message to the team centered around striving for the meaningful things in life. He spoke about how all he wanted was the fame and fortune of the NFL, and when he finally received it, he realized how empty his life really was.
Quoting the Book of Solomon, he showed the similarities between himself and those particular scriptures, as Solomon lived a life that many dreamed of with everything he could possibly desire, but felt empty and useless in the end.
The overall feel of the dinner was inspiring for everyone involved, and it brought to my attention just how important it is, not only for the athletes, but for the students at this age to take notice of the important things in life.
The organization that Cook is involved in at Ole Miss is available at most schools and serves as a Christian outlet, for students. The FCA was formed in 1954 and is active on all levels of athletics, with the particular group at both New Albany Middle and High schools reaching out to the entire student body.
“Our chapter is very student-driven and open to anyone who wants to be involved,” advisor Nanette Ballard said. “Our big activity this year is that we have the name of every student and teacher, and we pray for different ones each week with our goal being that every person in the school has been prayed for by the end of the school year.”
Ballard also mentioned the group’s spring rally, which is open to all of Union County, as well as Pontotoc and Tippah.
Regardless of Christian denomination, the FCA can be a positive influence for the students, guiding them in this crucial developmental period of their lives.