Sunday, January 1, 2012

Philip Rivers - QB for the San Diego Chargers

Stats (For those of you who understand it)

“If you’re going to be a Catholic man, be it all the way.”1

Philip Rivers personifies the Christian athlete. His discipline and attitude toward betterment translates to his faith, making him a model athlete for Catholics and a model Catholic to the rest of the world. That is not to say that Rivers is one of a kind or perfect, but that being a professional athlete is a unique opportunity to live and share the faith. Key to this is that he has priorities straight: faith, family, then football.

Rivers has a love for the sacraments and the universal home that the Church provides, so it’s with joy that he looks up local churches while on the road, and if that doesn’t work out, there’s always the team’s traveling priest (don’t be too jealous of the priest, you'll have to go to confession). But Rivers’ commitment to living his faith doesn’t stop at receiving communion every Sunday.

Brace yourselves for this one. Not only does he speak openly on chastity and abstinence (Football players do that? Yes, they can!), but he says that Natural Family Planning has given his marriage strength, adding that, “There’s discipline and sacrifice that comes with that so we (he and his wife Tiffany) are able bond in many different ways.1

The Church, in her wisdom, knows what NFP does for the family, and Rivers is a happy father of six. If you count his commitment to helping children outside of his biological offspring; well, he’s a father to quite a bit more.

The Rivers of Hope foundation, according to the website, was formed to give “hope for kids yet born, those 'stuck' in the foster care system, and hope for qualified couples waiting to be parents. It is our intention to bring hope, information and other means necessary to bring children into a family unit.... some for the very first time.” The ways in which the foundation helps includes a birthday club for foster children, raising awareness in the community, providing grants, and providing equipment (sports, musical instruments) for extracurricular activities. How the foundation helps is detailed here.

He’s known as a trash talker in the NFL, and that might lead some Catholics to disqualify him as a role model (actually, it has), but he explains that, “I’m known as a trash talker, but I’m not saying any trash out there. It’s all in fun; just like you would give a little jab to your brother in the backyard… it’s nothing I couldn’t go home and tell my wife or my mom.” 1 However, he does acknowledge that it’s been a lesson in just how much under public scrutiny he is as a professional football player. 

We all have lessons to learn, weaknesses to turn into strengths, and this Cool Cat is one to provide inspiration. 

More on Philip Rivers:
1 interview
   Life on the Rock interview