Sunday, October 9, 2016

An Athlete's Truth - Travis Hawkins

I am so incredibly blessed to have the friends that I have. I know people from all over the place who are doing incredible things to glorify God. With that being said, it is my honor to introduce to you our guest writer for this weeks segment of "An Athlete's Truth", Travis Hawkins. There is a short bio about Travis at the bottom of this post if you would like to know a few more details about him but I can tell you that Travis is an amazing man of God and a fantastic athlete. He has been seen as a spiritual leader for his team on and off the field. He has an incredible story to share! I am so grateful he has taken the time to write for us so that he can share about some of his experiences as an athlete who is trying to glorify God. He is great example of what it looks like to be Coached in Truth! Thank you Travis for all that you do to glorify God with your abilities and thank you for taking the time to share with us how you have done that.


An Athlete's Truth by Travis Hawkins

Every morning when I wake up, I think back to my time as a student athlete. Having the opportunity to play football and run track in college is something that I will never forget. From the 5 am practices, sleepless nights, to the smell of the freshly cut grass, and all the way to the thousands of roaring fans cheering me on. These are the memories and moments that I will never forget.

Every fan sees an athlete perform on that particular day — but they see is just the tip of the iceberg. They can’t fathom the sacrifices the athlete has made to get to that point. It starts with the moments of deep discouragement and failing in practice. It continues with the mental perseverance to overcome a tired body that is being pushed by a tireless coach. Then you lose track of the hours of studying plays. It all goes on with trying to out best your closest teammate for a final roster spot. All of these moments have created the athlete that you see standing anxiously waiting to compete against another opponent who has endured the same hardships — and the only difference is the color of his uniform. As these two athletes collide and compete one will stand victorious at the end, while the other will hang their head in defeat knowing that their effort wasn't good enough.

As I recall my time as a collegiate athlete I can't help but remember all of those feelings and hardships I faced. But I haven’t even mentioned the single biggest challenge I faced — namely, the spiritual battle I woke up to day after day. From the second I opened my eyes, Satan prowled around like a roaring lion looking to devour me as I tried to compete athletically and keep progressing spiritually. Though I only had 4 years to compete at the collegiate level, Satan knew his time was shorter. Within those 4 years Satan’s assignment was to turn my face from the living God and make me see the desires of the flesh in the most appealing way possible.

As I walked around the university going from class to class with the name "athlete" across my forehead, I was not just an ordinary student. Somehow I had been given a pedestal without even asking for it. I was expected to be the center of attention, consume the desires of impurity, taste the feelings of my sinful nature, and eat up Satan's lies. I was expected to have the "baddest" girlfriend, be the best at every drinking game, and get high on every occasion. I would be a weirdo if I turned down sex, and a "square" if I didn't attend parties. With a world waiting in expectation and a devil thirsting for my every mistake, there was still a God waiting in confidence that I would embrace his throne of Grace.

Without a doubt trying to live for God in college was the hardest thing I've ever had to do! Every day it was a battle to live righteously. I learned that society only saw my worth because I was an athlete. Spirituality was not something that was recognized on the basis of a day-to-day living. A relationship with God was just something you did on Sundays, before you ate, and before you played a game. It was not self denial, taking up the cross, or even talking about your faith. If you did that, then that meant you took "the whole religion thing too serious."

As a freshman those thoughts of being a weirdo, and being too serious about my faith started to make sense to me. I questioned myself and even thought that maybe I just need to "live life a little" and just relax. Until I got introduced to my new roommate, who happened to be a transfer football player. We started to look at the scriptures together and as I looked at the bible in hopes of trying to teach him, I realized I was teaching myself. I saw why I needed to be an athlete in college and why I need to be an athlete in college who lived for God! So many college athletes are hurting and they have no one to talk to because they are suppose to be "tough."

Throughout everything that I have faced, one thing I've learned is that living for God is better! It's better than being cool, it's better than having the most attractive girlfriend, it's better than having a lot of money, it's better than being the life of the party, and it's better than anything Satan can entice me with. Being able to share with people the hope that I have is priceless. I've found purpose in life through Christ! My biggest desire is to play in the NFL and I want it more than anything, but just like Paul said, "I count everything as rubbish for the sake of knowing Christ." This has been my first year not competing at the collegiate leve colle and there is nothing I miss more! Every day I wish I could go back and strap on my pads, but one thing I've learned is that there is a time for everything!

I've fallen thousands of times and I mess up everyday but God's grace is enough to cover my shortcomings. To whomever reads this, my encouragement and hope is that you can see the benefit in living for Christ. No matter how many touchdowns you score, races You win, shots you make, home runs you hit, or matches you win, nothing will ever compare to the victory you find in knowing Christ and sharing it with those closest to you — your teammates. Get to know Christ, and once you are equipped, reach outward and share it with the same people who are waking up at 5 am to practice with you. Share it with the person who is your backup. Share it with your coach who teaches you how to be your best. Share it with every person you come in contact, and I guarantee you, you will have a heavenly reward.


Travis Hawkins Bio

I played quarterback in High School and then transitioned to play college ball at Tuskegee University. Had some opportunities to play at some smaller schools, but there was an opportunity to help out the church, so I decided to go to Tuskegee. I walked on my first year at tuskegee, and was last on the depth chart, but at the end of the year i received a scholarship as a wide receiver. I played almost every special team, as well as the starting slot-receiver. I was fortunate enough to receive two conference championship rings as well. Now I am a student-coach at Tuskegee University, while I finish up my final classes. Went through the 2016 draft and did not get picked up. Only had offers to play overseas. I will continue to try to make it to the NFL for another year. 

Extra articles on Travis Hawkins

http://www.montgomeryadvertiser.com/story/sports/college/tuskegee-university/2015/10/02/tuskegees-hawkins-gets-hands-dirty/73193196/













To all my Coached in Truth fans! If you know anyone who may be a good candidate with a background in athletics to write for "An Athlete's Truth", please allow them to see this and let them know that Coached in Truth would love to have them write for this purpose. Just have them email me at coachedintruth@gmail.com for more info!


Thanks!

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