We just got back from our annual elk hunting trip for Buck Commander. Whenever we combine the guys from the music world (Jason Aldean and Luke Bryan) with the rest of us sports guys, we realize none of us have ever had to grow up and act like adults. We’re back in that locker room atmosphere where anything goes and no one gets offended because it’s all out of love.
Our group is made up of all Christ-followers, each of whom is in a different part of their walk of faith. One year, I brought one of my former teammates who had recently retired from the game and was dying to come out with us. As a retirement present, I gifted him a week with the guys, doing what guys love most.
It’s funny because while we were playing together, I would always invite him to chapel but he would never come. In fact, our best conversations were after a game, over a beer. He would explain why Christianity was not for him. He saw it as a crutch. But as we got out into the wilderness, he began to open up more.
Each night on these trips, without our intentional effort, turns into some sort of Bible study or debate about life. My friend was witnessing these every night, and sure enough, on the third night he began to join in. A week later, when I went to stay with him, I could tell he was becoming more and more interested in this faith thing.
I think part of my friend’s curiosity stems from the fact that, since being out of the game, his mind isn’t focused on baseball 24/7. With more time on his hands, he’s begun thinking about life and things outside of sports. The other aspect of his search has to do with the fact that he was hearing it from guys who are “guys’ guys.” We have fun, do manly things and love Jesus. That may seem foreign for a lot of people, but that’s just who we are. We aren’t sitting around singing hymns all day; we can give Christianity a fresh look. In fact, with freedom in Christ, we are able to have a lot more fun than most.
Men need real talk — time to get away with other guys, build solid relationships, and do real talk. This isn’t just talk about the weather or what your favorite sports team did last night, it’s deep conversation that we all yearn for, whether we know it or not.
This is what draws the guys back out each year. Don’t get me wrong. I love hunting, I love the excitement of it all, especially watching it through the eyes of my son. But the real talk is what draws everyone to come back.
— Adam LaRoche, former MLB player
Adam LaRoche is a regular contributor to The Increase, providing monthly articles and opinions. Check out Adam’s profile on The Increase: http://theincrease.com/author/adam-laroche/
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