Post image for Bryan “George Michael” Metcalf, Sacramento State, Hockey

Bryan “George Michael” Metcalf, Sacramento State, Hockey

by carmine on April 17, 2013

Like many people I was baptized as an infant, but my family wasn’t very religious. The only time I attended church when I was young was while visiting my cousins across town.

It wasn’t until high school that I made the choice to be a Christian, but even that didn’t work out. I went off to college and got caught up in the stereotypical college life. I thought a change of scenery would help, so I transferred from Georgia Southern to the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota.

 My life fell apart. I was removed from my ROTC unit for failing to meet the standards. My girlfriend left me, but it was such a small school that we couldn’t avoid each other. “If looks could kill” doesn’t begin to describe the glare she gave me when we saw each other in the quad or in cafeteria. I lost interest in classes, struggled to get work done, and didn’t even respond to some of my closest friends.

I took a look at the people around me and saw what I thought were people pretending to be Christians. I’d be at mass with people that I was pretty sure were sleeping around or drinking or gambling (ignoring, of course, that I was doing some of the same things) or people who seemed to only be there for the social event afterwards. 

I turned away. I moved home to California to find all my friends from high school were gone. I love my mom and step dad, but I was 23 years old. I needed someone my age to hang out with and talk to. I was at my breaking point, about to give up forever. 

I gave God an ultimatum. I told Him to prove He was real and that He cared for me. If He didn’t, I would renounce His name forever.

About a week later I had my first date with Amanda. In the nine months we were together she taught me more about God than I learned in my entire life before her. Her love showed me how to have a relationship with God, that it was more than just following rules.

It took awhile for everything she taught me to finally catch on. God still seemed distant. 

I almost quit playing hockey last season because I was unhappy with my role on the team. I thought I wasn’t getting the chances I deserved. Those chances were going to players who flaunted all the rules, while I worked hard and was lucky to get a shift. I found out later that my line mates actually thought I was crazy.

My dad convinced me to stick with it, and even helped me come up with the extra money it was going to take to cover increased team fees. I stayed and continued to give my best effort. I paid more attention in practice as each line went through drills, looking for anything I could pick up that would make me a better player. I spent as much time drawing out our offensive and defensive strategies as I did on homework, trying to commit them to memory.

By the time playoffs came in February we had lost almost all of our top six forwards. There was plenty of ice time to go around, and I was ready.

I was finally rewarded with a goal in the final game of the season. God is not without a sense of humor, though. I was making the sign of the cross thanking Him for my accomplishments, when my edge caught and I fell flat on my back. I still burst out laughing when I think about it.

 That same month I came across the Fellowship of Christian Athletes group here at Sac State, and it was the final piece of the puzzle. I finally was able to connect my life as a Christian with my life as an athlete. With the help of my new friends, God once again changed my life. I finally found the relationship with Him that I’ve been searching for. I’ve been able to resist the temptation to fall back into my old lifestyles, and I have a better attitude on the ice and in the locker room.

I don’t worry about the results or how much playing time I get. I just give the best effort I can.

Every time I tape up my stick, I write a verse on the back of the grip: “1 Jn 5:4.” That verse says “for whoever is begotten by God conquers the world. And the victory that conquers the world is our faith.”

It’s a reminder of what truly matters. It reminds me that I already have victory. I have faith.

Bryan “George Michael” Metcalf

Hockey

Sacramento State

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