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I was one of those baseball players who said they weren’t going to play slow-pitch softball when my collegiate baseball days were over, but I was hooked after my first weekend. I went on to play twenty-plus years while getting in 150-200 games per season. If my team wasn’t playing, I was finding a team to play on. I played the game the way my dad taught me to play baseball – hustle all the time. My goal was no one would play harder than me. I had the fortune to play on some very good teams, but the most fulfilling was playing with Sports Reach.

I was so excited when Robby asked me to join the team. I had heard of Sports Reach and the sports ministry and was hoping someday I would get the chance to be a part of this special ministry. Playing with Sports Reach ended up being the pinnacle of my softball career. We traveled to so many different stays and venues and got to meet so many people from all walks of life. Tournaments, prison visits, Children’s Hospital visits- we were treated like stars. It doesn’t get much better than playing a game you love and getting to share what it means to have a personal relationship with Christ.

My experience with Sports Reach allowed me the opportunity to be more open and vocal about my salvation. It made me a stronger Christian, better husband, father, and coach. It helped me include devotions and prayers before and after practices and games of the teams I coached.

My youngest brother, Ace, was killed in a drunk driving accident in 1995. I started drawing a cross and his number, 5, in the dirt whenever I got a hit. This ritual opened up more opportunities to share about Christ on the field.

I am blessed to have a strong faith in God while allowing Him to guide me through life and help me deal with the good and the bad. I’ve always found that I can count on God at all times. I’ve had some tough times throughout my life; a near-drowning accident, losing my youngest brother, losing my dad to cancer, and so on. Recently, I’ve faced adversity with my left leg/knee. I had twelve surgeries in a 2 1/2 year period, with the most recent surgery being an amputation.

I cannot imagine dealing with this without knowing Christ.

I know He has a plan, and I pray that I can use my circumstances to honor and glorify Him. God has blessed me with a loving Christian wife, two sons, and a daughter and a grandson.

I am a teacher and a coach, and so many places I’ve traveled, experiences I’ve had, have involved sports. There are many life lessons to be learned in sports. The bottom line is that we must seek to have a personal relationship with Christ while seeking to serve Him by witnessing to others through our words and actions.

Sports Reach helped make the possible for me.

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About ReginaRussell