“Do you have the whole Bible tattooed on your back?” The crowd immediately broke into laughter after Pastor Ron Youngdale had asked Colin Kaepernick this humorous question. Everyone in attendance was intently focused on what the quarterback of the San Francisco 49ers had to say at the Turlock Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast on Friday, May 2nd.
The event, which was one day after the National Day of Prayer on May 1st, took place in Turlock, CA, which is Colin Kaepernick’s hometown. Pastor Ron Youngdale, who was Colin’s pastor while he was living at home, interviewed Kaepernick. You could bottle the sense of warmth and pride in the room that the locals there have in claiming Colin as one of their own.
I was excited to attend the event and anticipated learning more about one of the most popular figures in the Northern California region. I’ve always thought his story of being adopted into a family was a special one. I’ve heard it in sports interviews, but I especially enjoyed hearing his spiritual interpretation on it in this venue. Here’s a short clip I recorded…
One can only imagine how life changing it must be for a young man to have the opportunities that Colin has in front of him at such an early stage of his life. I sat there listening to him while trying to get my mind around what goes through his mind at moments like this.
He might not appreciate my word choice here, but I ended up getting Five Takeaways from A Close-Up View of Colin Kaepernick…
1. Professional Sports Wields A Lot of Influence in America
There were approximately 1000 people in attendance at the prayer breakfast (as a pastor, it’s impressive to see). The Mayor of Turlock gave Colin a key to the city. Once the initial applause died down as he walked on stage, a man yelled out from the back, “Kap! I have a man-crush on you! I love watching you play!”
It can seem silly for athletes to carry so much sway simply because of their physical abilities, but it is an undeniable reality. It’s like my pastor, Scott Hagan, says, “Show me an athlete and I’ll show you a leader.”
2. God is at Work in the Lives of NFL Players
Kaepernick: It’s amazing to see how spiritual a locker room can get before a game. You’d be surprised how many are on their knees, praying and thanking God for the opportunity they have… (Christian) faith is accepted in the NFL and it’s view is shared by many.
3. Achieving with a Team is Highly Satisfying
Colin had a lot of opportunities to be a professional baseball player. Obviously he chose football instead. When asked why, he said, “There’s something about football that you have to trust ten other people.” Baseball is also a team sport, but for the way Colin is wired, he experienced more of a team dynamic in football and THAT was the deciding factor for him.
4. Self-Evaluation is the High Road
One of the things I’ve always appreciated about successful football teams is the pattern of living in a culture of accountability. Finger pointing and blame shifting are seen as character flaws.
Kaepernick: Even if five receivers run the wrong route, if I end up throwing an interception I still look at myself and ask, “Why didn’t I just throw the ball away?” I always try to look at what I could’ve done better.
What if we transferred this same attitude in our family relationships and work environments? What type of health and productivity would we have if we worked on the person in the mirror first and foremost?
5. Colin is Seeking God’s Word
As a believer and pastor, it’s clear to me that Colin is sowing the Word of God into his life. If he continues with this spiritual discipline on a regular basis, only good things will follow him over time. Watch the video clip below from the breakfast and notice how he recites scripture from memory…
In conclusion, it was worth getting up at 4am (Did I mention that I’m a life-long Niner fan?) to drive to Turlock and see a side of Colin Kaepernick that the media might edit from their articles and interviews. He received a standing ovation after his first remarks in public about what police termed a “suspicious incident” in a Miami hotel room. “It’s been put out that I did something wrong,” Kaepernick said. “Even though it’s a bad circumstance, a bad situation, I feel like ultimately I’ve been blessed because it’s changed my way of thinking. It’s made me stronger. It’s made me look at things differently.”