FCA’s Night of Champions celebrates spiritual side of sports

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There’s an aspect of athletic excellence that has nothing to do with strength, physical endurance, or agility.

It’s an attribute separate from how fast a person’s reflexes are, or how high he or she can jump, or accurately throw a ball – but it’s something almost every great athlete possesses.

I’ve been involved in sports my entire life, as an athlete on the field, a coach on the sideline, and a fan in the stands. And the human quality that resurfaces time and time again—in every sport, no matter where it’s played—is faith.

There are many ways to honor faith and sports, but few bring me as much happiness as the Night of Champions, a celebratory event held by the Fellowship of Christian Athletes taking place this year at Christ Fellowship Church in Palmetto Bat on Aug. 15.

For more than two decades, the FCA, which currently has 25 student-led clubs in Miami-Dade County, has held its Night of Champions.

Every year, thousands of coaches and athletes from more than 20 local high school teams come together for an evening of faith, love and enthusiasm for sports.

The event starts with a great BBQ dinner and music and continues with some casual field games. After dinner is over, everyone goes inside the church’s sanctuary, where highlight films are shown of successful athletes from the county. The night then culminates with guest speakers like FIU head football coach Butch Davis and former powerlifter, “Big” James Henderson, who tell their inspirational life stories.

“A lot of the student athletes that come are kids who are at-risk and looking at sports as a way out,” FCA South Florida Director Noah Wilbanks told Community Newspapers. “At our Night of Champions, they and their teammates can see on the stage people who were facing the same difficulties they were, but they persevered and made it. It’s powerful.”

The lectures and lessons taught at the Night of Champions emphasizes the FCA’s four core values: teamwork, excellence, serving, and integrity.

Those unifying principles and the FCA’s mission “to lead every coach and athlete into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ and His church” have attracted influential sports figures like Herschel Walker and Roger Staubach, public figures like comedian Jeff Foxworthy and politician Mike Huckabee, and influential Christian leaders like Billy Graham and Chip Ingram to the national nonprofit, which was founded in 1957.

I hope you’ll join me and Miami’s Community Newspapers in supporting this outstanding organization at the 2018 Night of Champions on Aug. 15 at Christ Fellowship Church, 8900 SW 168th St.

The event runs from 5 to 8 p.m. Food is served between 5 and 6:30 p.m., with the indoor program starting at 7 p.m. sharp.

Sponsorship opportunities range from $500 to $1,500 and include food, bus transportation for teams, name and logo displays on the FCA’s website, and a banner display and booth space for business promotion at the event.

For more information, visit www.MiamiFCA.org, or contact FCA South Florida Director Noah Wilbanks at 786-742-0845 or via e-mail at nwilbanks@fca.org.

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