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Faith & Sports — Shaping life on and off the field

"Faith & Sports: Shaping life on and off the field" is a Special Report prepared by The Washington Times Special Sections Department.

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Muhammad Ali: Shaped by his Islamic faith

Muhammad Ali once said "a man who views the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life." It was a revealing statement by someone who by age 20 had won an Olympic gold medal in boxing and was bearing down on the world heavyweight title. It was an acknowledgement that even The Greatest must evolve. The impetus for Ali's evolution over time would be his Islamic faith.

Baltimore Ravens' Benjamin Watson: Trusting God brings 'eternal perspective'

The following is a conversation between Benjamin Watson, tight end for the Baltimore Ravens, and Cheryl Wetzstein, manager of Special Sections at The Washington Times, about faith, sports, race relations, fatherhood and a Bible verse that has been on his mind for a while. The conversation has been edited for length and clarity.

What you may not see on TV this Thanksgiving season

Professional football on Thanksgiving Day has become as much of an American tradition as turkey. Yet, what happens after the game — and what is often not aired by major media networks — may be the best and most traditional way to celebrate the holiday.

'Growing in Faith With Golf Friends'

Does the title of this article sound like an oxymoron? If you're a golfer, when was the last time you turned to your walking or riding partner and said, "How is it with you and your faith?"

710 ESPN Seattle's podcast shares authentic stories about faith and sports

I had no idea that I would spend two hours talking to my old college rival Ryan Leaf. I had no idea that I would shed tears with 1984 American League Rookie of the Year Alvin Davis, a man I met for the first time right before we turned on the mics. And I had no idea that a conversation with Hall of Fame wide receiver and former Oklahoma Rep. Steve Largent would go so deeply into a broken upbringing and radical forgiveness.

The best traditions in football should be protected by the First Amendment

Tradition is paramount in sports. Clemson football players rub Howard's Rock for good luck before running onto the field. West Virginia University players rub a giant block of coal before the game. Notre Dame players famously slap the "Play like a champion today" sign on the way to the field.

Tackling life after loss: 'I have taken hold and will not let go'

In 1979, as I was working to get in shape to resume my career in the National Football League, I was diagnosed with a rare desmoid tumor. The large, aggressive, cancer-like growth required the complete amputation of my left arm and shoulder and removal of four ribs. Even though I was an otherwise healthy 28-year-old, there was a strong possibility I would not even survive the 11 -hour surgery.

'42 Faith: The Rest of the Jackie Robinson Story'

Jackie Robinson's inspirational story has long been immortalized in books and movie adaptations. He broke major league baseball's color barrier on April 15, 1947. He played for the Brooklyn (now Los Angeles) Dodgers from 1947-1956. He won many individual awards, as well as the 1955 World Series, and is a member of the Hall of Fame.

Former Washington Nationals pitcher Craig Stammen instructed kids at a recent Catholic Athletes for Christ summer camp. Photo courtesy of Catholic Athletes for Christ.

Reimaging sports through faith

If God is not the reference point for sports, sports will unavoidably devolve into idolatry, worshiping man as a demigod. This has been our experience over the past many years in sports, as all of its problems -- such as fan violence, domestic violence, illegal performance-enhancement substances, excessive commercialism -- are traceable to the unfortunate de-emphasis and removal of God from sports.

Coaches, athletes, fans and faith in the watching world of sports

Coaches and athletes impact a watching world through their sport and the lives they lead on and off the playing field. These two areas are interconnected in ways that may not be apparent at first glance but, in reality, cannot be separated.

Relying on faith to find 'common ground' in sports

Sports are typically a zero-sum game. For one side to win, the other side has to lose. Any gain by one team requires a deficit by the opposing team. It sounds divisive, doesn't it? But what if sports could unify? What if college athletics could bring together "sides" that are often seen as being at odds to dialogue and find common ground?

'God made me for China:' Eric Liddell, beyond Olympic glory

The medal ceremony at the Olympics is a moment of rare pomp and ceremony in this informal age. The ceremonies represent both climax and catharsis, with athletes awarded the coveted gold, silver, and bronze medals placed around their necks.