Wild game event brings terrific stories about faith

A couple weeks ago, I and several hundred others gathered to hear one of the members of the Super Bowl-winning Philadelphia Eagles and his father, also a former NFL player speak, along with the wild game banquet at the Alliance church of Altoona.

The event is noted for in its annual presentations. There was a stage lined with wonderful door prizes mostly donated by area businesses.

This is an event watched for with great anticipation and tickets for it each year are sold out almost before the first announcement of it appears in the paper. Along with everyone else, we were sure that Stephan Wisniewski, left guard for the Eagles and his father, Leo who played for the Indianapolis Colts in his day, would ply us with the secrets of their plays and moves that won the Eagles their championship.

We all heard some secrets, I’ll admit, ones that were scarcely mentioned in the press throughout the season but secrets these two arresting speakers assured us was the real reason behind their success.

Faith — Stefan assured us — was the real secret to their Cinderella story and this seems to be the perfect day to try to relay what they said about the powerful impact it had on the many players on the team and how they implemented it in their game plan.

First of all, those who are believers in God hold a couple of Bible studies at the Eagles’ facility a couple of times a week and they are well attended. Second, they transform their Saturday nights into a worship time since they will be playing the game on Sundays. Often it is Carson Wentz, the quarterback who preaches, or perhaps Stephan himself or someone else on the team.

You will remember that a little over half way through the year, Wentz was injured and the team had to turn to Nick Foles. The backup was a little shaky at first, but he worked hard and his tutor was Wentz.

And Foles is also a committed Christian.

“No matter who went down during the season there was another team member or two right there to spend extra time and effort to help him and practice with him, no jealousy ever seen,” Wisniewski told us all and we sat enthralled.

It was definitely not the message we thought we’d be hearing when we’d found our seats that night.

Both Stephan and his father Leo also played for Penn State, and we heard a number of Joe Paterno stories and voice imitations, but nothing derogatory at all. Just assertions to the fact that much of the Eagles team are strong upholders of their faith and are helpers and encouragers to any teammate who may need it at any time.

These are Christian values folks and I for one was really happy to sit and hear those two big, burly men testify of their strong faith in the Lord, and to suggest that others consider that kind of life commitment.

Of course his table was swamped with folks seeking autographs and they were both gracious and patient with each one who asked.

And pictures! I was among the crowd taking pictures and we asked for the poses we wanted and patiently they complied. It was a blessed night and everyone there left feeling uplifted and encouraged as well.

Don’t forget

Remember that you have only until April 27 to send for your second spring gobbler license.

I almost let it slip my mind this year. The report from the Game Commission is that there is a very healthy population of gobblers this spring and maybe the long lasting winter weather has delayed the hen’s egg-laying rituals. The gobblers have been sounding off since February but it should be a good season.

Happy Easter! Resurrection Day! I’ll be at church celebrating this day and hope you will be too.