YOUR ULTIMATE CHOICE Articles
Chris HeiseyI remember one night when my faith became real [to me], and I decided from then on I’d follow Christ.
Sports has been my life as long as I can remember. I had a bat in my hand when I was about two years old, and my parents were a big part of introducing me to sports and being active.
I grew up going to church every Sunday. Ever since I can remember, even when I’d wake up to go to school, my mom would have a Bible verse on the table with the Bible flipped open. So it was a non-stop reminder of who I was living for, and how to represent Christ as I was going to school or going to hang out with my friends.
At summer camp when I was 13, I remember one night when my faith became real [to me] and I decided to get serious about it. I remember saying, “You know what? This is who I’m going to live for.” And I decided that from then on I’d follow Christ.
“Having Christ in my life has helped me make so many good decisions”
Since then, having Christ in my life has helped me make so many good decisions, whether that was [about] the friends I made through high school – my best friend was a Christian and he and I hung out every day – or going to Messiah College, where I made more life-long Christian friends.
In high school I was the best player on my team, but I never really dreamed that going to the next level would be something for me. I didn’t get any Division I scholarship offers. I had a cousin who had gone to Messiah College – it was only about 45 minutes away from home – so I went there fully expecting to play four years of college ball, and that would be it. I would get my degree in elementary education and become a teacher.
My best friend in college had ambitions of playing for the Padres. I started going [with him] to open tryout camps – we probably went to six or seven that summer [before my sophomore year]. But even after that, [playing pro ball] was still a far-off dream.
Then I got a call saying, “You’ve been drafted.” It was a shock; I didn’t expect it to happen.
It was something I prayed about, and I felt like I might not get the opportunity ever again to go after this dream. I decided, “Hey this may end up working out. I may get to play in the big leagues.” That’s how the Reds ended up finding out about me.
“I want to be that guy for somebody else on my team”
Our chapel leader [tells us he was directed] to Christ by one of his teammates. He actually approached his teammate and asked, “Hey man, what’s different about you?”
I want to be that guy for somebody else on my team, or even for a fan, or somebody back home. Just being that light to somebody who doesn’t know Christ, and having them want what you’re portraying, is something that I strive for. We’re called to love those who don’t know Christ, and I think showing that love is something that we can all, as Christian athletes, strive to do better.
Guys will come up and ask me a question about who God is, or what being a Christian is all about. I’ve definitely been able to have good dialogue with some of my teammates about who Christ is, and what it is to live for Him.
One of my favorite Bible verses is, “Do nothing out of vain conceit, but consider others better than yourself.” Being humble is something that we’re called to do. It’s pretty easy for me to not have a “big head” because I’m just Chris Heisey, the same guy who was going to college to become a school teacher. Just because I happened to get lucky and worked hard and got to the big leagues doesn’t mean I need to change that.
Yes, [being in the major leagues] can be challenging at times, but one thing I try to do in the locker room, as well as out in the community, is to show my teammates that I’m there for them, first and foremost, and I’ll worry about my own career second.
“Tearing my hamstring was definitely a blow to me”
Tearing my hamstring [earlier this year] was definitely a blow to me. I went from feeling great about the opportunities I’d been given, to having a major setback. But again, my faith in Christ and praying about it helped me use this as a learning experience.
Click here if you would like to know more about a personal relationship with God like Chris.
One of the things I told my wife, Lisa, was that I want to work on being patient and to try not to rush things, but to use every situation to glorify God. Christ gave me the patience to realize it’s going to be a while, but if I take my time, something good can come out of it. And while I was on the disabled list, I found out some things about my swing that I had kind of been neglecting, and I’ve been able to play a lot better since I’ve been back.