April 3, 2012 by Giustino Bovenzi
Sinclair has won three straight conference championships and avidly focuses on the three C’s of Sinclair–success in the classroom, community and on the court (on the field in this instance).And to keep the triple trend going, head coach Steve Dintaman has linked together with Athletes in Action to add a third dimension to Sinclair’s training and performing regimen–the spiritual game.
The team coaching philosophy was centered around the mental game, with the physical portion being displayed on the field. But now Dintaman said the spiritual game gives the players an outlet to talk about God and prepare for each game spiritually.
Taylor Hargrove is the chaplain for Sinclair baseball, primarily working in Xenia at the Athletes in Action international headquarters.
Hargrove offers guidance through Christianity, with the focal point being on learning how to study the Bible. Hargrove said he and the team are going through the book of John as requested by one of the players.
“There’s a phrase I stole from someone that goes, ‘you can feed a man a fish and feed him for a day, but if you teach a man to fish, you feed him for a lifetime,’” Hargrove said in a phone interview. “So we started going through John and I’m trying to teach them how to fish.” He speaks with Sinclair players once a week and said that the majority of the team has come to speak with him.
One player that openly speaks about the ties between religion and baseball, is starting pitcher Jon Thacker. “I used to play and get mad at myself when I made mistakes,” Thacker said. “But now I play knowing that baseball isn’t about me. As long as I give it my best that’s all that matters. I have to play for and with the Lord, and that makes me play even stronger.” Thacker played summer baseball for Xenia Scouts, a Christian organization offered through Athletes in Action. Hargrove himself is a former baseball player that played for the New York Mets farm system for what he described as a “short stint.” He also said that coming from the game allows him to use the language of baseball to get through to players. Pitcher Ryan Carter said that Hargrove has helped him do just that by implementing the word of God into baseball.
“He has also helped me realize that there is more to life than just baseball,” Carter said.
Hargrove said Athletes in Action would like to eventually reach out to other divisions of Sinclair athletics and could see that happening sometime in the future. Religion has really become a prominent aspect of sports with Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow being the poster boy. And even though religion in sports has become a trending topic, Hargrove believes that the bond is here to stay.
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