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Sports Spectrum Podcast

Launched in 2017 and now with over 4 million downloads, Sports Spectrum's podcast features stories on the intersection of sports and faith. Hosted by former ESPN Senior Producer Jason Romano, new conversations drop 3 times each week.
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Now displaying: Category: Sports
Jul 22, 2019

Episode 336

Matt Forte and Justin Forsett joined us on this episode of the Sports Spectrum podcast. 

Matt was selected in the 2nd round of the 2008 NFL Draft by the Chicago Bears and played 8 seasons in Chicago and then signed with the New York Jets, where he played two more seasons before announcing his retirement with Sports Spectrumin March of 2018. He is a 2-time Pro Bowler in 2011 and 2013.

Justin was selected in the 7th round of the 2008 NFL Draft by the Seattle Seahawks and played 9 NFL seasons with the Seahawks, Colts, Texans, Jaguars, Ravens, Lions and Broncos. He was named to the Pro Bowl after rushing for a career-high 1,266 yards with Baltimore in 2014. 

On this episode of the podcast, we talk to Matt and Justin about retirement, adjusting to life after the NFL, idolatry as a football player, keeping Jesus in the conversation, and being all in for Christ. 

For more, log on to http://SportsSpectrum.com 

 

Jul 19, 2019

Episode 335

Bethany Hamilton is our guest today on the show. She was thrust in the spotlight at just 13 years old when she was attacked by a 14-foot Tiger Shark and losing her arm. The traumatic injury seemingly ended her dream career as a professional surfer. 

However, one month after the attack, Bethany returned to surfing and within two years had won her first national surfing title. Bethany’s foundation of faith has been her backbone; her source of truth, hope, and strength. At 17 years old, she realized her dream of surfing professionally and she is still an active surf competitor to this day. Bethany has been able to touch a large number of people with her faith message, charitable efforts, and overall spirit. Her greatest joy is being a wife and mother, and she continues to touch and inspire lives globally as a professional surfer, author and motivational speaker. She currently has her own blogon helping others become unstoppable.

Her latest project is a new film called "Bethany Hamilton: Unstoppable," which released in theaters July 12, 2019. 

On this episode of podcast, we talk to Bethany about the new film "Unstoppable," why she felt it was important to release the documentary on her career, how her faith in Christ has grown from her early teen years to now, living life as a public figure in the media spotlight, and why she lives a life unashamed of sharing the Gospel. 

For more, log on to http://SportsSpectrum.com 

Jul 18, 2019

Today on the podcast we throw it back to February 2018 and a conversation we had with 3-time NAIA Division II National Champion coach Greg Tonagel of Indiana Wesleyan. 

Coach Tonagel just finished his 14th season as the head coach of the Wildcats and is a 3-time NABC/NAIA Division II National Coach of the Year.

On this throwback edition of the podcast, we talk to Coach Tonagel about discipleship in his program and teaching his players the "I am Third" model, Jesus first, others second, ourselves third.

You can listen to the entire interview with Coach Tonagel from Episode 84 by searching on this podcast app or by clicking on our website here

 

Jul 17, 2019

Episode 334

Jimmy Mellado is the president and CEO of Compassion International. Compassion is a sponsor of our podcast and partner with us as we help them release children from poverty.

Jimmy is a graduate of SMU where he was a member of the Division 1 Track and Field championship team in 1983.  He competed in the 1987 Pan American Games and the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, South Korea as a decathlete. Representing his birth nation of El Salvador, he set national records for the highest ever performance in the decathlon, men's high jump, 100m high hurdles and pole vault. 

In 2013, Jimmy was named CEO and President of Compassion and has dedicated his life to helping children around the world, who are living in poverty and providing them with hope and a way out. 

On this episode of the podcast, we learn about Jimmy's journey, moving around from country to country as a youth, why failure is such a great teacher, trusting God when things don't go well, competing in the Olympics and how he came to join Compassion International.

For more, log on to http://SportsSpectrum.com 

Jul 16, 2019

Episode 333

Zerbin Singleton has experienced the highs and lows of life. The Marine Corp Major was born to a mom addicted to drugs in a home surrounded by domestic violence, drugs, poverty and even homelessness. At the age of ten, Zerbin's mother was incarcerated. 

At the age of fifteen, Zerbin met his father for the first time. Just seven days before graduating from high school, he was in a head-on-collision caused by a drunk driver. Despite a broken collar bone, he graduated Valedictorian from his high school. 

Football was a big part of Zerbin's life and he would walk-on to the Georgia Tech football squad before transferring to the Naval Academy, where he would play running back and win the Disney's Wide World of Sports Spirit Award and the FedEx Orange Bowl Courage Award in 2007.

Today, he is an officer in the United States Marine Corps, flyng the AH-1Z Cobra Attack Helicopter.

On this episode of the podcast, you'll hear the incredible story of Zerbin Singleton, overcoming obstacle after obstacle to become a football player for the Naval Academy and a Marine pilot. Zerbin says "misery is your ministry" and his marvelous story is sure to inspire you. 

For more podcasts and stories like this, visit our website at http://SportsSpectrum.com 

Jul 15, 2019

Episode 332

Patrick Dimarco is a fullback with the Buffalo Bills. He played his college football at South Carolina under Steve Spurrier before entering the NFL in 2011 as an undrafted free-agent. His football journey would take him from San Diego to Kansas City and then to Atlanta, where he would spend 4 seasons with the Falcons.

In 2016, he helped the Falcons to the NFC Championship and a berth in Super Bowl LI against the Patriots. Dimarco's tenure with Atlanta also included a Pro Bowl berth and making the NFL's All-Pro Second-Team in 2015. 

Dimarco signed a 4-year deal with the Buffalo Bills in March of 2017 and has remained a member of Bills Mafia ever since. 

On this episode of the podcast, we talk with Pat about Bills Mafia, being a fullback in the 2019 version of the NFL, his grind in making it to the NFL and the powerful story of how his career almost ended before it began.

For more, log on to http://SportsSpectrum.com 

Jul 12, 2019

Episode 331

Chris Norton went from talented 18-year-old college football with a promising future to flat on his back with a broken neck and a 3% chance of ever moving or feeling anything below his neck, much less walking again.

Determined to prove the doctors wrong and to find love, Chris pushed himself through grueling, daily workouts until four years later, when he walked across the stage to receive his college diploma. 

Chris would marry his wife Emily and at his wedding, would tackle the seven longest yards of his life, walking down the wedding aisle and into a new life.

They tell their story in the new book "The Seven Longest Yards," released July 9, 2019. Tim Tebow wrote the foreword. 

On this episode of the podcast, we talk to Chris about his incredible story, how his faith sustained him after his football accident, God's better plan, walking the seven longest yards at his wedding, and why adoption is something he and his wife Emily have dedicated their lives to. 

For more, log on to http://SportsSpectrum.com 

 

Jul 11, 2019

Today we look back to Episode 7 of the podcast from May of 2017 with Ernie Johnson from TNT. 

A 3-time Emmy award winner, Johnson joined TNT in 1989 and is most notable for his hosting of the NBA on TNT with Charles Barkley, Shaquille O'Neal and Kenny Smith. 

On this throwback edition of the podcast, we talk to Ernie about adoption and his son Michael, whom he and his wife adopted from Romania and why adoption is so important to him.

You can listen to the entire interview of Episode 7 with Ernie by searching for it on this podcast app or by clicking on our website here.

Jul 10, 2019

Episode 330

Casey Sadler is living the life of a professional baseball pitcher right now. He is currently with the Los Angeles Dodgers organization at AAA Oklahoma City. 

He played his college baseball at Western Oklahoma State University before being drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 25th round of the 2010 MLB Draft.

After going through the grind of the minor leagues, Sadler made his MLB debut on May 2, 2014 with Pittsburgh. After pitching in 7 games total over two seasons with Pittsburgh in 2014 and 2015, Casey would miss the 2016 season after having Tommy John surgery. 

After spending all of 2017 in the minor leagues, Casey made it back to the majors in 2018 with Pittsburgh and again in 2019 with Tampa before being traded on July 3 to the Los Angeles Dodgers and optioned to AAA Oklahoma City. 

On this episode of the podcast, we talk to Casey about the crazy life of a yoyo pitcher going up and down from the minors to the majors, the crazy story of driving 15 hours in an RV to arrive and pitch for the Rays, coming back to Christ after falling away, and how having Tommy John surgery tested his faith. 

For more stories and interviews on the intersection of sports and faith, visit our website http://SportsSpectrum.com 

 

Jul 9, 2019

Episode 329

Life hit Harvard team chaplains Pat and Tammy McLeod hard when their son Zach collapsed on a high school football field—he had sustained a severe brain injury. Two emergency brain surgeries later, Zach began waking up. Slowly the entire family woke up to the reality that life would never again be the same. The fallout of his injury would reshape their marriage, their family, their future and their faith in ways they never saw coming.

What would it take for them to navigate the endless fallout of their son’s life-transforming injury? How could they reconcile their grief over the life Zach lost, with gratitude for the life that remained? And how does a couple move forward together in their search for hope, rather than letting indefinable loss drive them apart? Hit Hard releases todayand is the true story of the McLeods’ journey through ambiguous loss—both having and not having their son. It’s the story of a family who faced unexpected heartbreak, a story that offers us all glimpses of how we can pick up the pieces, redefine expectations, and find hope in the midst of unresolved pain.

On this podcast, we hear Zach McLeod's story, learn from Pat and Tammy about ambiguous loss, why they wanted to tell Zach's story, what it is like to grieve the loss of their son when he's still alive, and safety on the football field in 2019. 

For more, log on to http://SportsSpectrum.com 

Jul 8, 2019

Episode 328

Mitchell Traver is a former professional baseball pitcher who was selected in four different MLB drafts. He was selected by the Astros in the 39th round of the 2012 MLB Draft. He was selected by the Cardinals in the 28th round of the 2015 MLB Draft. He was selected by the Reds in the 17th round of the 2016 MLB Draft and in 2017, was selected by the Angels in the 20th round. 

He played his college ball at TCU, where he helped the Horned Frogs to the College World Series in 2017. After his collegiate career ended, he signed with the Angels and played two years of minor league baseball before retiring in 2019.

On this episode of the podcast, we talk to Mitchell about retirement at the age of 25, why he is stepping away from pro baseball, playing through pain, trusting God in the process, and the awesome story of giving his life fully to Christ in 2014. 

For more, log on to http://SportsSpectrum.com 

Jul 5, 2019

Episode 327

Steven Elliott joined the military in 2003 and served as a member of the elite 75th Ranger Regiment. After being deployed to the Afghanistan/Pakistan border in 2004, Elliott found himself in the midst of an enemy ambush. He was one of four Rangers who mistook Pat Tillman's position for that of the enemy and fired there. He is one of two Rangers considered likely to have fired the fatal shots. Elliott served the remaining years of his enlistment and returned to civilian life in 2007. 

Tormented by remorse and PTSD in the aftermath of Tillman’s death, Elliott descended into the depths of guilt, alcoholism, and depression; lost his marriage and his faith; and struggled to stay alive. The war that began on foreign soil had followed him home.

Elliott's story is depicted in the new book "WAR STORY: Sometimes The Real Fight Starts After the Battle."

On this episode of the podcast, we look at Steven Elliott's incredible story of pain and purpose, love and tragedy and ultimately renewal by the grace of God. Steven shares about his relationship with Pat Tillman and candidly talks about how forgiveness and faith have freed him from the demons that tormented him for many years. 

For more, log on to http://SportsSpectrum.com 

Jul 4, 2019

Today we look back to Episode 54 of the podcast with Chad Robichaux, a former Marine and professional MMA fighter. 

Chad is the president and founder of Mighty Oaks Foundation, a leading military nonprofit serving the US military active-duty and veteran communities with highly successful peer-to-peer, faith-based, combat-trauma programs and combat-resiliency conferences. Chad and his team are dedicated to helping America’s military warriors and their families suffering from the unseen wounds of combat such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

This is a powerful conversation that takes us through Chad's life as a member of law enforcement to fighting in Afghanistan to a broken marriage, suicidal thoughts and a life falling apart. And then Jesus came, and saved Chad from himself. 

You can listen to the entire interview with Chad from Episode 54 here or by searching his name on iTunes or Spotify. 

Jul 3, 2019

Episode 326

Justin Simmons is a safety with the Denver Broncos. He was selected in the 3rd round of the 2016 NFL Draft by Denver out of Boston College. 

In college, Simmons named Second Team All-Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) by the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association and ACC head coaches. He was named to Phil Steele's All-American Fourth Team and ProFootballFocus.com All-America honorable mention.

After coming to Denver, Simmons has solidified himself as the starting free safety the past two seasons. In 2018, he started all 16 games and recorded a career-high 97 combined tackles (71 solo), four pass deflections, and three interceptions.  

On this episode of the podcast, we talk to Justin about goals for the 2019 season, learning how to be a pro, being all in for Christ and staying connected to the Lord during the NFL season. 

For more, log on to http://SportsSpectrum.com 

Jun 25, 2019

Episode 322

Ryan Succop is the kicker for the Tennessee Titans. Ryan was selected as the 256th and final pick in the 2009 NFL Draft by the Kansas City Chiefs.  The 2-time All-SEC Second Team kicker played 5 seasons with Kansas City before being released on August 30, 2014. Two days later, September 1, 2014, he signed with the Tennessee Titans, where he has been ever since. 

Ryan holds the NFL record for most consecutive successful field goals from inside 50 yards (56) and in his rookie season, he tied an NFL record for highest field goal percentage by a rookie with 86.2%.

In February 2018, Ryan signed a new 5-year contract extension.

On this episode of the podcast, we talk to Ryan about his 11-year NFL career, the offseason routine of a kicker, when he made Christ Lord, being picked as Mr. Irrelevant, and having teammates to keep him accountable in his faith walk. 

For more, log on to http://SportsSpectrum.com 

Jun 21, 2019

Episode 319

Johnny Quinn is an author and speaker who went from NFL football player to Olympic bobsledder.  He is the author of the book "PUSH: Breaking Through the Barriers" which was released in February of 2018. 

In college, Johnny was a wide receiver with North Texas, where he was a member of 3 Sun Belt Conference championship teams, ultimately being inducted into the North Texas Hall of Fame in 2011.

Cut three times from NFL teams, Johnny lost 2.6 million dollars in NFL contracts and blew out his knee. Then he became an Olympian for the United States of America.

Johnny is just the third person ever to have played in the NFL and have competed in the Winter Olympics. (Herschel Walker/Jeremy Bloom were the others)

On this episode of the podcast, we talk with Johnny about his crazy journey from football to bobsledding, becoming a new Dad, his pursuit of an NFL career, the viral moment at the Olympics (it's not what you think), and what it looks like to stand for Christ and live unashamed for Him. 

For more, log on to http://SportsSpectrum.com 

Jun 14, 2019

Episode 315

Shawn Purdy is a former pro baseball player. He played his college baseball at the University of Miami in Florida. After being selected three times in the MLB Amateur Draft in 1987, 1989 and 1990, he signed with the Angels after being selected in the 16th round of the 1991 draft.

After pitching for eight seasons in the minor leagues from 1991-1998, he retired at the age of 29.

Today, Purdy is the dad to three kids, all playing sports at a high level. His daughter, Whitney, plays softball at Southeastern University. His son, Brock, plays quarterback at Iowa State and was the Big 12 True-Freshman of the Year in 2018. His youngest son, Chubba, is a four-star high school QB recruit entering his senior year in 2019.

On this episode of the podcast, we talk to Shawn about his pro baseball journey, coming to faith in Christ in 1995, being a father to three kids who play elite sports, raising them up in the Lord, and the importance of keeping Christ at the center, even as they pursue their sports dreams.

For more, log on to http://SportsSpectrum.com 

Jun 10, 2019

Episode 312

David Pollack is a college football analyst for ESPN. He was selected 17th overall in the 2005 NFL Draft by the Cincinnati Bengals where his career would be cut short by a neck injury sustained on September 17, 2006 in a game against the Cleveland Browns. 

As a defensive end at the University of Georgia, he was just the second Bulldog to be named a three-time All-American. Heisman Trophy winner Herschel Walker was the first. He was the 2002 SEC Player of the Year, the 2003 and 2004 Ted Hendricks Award winner, and the 2004 Chuck Bednarik Award, Lombardi Award, Lott Trophy and SEC Defensive Player of the Year winner. His 36 sacks for the Bulldogs remain a school record.

He joined ESPN in 2009 and has been a staple on their signature college football show, College Gameday, each Saturday morning. 

On this episode of the podcast, we talk to David about his football journey, how he came to trust in Jesus, overcoming adversity, turning a nightmare into a dream, and the importance of preaching the Gospel through our actions. 

For more, log on to http://SportsSpectrum.com 

Jun 2, 2019

Episode 308

Marcel Reece played 10 years in the NFL from 2008-2017 with the Dolphins, Raiders and Seahawks. After going undrafted in 2008 out of the University of Washington, he spent two years on the practice squad with the Raiders before getting his shot. And he made the most of his opportunity, going on to be selected for four Pro Bowls in his nine seasons with Oakland.

After spending 2016 with the Seahawks, Reece was re-signed by Seattle in July 2017. But following the preseason, he was a final cut and released on Sept. 2, 2017.

On this episode of the podcast, we talk to Reece about growing up in Inglewood, Calif., as a Celtics fan, making it to the NFL after being undrafted, and the influence his grandmother and mother had on his journey to Jesus.

For more, log on to http://SportsSpectrum.com 

 

May 31, 2019

Episode 307

Leah O'Brien-Amico is a softball legend. She's a three-time Olympic gold medal winner, a three-time NFCA first-team All-American and a three-time WCWS national champion in college.

Considered one of the top women's softball players of the last 25 years, O'Brien-Amico was inducted into the National Softball Hall of Fame in 2009, the Athletes In Action Hall of Faith in 2008, and the University of Arizona Hall of Fame in 2002.

Currently, she travels the country teaching, speaking and sometimes preaching, sharing her story of faith, hope, love and softball. She's also a broadcaster, doing work for ESPN and Westwood One in their coverage of college softball.

On this episode of the podcast, we talk to O'Brien-Amico about her storied softball career, playing in the Olympics, her powerful testimony of faith, and what it was like playing with fellow legends Lisa Fernandez and Jennie Finch.

For more, log on to http://SportsSpectrum.com 

May 29, 2019

Episode 306

 

Trent Shelton is a former NFL wide receiver who is now considered one of the most impactful speakers of this generation. He reaches more than 50 million people weekly through his various social media outlets and non-profit organization, RehabTime. Shelton travels the world sharing his message of creating lasting change in life.

After playing college football at Baylor, Shelton went undrafted in 2007 but eventually signed with the Indianapolis Colts. After stints with the Seattle Seahawks in 2008, Washington Redskins in 2009 and the Tulsa Talons of the Arena Football League in 2011, Shelton’s football career came to an end.

Shelton’s first book, “The Greatest You,” was released May 7.

On this episode of the podcast, we talk with Shelton about his football journey from Baylor to the NFL, growing up the son of a pastor, hitting rock bottom, losing his college roommate to suicide, fathering a son out of wedlock, and how God took him from a life of pain to a life of forgiveness and purpose.

For more info, check us out on the web -- http://SportsSpectrum.com 

May 20, 2019

Episode 301

Bruce Pearl is the head men's basketball coach for the Auburn Tigers. His coaching career has spanned over 30 years and has included stops at Stanford, Iowa, Southern Indiana, Milwaukee, Tennessee and now Auburn. 

In 1995, he was named Division II Coach of the Year at Southern Indiana and in 2006, during his time at Tennessee, was named Sporting News Coach of the Year. 

In 2019, he led the Tigers to their first ever appearance at the NCAA Final Four before losing to eventual champion Virginia in the National Semi-Finals. 

On this episode of the podcast, we talk to Coach Pearl about that Final Four appearance, why he was able to keep his poise and integrity after their difficult loss to Virginia, how his faith has evolved and transformed in his life over the past few years and why he's become more open about his relationship with God. 

May 17, 2019

Episode 299

Patty Gasso is the head softball coach of the Oklahoma Sooners. In a word, she's a legend. Gasso came to the Sooners in 1995 and since then, has led her clubs to 12 Women's College World Series and is a 4-time WCWS champion. 

She was inducted into the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame in 2019 and is a 12-time Big 12 Coach of the Year. In 2019, the Sooners have won an NCAA record 39 consecutive games and entering the NCAA Division 1 Softball Championship, they are the number one seed after winning an incredible 49 of 51 games. 

Gasso was inducted into the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Hall of Fame in 2012.

On this episode of the podcast, we talk with Patty about the Sooners' success achieved thus far in 2019, dealing with adversity in the midst of winning, her awesome testimony of coming to faith in the Lord on a softball field in Long Beach, California, being open about her faith as a coach, and why her husband is her spiritual leader. 

For more, log on to http://SportsSpectrum.com 

Apr 30, 2018

Episode 104

Matt Atkins is a golfer on the PGA Tour's FedEx Cup. He finished 19th on the Web.com Tour Regular Season money list in 2017 and got his first tour victory winning the El Bosque Mexico Championship.

The 27-year-old carded two additional top-10 finishes, making 15 cuts in 25 starts. 

In college at South Caroilna-Aiken, he was named a Division II All-American in his junior and senior years and was the Peach Belt Conference Player of the Year in 2013. 

He and his wife Jill were married in July of 2017.

On this episode of the podcast, Matt Atkins shares about the grind of being a professional golfer on tour, the moment he finally heard the Gospel in college, watching Tiger Woods up close, and how he was introduced to his wife. 

For more, log on to http://SportsSpectrum.com 

Apr 19, 2018

Episode 101

John O'Korn is readying himself for the NFL after spending 5 years playing quarterback in college, first with the University of Houston, and then with the Michigan Wolverines. 

O'Korn attended St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Florida. In his senior season, he led the team to the 2012 FHSAA 7A state title with an average of 43 points per game. Throwing for 22 touchdowns with just 4 interceptions and over 2,500 yards, he set a school record most passing yards and touchdown passes in a single season.

John was a two-time Letterwinner with Michigan, earning  the U-M Athletic Academic Achievement Award after playing in 16 games with the Wolverines in his two seasons. 

In preparing for the NFL, John spent time in California learning from former NFL head coach Mike Martz going through drills and working out at the Stub Hub Center in Carson. 

On this episode of the podcast, we talk with John about his Michigan career, preparing for the NFL, meeting Tom Brady, playing for Jim Harbaugh, his journey to faith in Christ, why he feels he's the most NFL ready QB and the impact he hopes to make both on and off the field. 

For more, log on to http://SportsSpectrum.com 

 

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