Author Archives: jddudycha

How Can Sports Impact Your Soul

Article I wrote for Christian Life News

How can you make an impact in sports? A simple question to ask, but not so simple to answer. I would bet those of you who are reading this have played a sport or two in your time. Maybe you were the star quarterback in high school; the ace on the pitching staff in college; or maybe you played professionally. The question I want to ask is: What do you remember most about your playing experience?

For me, the answer is simple…my teammates…the guys I went to battle with day in and day out. It’s about the memories I made on bus trips, the hotel, or in the dugout. We became family, brothers, at least for the years we were together.

The relationships we make in sports are hard to duplicate. There is something about the camaraderie. We’re all striving toward the same goal. We know for a fact those 25 to 30 guys have our back. They’d go to war for us, on and off the field.

It is one such relationship that I would like to highlight today. I played baseball collegiately, both in junior college and at a university. One relationship still sticks out in my mind, even to this day. It is a relationship with a young man who personified what it meant to follow Christ.

Being a Christian is not always easy, especially in an egocentric field like athletics. But it is in that world where the most unselfish people are easily recognized. That young man carried himself with an air of confidence that did not lend itself to selfishness. It was a quiet confidence; a confidence one has when he follows Jesus Christ.

I was like most athletes—selfish, ambitious, and filled with ego. I was in the game for only one reason—to make it all the way. My friend, on the other hand, played the game with honor. He played for a higher purpose—to glorify God no matter the outcome. Win or lose, he was the same. Something about him stuck out to me. I was interested in how he was different. He didn’t get into trouble, he wasn’t a demagogue, and he kept his nose clean and did his job when he was called upon.

He constantly invited me to Bible studies in his dorm room, offered advice when he thought I needed it, and listened without judgment. He was a shining light in the midst of my darkness.

It wasn’t until after college when I found myself hopeless that I began to search for the God he tried to show me all along. In my mid-20s I was at a crossroads. Without baseball, the game I loved, I became so depressed that I searched for a reason to live.

It was in the stillness of the night where God found me. A seed that had been planted six years prior came full circle. I cried out to the Lord, begging Him to show Himself. He did. He showed Himself in the people that I had met in my life that He planted along the way. He planted my friend and teammate. He planted my wife and our church-going friends. He gave me a spotlighted runway that I was too senseless to see in the first place. And without those people, who knows if I would still be here today?

So I ask you: How can you make an impact in sports? Simple. Be the guiding light in some young man or woman’s life. Show them the power of Christ through your actions, and maybe someday someone will write about you.

Is It Baseball Season Yet?

Sorry people, but I feel like I am neglecting my roots in my favorite sport. Let’s talk baseball. Does anyone else watch the winter meetings, or am I the only one? I love the winter meetings. Since my absence from the game, I have found I am more intrigued by the offseason moves, than I am the regular season.

In fact, I watch more baseball news, than games. I am fascinated by how general managers and team presidents go after players in the offseason. I love to see where guys end up. And as a former player, I wonder how they come up with reasons they sign with this team, instead of the other.

My hometown, and favorite team, the Minnesota Twins, had a big offseason sign in Byung Ho Park out of Korea. Park dominated in the Korean league last year, but how he will do in the MLB remains to be seen. But it’s the anticipation, isn’t it? It’s the prospect that he will be a stud that weighs on my mind.

And isn’t that the truth with every off-season sign or trade? The excitement that follows is what it’s all about. Some guys pan out, some don’t. But it’s always the guy on your team, the guy who signs for whatever, or who is traded for whoever. He will no doubt be the answer to your team’s prayers, right?

I’m going to make a prediction, call it bold if you’d like, but the Minnesota Twins will make the playoffs in 2016. I mean come on, let’s look at last season. All of us in the baseball world, including me, thought they would be playing meaningless games in August and September. But they were not, they made a serious run, a run that came up a bit short, but it’s a new season, and we’re undefeated.

Next year we become the 2015 Kansas City Royals. A team that is mostly made up of homegrown players, with a few free agents sprinkled in for good measure. I feel it, this is our year. Let’s face it, at least we won’t have to worry about facing the Yankees in the playoffs. J

That’s what the winter is all about. Looking at your team on paper, and saying to yourself: we really do have a chance!

 

 

 

 

Book Signing/Radio Show Recap

After a busy weekend I wanted to share some highlights with you. Friday, I had the privilege, and honor of being interviewed on kuhsdenver.com. I was Laura Padgett’s special guest for the broadcast, a half-hour segment with local authors. She had inquisitive and engaging questions for me, but the question she really wanted to know was: when is the next book coming out?

Sitting Dead Red, will hopefully make an appearance on February 13th, 2016. My goal is to put it out in conjunction with the start of the college baseball season. I plan to make it available in paperback, as well as an e-book. If you enjoyed Paint the Black, I recommend you pick up a copy.

20151205_085943On Saturday, along with a number of other authors, I had a book signing at a new indie book store in Evergreen, CO, called Where the Books Go. It is a quaint little bookshop with a ton of charm. I always love talking to fans of my book, and couldn’t wait to share it with people who were unfamiliar. I was able to sell a few books, as well as sign my name a few times. 😉

The signing gave me a chance to rub elbows with fellow authors. It is a time that I covet, because I am able to pick the brains of people who have been around the business a lot longer than I have. Authors have different stories. Each experience is unique, and anything I can take away from their experiences are gold.

20151205_132450I just so happened to be sitting next to gentleman, who was also there for the signing with me for his new book, Broken! He happened to be wearing a, “Bayside the Musical,” sweatshirt. I thought to myself, why a fifty-year-old man would be wearing a “Bayside” sweatshirt, so I asked him, “Are you a big Saved by the Bell fan?” I asked because I grew up watching the show. “I was a writer for it,” he replied.

My mouth hung open. What? Are you kidding me? I thought. “Seriously?” was all I could think to say. We went on to relive my entire childhood. We talked in-depth about episodes, and the characters. Suffice it to say, that made my day. He was even gracious enough to run to his office, and grab a copy of an old script, and sign it for me. What a great man, and I couldn’t have been happier.

If you were not able to join me at the signing. My book is available at Where the Books Go, BookBar, and Amazon. If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to ask, thanks and God bless!

Give Thanks, Not Money: What Black Friday Doesn’t Give You

What motivates someone to get up at three a.m.? Or worse, camp out overnight to buy the latest and greatest gadget? Is it greed? Envy? Perhaps, it’s just the status of being the first one to own something new.

It is sad to think that Thanksgiving is known more for the day before Black Friday, than its true meaning. When I sat down yesterday to eat my turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and apple pie, I gave thanks to the Lord for everything He has given me. He has blessed me with my family, my health, a roof over my head, and money in my pocket.

But that money has to have meaning. It has to be used for something other than gathering stuff that will mostly likely be thrown away, collect dust, or break. It has to have purpose. Instead of going to your local store, think to yourself: Am I being the best steward over what I have been blessed with?

Now look, I’m not saying you can’t be generous on this disingenuous Friday. There are some who go out and purchase things for others who are less fortunate, and otherwise could not afford such luxuries. But the fact is: when people get into a fist fight in the middle of a store over the stupidest thing, we as a people, have a problem.

The problem starts with the heart. We naturally covet what we do not have. We think that new car, new house, or new T.V., will fill a hole. It is a lie that we all fall into. There is only One, who can fill that hole.

Nevertheless, instead of wasting your money on meaningless things today: be thankful for who you are, what you already have, and what God has gifted you with.