A former walk-on for the University of Southern California football team has written a new book that details the struggles he faced trying to share his love for Christ with teammates.
Ben Malcolmson, who was once on one of the most dynamic college football teams of its day, now serves as the director of external relations for the Seattle Seahawks and special assistant to head coach Pete Carroll. Malcolmson has authored the book, Walk On, what he calls an “unlikely story of football, purpose and following an amazing God.”
The unlikeliness in Malcolmson’s story lies in the fact that he went from being a university newspaper sports editor trying to write a hands-on article about what it’s like to try out for the football team, to surprisingly becoming a member of the 2006 USC Trojans football team that went on to win the Rose Bowl.
On a team that also included future NFL players like Ryan Kalil, Clay Matthews III, Brian Cushing, and then-freshman Mark Sanchez, Malcolmson essentially became a USC version of “Rudy.”
Malcolmson told The Christian Post in a phone interview that he only tried out for the team for the journalistic adventure of the challenge. He added that he was “shocked” when he found out that he actually made the team as a scout team reserve.
Having made the team despite what little experience on the gridiron he had, Malcolmson said he felt a deeper purpose for making the cut.
“When I made the team, I had a deep sense that I was there for a reason and that God had put me on that team for a purpose,” Malcolmson told CP. “Because why else would he put me on that team? There had to be a reason. I was pressed into that from day one.”
Malcolmson said that throughout his time on the team, he tried a number of ways to share his faith with his teammates.
One of those was by starting a team Bible study. The only problem was that nobody attended. Malcolmson then started a prayer group. But none of his teammates attended that either.
“I just tried to be a good friend and teammate to the guys around me but I felt like I was not having any impact,” Malcolmson recalled. “I was seeing zero fruit.”
In the book, Malcolmson wrote that he felt like a failure after no one showed up for the prayer session. However, there was still a fire in his soul that “continued to spark.” He was inspired by the words of Matthew 5:16: “Let your light shine before others.”
Having felt like he made little impact on sharing his faith through the entire regular season, Malcolmson made one last-ditch effort to share the Gospel before the team played in the Rose Bowl on new year’s day 2007 against the University of Michigan.
“I got an idea after reading Isaiah 55. It says in there that ‘If His word goes out, it does not return empty,’” Malcolmson said. “It hit me that we need to put His word out there.”
The idea was to give his teammates Bibles for Christmas.
Malcolmson details in the book that he asked his grandfather, who was volunteering for Gideons International at the time, if there was any way he could get 100 Bibles from Gideons to give out to the team. Malcolmson’s grandparents ended up paying for 100 Bibles to be shipped to the Los Angeles campus.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Samuel Smith