Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Faith Over Football

Once again, I woke up Monday morning without an idea but was able to find a good one when it was time to write.

I was listening to Friday's ESPN Radio podcast*, and it included an interview with UCLA football coach Rick Neuheisel. He was talking about his upcoming season, but he happened to mention Xavier Su'a-Filo, a UCLA lineman who is gone for a couple of years to go on a Mormon mission.

I got to thinking about what it must be like to take a two-year break from college sports at a university outside of Utah, a university that is not as used to Mormons and missionaries. I did a lot of research and found out a lot of interesting stuff.

Here's my column:

'Faith over football' - LDS athlete decides right

And here are a bunch of stories and websites I read about Xavier Su'a-Filo (in alphabetical order):

Brian Price and Xavier Su'a-Filo won't return

Manti Te'o, other Mormon prospects face recruiting challenges - This story is mostly about Manti Te'o, another LDS high school recruit. I admired with how adamant he was with college recruiters about going on a mission. Then I found this story written a year later, saying Te'o had changed his mind and was indefinitely delaying his mission. I found a couple other examples of LDS athletes who thought about missions but decided to stay with college football. It only made Su'a-Filo stand out more.

Offensive tackle Su'a-Filo leaving UCLA to fulfill Mormon mission

Player Bio: Xavie Su'a-Filo

Scout.com: Xavier Su'a-Filo Profile

UCLA football: Xavier Su'a-Filo to go on Mormon mission

Before I sign off, I do want to reiterate my point that I am not trying to judge anyone who decides not to go on a mission. Going on a mission is a commandment, but I do not claim to understand every individual reason or set of circumstances. I know lots of people, including my own dad, who did not serve missions and yet are still active in building the kingdom of God on Earth. I do not mean to badmouth Te'o, Longshore, Prince or anyone else who chose something other than a mission. I just hope my article shows how Su'a-Filo impressed me.

It looks like I actually have two more opinion pages after today. I thought next Monday would be the last paper of the summer, but I just found out there will be another Tuesday paper and therefore another Issues & Ideas page.

I had my job interview today. I think it went pretty well. The only problem was my class schedule. But then I fixed it! I'm no longer taking some classes I was really looking forward to, but the classes I replaced them with should still be good, and they still fulfill requirements for my political science minor. And now I don't have class on Fridays this fall!

* Click on the 7/30 podcast.

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