Danny O’Rourke is an American soccer player who plays in the MLS for the Columbus Crew. His skills were first noticed after being named to three consecutive All-Big 10 selections and winning back-to-back national championships with the University of Indiana in 2003 and 2004. From there, he was the fourth overall pick of the 2005 MLS SuperDraft by the San Jose Earthquakes. After moving around team from team throughout his career, he finally found a home with the Columbus Crew in 2007 and has played midfielder and defender for them ever since. He was a crucial part in their 2008 MLS Cup win and helped his team win the Supporter’s Shield award twice in 2008 and 2009, which is awarded to the team with the best regular season record. With all of these accolades and awards, O’Rourke is probably more proud of his relationship with Jesus Christ. He grew up in a Catholic family and never understood why Jesus was so important to him early on in his life. It wasn’t until dealing with knee injuries early in his professional career that O’Rourke had the time to reflect on the meaning of the Mass and his relationship with Jesus Christ.
“Not being able to play soccer for long periods of time gave me a chance to think about life and to pray more than I had before,” said O’Rourke. “Prayer is the essential thing. You can go through all the motions of what Christians should do, but continual prayer makes it personal and gives you the grace to have a better idea of what it is you’re doing in the first place. Another thing that really comes into play when you’re injured is patience. I was used to doing everything pretty much on my own, with very little practical interest in what God wanted to do for me. The injuries were opportunities for me to let go and allow God to work though my life. Physically I was held back by injuries, but spiritually I was set free by them.” (Credit: National Catholic Register)
Not only did O’Rourke learn about patience through his injuries, but strangely, he also learned about strength.
“Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 12:10 that when he is weak he is strong. That sounds contradictory, but in light of faith, it makes sense,” O’Rourke said. “The only way you’re going to be motivated to ask for God’s help is if you realize you need it. Otherwise, you won’t bother asking, and you’ll remain alone.”
O’Rourke made the shift from treating Christianity as a religion to treating it is a relationship with God. He hopes to not only make his team better on the soccer field, but also to make his personal relationship with Christ better. Until we make the same realization that O’Rourke made, we can never fully understands what it means to be a Christian. That personally relationship with Jesus will get us through the ups and downs of life as O’Rourke has so eloquently put it.