Syracuse uses weekly ‘Church on the Dirt’ meetings on the road to remain pious

first_img Published on April 15, 2019 at 8:08 pm Contact Adam: [email protected] | @_adamhillman Waiting for a flight at the Tulsa International Airport, a group of almost a dozen Syracuse players had their weekly meeting to talk about faith. Led by SU assistant coach Vanessa Shippy, they pulled out their current book of choice, “Church on the Dirt: A Journal,” a devotional about the connection between Christianity and softball. In the middle of their reading and discussion, an unknown woman approached the group. Shippy worried she would question why they chose to pray in an airport lobby, but suddenly, the woman started to clap. “What’s going on?” Shippy remembers one player asking. “Is she clapping at us?”She was impressed by their devotion and courage to pray in public, Shippy said. “It definitely showed them how prayer can really connect us to other people who you might not know,” Shippy said. AdvertisementThis is placeholder textWhen Syracuse travels on the road on Sundays, Shippy leads a weekly “Church on the Dirt meeting” as a substitute for an actual church. Around 10 players gather together for anywhere between 20 to 45 minutes to discuss a chapter they’ve journaled about beforehand. The prompts, which were released on Dec. 29, 2018, are used by more than 10 schools including Oklahoma State and University of Virginia. It includes devotionals, prompts and extra space to write down prayers. Two of the book’s six authors — Aubree Munro and Ali Aguilar — are former teammates with the SU assistant. Shippy played with Aguilar and Munro last season for Scrap Yard Fast Pitch, an independent softball team based out of Houston. Every Sunday, Aguilar and Munro hosted a bible study on gameday with anyone on the team who elected to join, and Shippy bought in. When she joined Syracuse this season, the 22-year-old knew she wanted to provide her team with a similar experience. “When they wrote that book, I bought some off Amazon and actually the Fellowship of Christian Athletes bought copies,” Shippy said. “It allowed us to start this.”Amy Nakamura | Design EditorBefore each meeting, Shippy assigns a singular chapter for specific meetings. Each attendee then writes responses to the prompts after the assignment. The response questions tie in both faith and sport: “Describe a time you’ve felt surrounded and had to use faith to succeed” or “Is the competition in sports violating principles of Christ?” Discussing these sort of questions can help members of Syracuse overcome anxiety and the yips and stay committed to their religion, senior Bryce Holmgren said.On Sundays, their meetings always start with a question from Shippy. It’s varied from, “What do you do to talk to God” to “What is one of your greatest fears and how do you use faith to cope with it,” Shippy said. Usually, players may be a little shy at first — it sometimes takes a member a little time to get used to the heavy questions. Yet, once the conversation evolves, it can provide better insight into their lives outside of softball, players said. Some players have grown up around religion — junior Toni Martin grew up in a devout Catholic household — while others were not as religious. In its first year of existence, Martin said its allowed SU to think deeper about how softball will affect their lives after college.“Sometimes I struggle with finding who I need to be,” junior Alexa Romero said. “It’s helped me find how I can use faith and talk about it on a regular basis.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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