Yesterday I had the chance to meet with some of the finalists for the CFL Shaw Player Awards.
Cody Fajardo is the West nominee for Most Outstanding Player. During our conversation we talked about faith. We are both Catholics. Both of us went to Catholic high schools which were all-boys schools. I said my years at St. Peter’s College had a great influence on my life.
I told him I wanted to understand his comments through the year “about sprinkles of Jesus” with regard to successful plays. I said I did not believe that God had favourites on the sporting fields of the world. He agreed. He said God has no dog in the fight.
He thinks of these plays as little blessings.
The saying originated when he was in B.C. last year with fellow quarterbacks, Travis Lulay and Jonathan Jennings. All three are Catholics.
Caught up in football, the saying reminds him to put Jesus into his daily life.
He spoke of Jesus helping bring him through tough times. In his career he was so frustrated as he was passed over many times. He said he was angry at God as he was doing everything to get a chance. He said God must have been laughing at him for he received his opportunity this year.
He said he had this weird feeling that when he dies and goes to heaven God is going to show him the life God had planned for him versus the life Cody had chosen for himself. He believes each of us has the free will to decide our future on earth.
He lives out his faith in public. He said we are all called to be disciples of Jesus and he has a platform for teaching people.
Montreal receiver Jake Wieneke, who up for the Rookie of the Year Award, is also Catholic. He grew up in the Minneapolis area and went to university at South Dakota State.
He considered being a priest but through a period of discernment decided he was not called to be a priest. He does anticipate becoming a deacon.
Faith is part of his daily life. He has Bible study with some of his teammates. He said he seeks God every day.
Another nominee, Henoc Muamba, of the Alouettes for Outstanding Canadian is also a Christian. Muamba and Wieneke spend time together working on their faith.
He trusts and knows God. With faith as his backbone he said he can rejoice in good situations and cope with bad times.
While we did not discuss his faith another nominee, Nate Holley of the Stampeders, the West nominee for Best Rookie is another man of faith.