Playing Off of Faith With Tamika Catchings

Beliefnet interviews Olympic athlete and WNBA star Tamika Catchings about playing for her country and how she practices her beliefs.

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Every single place I talk, whether it’s to a group of kids or at a university or wherever I go, I always ask them a series of questions. By the end of my time, every single person has raised his or her hand. It’s different when you hear someone talk and you have nothing in common. They’re talking about something that’s over your head. But a lot of the stuff that I talk about is real life situations; my story, what I’ve gone through, how I’ve overcome, and of course my faith. Everyone plays off my faith. Being a WNBA player gives me a great platform to be able to give my testimony and talk about my faith without pushing it on people.

What has God taught you through these challenges?

God has taught me about patience and about accepting myself for who I am and knowing that He formed me and made me unique. He made everyone uniquely wonderful. That’s been the biggest thing for me. Every single cell, every single muscle, every single thing about my body, He created and He formed—and even my personality. I never thought I’d be able to speak in front of hundreds of people and have a story and a testimony. That’s the thing that God has showed me—just accepting myself. And he’s also shown me patience through the injuries I’ve had, and the relationships I’ve been through and the things I want in my life. It’s like He’s saying, “Be still and be patient.”

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Describe your Olympic experience.

Catchings: It is one of the most exciting things. It’s almost one of those things that even when you talk about it, you can’t fully describe the feeling—just being able to be considered one of the best in your nation. And when you look at the Olympics, it goes across all fields in life—sports, politics, diversity. It’s everything combined into one. And when you’re there, everybody is watching you. What they see is how they think every American acts. I take a lot of responsibility for that. This might be the only time some of these players and these people from different countries ever come into contact with an American. You are that person that they are going to go back and talk about. It’s cool to meet a lot of new people. But there are also a lot of foreigners that come to the WNBA and play so it allows us to develop those friendships as well.

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