EDITOR’S NOTE: Since this interview was originally released, Zach Duke has become a member of the Washington Nationals.
Starting pitcher Zach Duke is in his first season with Arizona and seventh overall. After dealing with a broken hand that kept him out for nearly two months, Duke is back on the field and looking sharper than ever. In this interview, Duke talks about how his Christian faith impacts all facets of his life:
Bonham: How do faith and sports coexist in your world?
Duke: I used to just pray to win the game and it was always a very selfish prayer that I’d do well. I’ve grown to realize that it’s not the right way to go about things. The deeper I got with my faith, the more I realized that it’s all about what you’re learning through the process and going through the trials and tribulations and the good times. It’s about the lessons you’re learning throughout the journey.
Bonham: How does your relationship with God help you deal with the game of baseball?
Duke: I’ve learned that there’s going to be good games and bad games. What matters is if you’re staying consistent with the professional aspect, with your family, with your spiritual life. Are you staying consistent and being the same guy no matter what happens on the field? Are you letting a setback on the field distance you from your faith?
Bonham: Do you feel like you have more responsibility to live a certain way because of your platform?
Duke: I try to strive to be a model Christian no matter what I’m doing. I try to live a godly life in every aspect including on the field, with my wife, with my parents, with friends or wherever. I try to be a godly man all the time. There are times you slip up but what matters is that you go to God and give it up to Him and ask for forgiveness.
Bonham: How does your faith help you serve the spiritual and emotional needs of those around you?
Duke: I try to encourage everyone I come into contact with and be a guy who’s open to talk about whatever a teammate or a friend is going through. In the conversations, I’ll tell them I don’t struggle with that anymore because of my faith. They’re experiencing the same voids that I used to have in my life. My relationship with God has filled those voids with me. You’re not going to be able to fill those voids with anything else.
Bonham: What’s your favorite Bible verse?
Duke: 2 Timothy 4:7. “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” (NIV)
Join Inspiring Athletes tomorrow for an interview with Miami Dolphins wide receiver Davone Bess and his detailed account of a two-week volunteer trip to Costa Rica.