Beliefnet
Mormon Inquiry

At SI.com, “When choosing where to play, Mormon recruits face unique issues,” discussing the challenges faced by a couple of high-profile LDS athletes as they consider which four-year sports program to enroll in. [Yes, I realize there is a four-year college degree program affiliated with the four-year sports program.] I suspect some of the social concerns are shared by other Christian athletes, but the possibility of a two-year LDS mission starting at age 19 is unique to Mormon athletes … and uniquely disruptive to their sports careers. Which makes it doubly admirable that some top-tier athletes nevertheless choose to serve LDS missions.

Here are similar comments I wrote in 2007 in a post titled “Steeplechase Man“:

I just love it when missionary-athletes make it back to competitive form and excel in their sports. They deserve it. They don’t all make it, but they all deserve it.

Athletes don’t always get the best press at BYU. But think about the fact that some athlete-missionaries who serve come back and never become competitive again. College students don’t give up much by taking two years off (they might even pick up a language that contributes to their later success), but athletes sometimes give up their careers. Young athletes who do serve LDS missions deserve more respect for making the Tough Choice — without knowing how things will turn out when they get back.

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