Former NFL quarterback Dylan Thompson encouraged a group of high school students to trust in their faith during a talk at The Hangar Wednesday night.
Thompson, who played football for the University of South Carolina Gamecocks and San Francisco 49ers, was the featured speaker at the Crossfire Student Ministry service. He shared with students how his faith has shaped him, how to find an identity outside of sports or extracurricular activities and why he follows God instead of people.
“I think a lot of times society pushes us to trust the created instead of the Creator,” Thompson said. “I think you can get in a scary spot when your hope is put in people and not in Christ because people are going to let you down — even the best of them. I know in my life, Jesus has never let me down, and that to me is extremely motivating and encouraging that it’s a constant hope I can count on.”
Growing up, Thompson said he found his identity in sports. He said when he was younger, he wanted to play in the NBA, but at Boiling Springs High School he played football.
“I saw a lot of crazy things,” Thompson said. “I saw guys — try to wrap your mind around this — that every single week for 17 weeks they got a check for $400,000. That’s a lot of money. That same guy who got that $400,000 check every single week was miserable and in the locker room either crying about his marriage or crying that his kids don’t want anything to do with him. It just shows you that this lie that people tell you that when you get all the money in the world it will be good. It’s not true.”
Alyssa Story, 16, said one of the things she took away from Thompson's talk was to pay more attention to what defines her. Whether it’s sports, personality or social circles, Story said Thompson helped her realize how important it is to find an identity outside of those areas.
“I really enjoyed hearing him (Thompson) speak, and I think that a bunch of people are going to take what he said tonight and apply it to their lives,” Story said.
Micah Buckley, 17, said he related to Thompson because he’s also an athlete. Buckley said he was interested to hear about the changes Thompson made in his life while he was in college that brought him closer to God and steered him away from the wrong crowd of people.
“When you’re facing adversity, like going out and being with the wrong crowd and not being where you should be, you have to really focus on what matters and what God’s plan is for your life,” Buckley said.