I was out of the country when this story was published, so I’m a bit behind in mentioning it.
It’s a Father’s Day feature by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram on Chris Woodward, manager of my beloved Texas Rangers.
The headline certainly grabbed me:
How fatherhood and adoption helped deepen Rangers manager Chris Woodward’s faith
And the lede offers definite potential:
Chris Woodward didn’t need a wake-up call or come to Jesus moment.
He was already living a life of purpose and passion.
The Texas Rangers manager was an infield prospect in the Blue Jays’ organization in the late 1990s despite the long odds of being selected in the 54th round of the 1994 draft.
Just as his baseball career was taking root, however, he was dealt a deeply personal blow that shook his world.
At just 21-years-old, Woodward had to deal with the death of his father. His faith was tested.
“He tried to reason his faith and faith doesn’t work like that,” said Erin Woodward, Chris’ wife.
But here’s the frustrating part: The Star-Telegram never really moves beyond vague references to faith and God.
Yes, Woodward’s wife mentions a “God moment” for her husband. And the manager says the adoption changed his “spiritual perspective.” And the writer isn’t shy about quotes that include faith and God:
The ordeal brought him closer to God, Erin said.
“It was a real faith moment where he was able to see the hand of God in our lives,” she said. “To see a man who was already so fundamentally and morally well put together … he always believed and he always had a spiritual connection, but to see God working in his life like that … I think God has to stir your heart and stir your soul sometimes to really make an impact and for it to hit home. That’s what I saw in him, that spiritual movement, moving the spiritual needle in him to kind of complete this already awesome man.”
But the religious aspect of the story is entirely vanilla — something all too common in sports reports.
It’s akin to a story about an experience sharpening a person’s athletic resolve — and then never mentioning what sport in which the person engages.
At a minimum, it would be nice to know if Woodward has a specific religious affiliation. Is he Christian? Jewish? Or a different faith group? The Star-Telegram never says.
If he’s not any of the above, then that merits some explanation, too. A quote near the end gives the impression that faith is not something that the manager wears on his sleeve:
For Chris Woodward, fatherhood has helped remind him that sometimes the randomness of life might also be the work of a higher power.
“With Mason, that was kind of a moment — whether you want to admit it or not or believe in it or not — significant things have happened in my life that lead me to believe that there’s something [bigger] at work,” he said. “I’m not an overly religious person, but there’s something going on.”
What exactly is going on? That’s real difficult to determine based on this story.