Student athletes spend a majority of their time eating, sleeping and breathing sports. Christian athletes turn to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) to take a break from athletics and focus on their faith.
Brittany Jessen, a senior volleyball player, said it’s nice to have a set time to worship.
“The amount that we talk about our actual sports is low because we’re kind of all day everyday already doing our sports, so just a time to just talk about Christ and the Bible has been really cool too to have that authentic relationship,” Jessen said. “We apply it to our sports for sure, but it’s really just focused on Christ.”
Kristina Susak, junior volleyball player, said Jessen invited her to her first FCA meeting when she was a first-year student.
“It is a great experience, the community that has been built through FCA is something I have never experienced before,” she said. “Just a group of people who genuinely care for one another and want the best for one another is, it’s unreal honestly.”
Jacob Matthew, a sophomore football player, said the way the members of FCA build each other up isn’t unique to FCA, but is unique to Christians.
“You get built up in ways you don’t get built up,” he said. “It’s unique to Christians, we have a community of believers and we all suffer alongside each other and bare each others’ burdens.”
FCA is a national organization with chapters at high schools and colleges across the nation. Matthew said after attending his high school chapter, it made sense for him to attend USD’s FCA with his teammates when he got to USD.
Jessen said she joined right away her freshman year as well and has been excited to see the organization evolve.
“It’s really evolved over the last four years, with our meeting spots,” she said. “We used to meet in the MUC upstairs. Now we meet at Danforth Chapel on campus, which has been a super cool change just to use that beautiful building and be in there and the group of people that are able to connect and see the new people who come. It’s been awesome to just pour into each other and get lifted up when you need it.”
USD’s FCA also started a Vermillion High School FCA three years ago, Jessen said. Jessen and two other members currently lead the high school group.
“We do a bunch of different things. Each week looks really different. Sometimes we do just like a big Bible study all together,” she said. “Sometimes we split into small groups and talk with each other about accountability and just our relationships with Christ, and then we have speakers that come in and talk sometimes so maybe some of our college friends that can come in and talk about a certain subject or just give their testimony.”
Jessen said it’s great to see the others in both groups grow.
“At the end of the day it’s not about us, it’s about them and it’s about Christ,” she said.