There was a great response to Berry Tramel’s story, Triumph after tragedy for Christian Heritage coach. In fact, it was the best day in the history of the site. Mr. Tramel is a columnist for The Oklahoman. So, I thought I’d try to milk it for all its worth and get Mr. Tramel to answer a few questions. He was incredibly gracious.
Tell us about your faith.
Let me clarify something. On my blog, when I said I tried not to get into much religion, I meant in the story. I am a long-time Christian, the son of a Pentecostal Holiness minister and the twin brother of a preacher who has earned his doctorate in theology and teaches at Southwestern Christian University. I teach a young-married Sunday School class at Lakeside Church of God in Norman, Okla.
I don’t believe Christianity is believing the right thing. You will never hear me refer to myself as a believer. I’m not all that interested in what people believe. I’m interested in what they do. I believe that Christianity is a verb. I don’t have any idea if J.J. Kearnes claims to be a Christian. I know he certainly acts like one.
How hard was finding the right balance of faith in the story?
It wasn’t tough to find a balance of faith in this story because I didn’t do any preaching. I let the subjects decide the balance. If you’ll notice, the words “Jesus” and “Christ” and “Christian” aren’t in the story, except in the school name “Christian Heritage.” I talked about God, when Clint LittleJim laid in his bed and surrendered to the Lord, because that’s exactly what LittleJim said happened, and he used the terms “God” AND “Lord.” This story was told in their words, not mine.
Your father and twin are preachers, do you feel like sportswriting is a ministry for you? If so, how?
No, I don’t necessarily feel like sportswriting is a ministry. I don’t ever set out to spread the Word using my column. I probably do, sometimes, but I think I could have — would have — written the story similarly even if I wasn’t a Christian. I believe the Lord uses people in a variety of ways, and he would use me no matter my vocation.
How often are you able to bring your faith into a story the way you did with this past one?
I don’t bring Christianity into stories very often. For one thing, I’m a little bit of a skeptic. Somebody proclaiming their Christianity doesn’t do much for me. If I see it in action, that’s different. If Christianity — or any religion — is central to the story, then I’ll include it. Otherwise, no.
Some have asked why we’re interviewing writers so much and not athletes. Several reasons for that. A) I’m incredibly lazy and B) writers are much easier to have access to. However, sleep well my friends, we are going to see original content from athletes on here soon. I like the question and answer format because it allows much less writer bias.
During my hard core journalism days, a friend told me it was lazy to do Q’s and A’s. However, in today’s world, Q’s and A’s work better for me for several reasons. I end up working 60 hours a week in some way, shape or form, involved in community and church activities and don’t have as much time as I’d like. Oh yeah, I’ve also got this family I’m attached to. On top of it, I have a God-given passion for this site. So, sometimes, straight questions and answers work because they’re quick and easy.
More important than my schedule, I think people appreciate the fact they can delve what they want to from straight Q’s and A’s. We have a world today where people want to get the info on their own. Q’s and A’s enable them to do that. There is no twisting of Mr. Tramel’s words. If you want to disagree with his theology, have at it, but it is his words, not my words twisting or shading it. The only changing I did was changed a space here or there and I added the first line to the first question. He opened his email with it, then went into the questions and I felt it needed to be included.
So, having said that, in the near future we’re going to post a feature on bass angler Alton Jones, who’s #3 in the world right now when it comes to bass fishing. Jones was one of the classiest people I’ve ever interviewed. An incredibly decent guy who’s faith runs deep. Check out his site at www.altonjones.com.
I’ve been waiting to post his story until the full site is up. Go to www.christiansportsonline.com . What you see is pretty much what you get. We’re not advertising it much at this point. The primary holdback to that is I’m still having challenges getting the content semi-pretty but I’m getting better! The only upcoming change is we’re going to rotate the top with several sports. It will be seasonal. If you see something that doesn’t seem right to the site, please, let us know. You’ve got my email, firstname.lastname@example.org or simply post a comment. I’m sending super huge thanks to my dear friend Paul Coupaud who not only made it purty, but functional. The man is an absolute genius when it comes to web design but even a better friend than he is a genius.
Oh yes, and I’ll be traveling for the next few days. I’ll try and update regularly, but no promises! Will be getting back into the swing of things next Wednesday.
We have lots of dreams for the future of the site. None would be possible without you dear readers. Thanks for reading!