A lot of times when people look at athletes, they think we might be puffed up and full of pride, so they don’t try to talk to us. Sometimes we can’t talk to them, because we have to focus on doing our jobs! But if I don’t have anything to do, I try to say hi to people in the ballpark, especially the kids, to let them know that we are human beings. I shake their hands and encourage them, I give them high fives, and I let them know that I’m real and I’m human and I hope they do well. Sometimes Dads ask if I have any advice for their sons, and I’ll tell them to dream. To dream really, really big.
I try to reflect Christ in a way that’s positive. I’m not necessarily there telling kids they need to accept Jesus as their savior. In a lot of circles, especially when you’re representing a sports team, it’s not really appropriate to talk about God. I do some evangelizing in certain circles, where it’s appropriate to do it without offending the people I work for. The Giants ask me to do things in the community, and I want to keep doing things in the community, so I want to make sure I exemplify the characteristics of Christ as much as possible. That way, people might follow me into other circles where they can hear me speak about my views of God and share theirs with me.
When I talk to kids at community functions, I really try to do the same thing. At the end of the summer I spoke at the high school graduation of a bunch of street kids at a homeless youth shelter. And I did that because I just wanted to love on them. I try as hard as I can to make sure that I ooze what I think Christ has told me to do. I try to have the aroma of Christ (2 Corinthians 2:15). And just through the aroma that I put off, I want these kids to feel good about who they are.
And I want them to come ask me what makes me different. And if they ask me, then I tell them that I’m trying to reflect the love that I’ve been given, and that’s the love of Jesus. And believe He’s my Savior. I believe He died for me, and I believe He gives me pure joy. And so I try to give that joy to them, as much as I possibly can.