Ben Hartsock, football player for Ohio State University, returned to his old high school Wednesday to give an invaluable lesson of life to the Fellowship of Christian Students. Hartsock told students to put God first if they want to be winners.
"If the game of life ended today, would you be a winner?" he asked the FCS at Unioto High School.
Instead of talking about common challenges high school students face regarding peer pressure, Hartsock explained the solution to overcome life’s obstacles.
He told the students how he incorporated his Christianity in to his daily life.
Although Hartsock was raised in a Christian home, his faith wasn’t applied fully during his high school years. However, he did keep the rituals.
"I did the right things, got good grades and didn't do drugs, but it was like going through the motions," he said.
It wasn’t until his college years that Hartsock began to rely more on his faith. He knew the typical party life some college students led wasn’t for him. He made a leap of faith to only look toward God and that resolution had changed his life.
"I started to realize when you step back and let your faith be your guide everything is possible," he said. "And look at me now. I have had an incredible time playing with the championship Ohio State Buckeyes and now have the opportunity to get picked in this years NFL draft." y
Hartsock said he was teaching the high school students because he was never taught about using Christianity as the primary foundation in his life.
The message Hartsock delivered proved effective.
Brady Burke, 16, said that as a teen who openly professes his Christianity, he said he is torn between wanting to be just one of the guys and wanting to express his faith. After listening to Hartsock, Brady realized he didn’t need to compromise his Christian faith to accomplish his goals.
"Knowing he went through the same things I am going through makes me feel like it's possible," he said. "I don't need to be with those kids partying, drinking or having sex. I can just put God first and my success will come second."
Kim Groves, FCS adviser at Unioto, was grateful for Hartsock’s short and informal speech that could reach out to students who were often times accustomed to lectures from other sources.
"Teachers and schools don't have all the answers to the questions these kids have," he said. "From drugs to sex, peer pressure is pushing these kids in all kinds of directions. Hopefully, at least one person can take some of what he said to heart and know there is a better way of life."