by John Schmalzbauer, Missouri State University
(Earlier this week, Jerry Park explored the fascinating role of basketball in the lives of second-generation Asian Americans.)
More than any other player, Knicks superstar Jeremy Lin connects the game of basketball with its religious origins. Christened the “Taiwanese Tebow” for his outspoken evangelical Christianity, Lin would make basketball inventor James Naismith proud.
Less obvious is the connection between Naismith’s “muscular Christianity” and the campus ministry that nurtured Lin during his years at Harvard University.
An ordained Presbyterian minister, Naismith studied theology at Montreal’s McGill University. There he encountered North America’s first YMCA chapter. Convinced that “there might be other effective ways of doing good besides preaching,” he took a position at the International YMCA Training School in Springfield, Massachusetts. Influenced by the legendary Amos Alonzo Stagg, he joined the school’s football team. Before each game, Stagg prayed for “God’s blessing on our game,” [Read more…]