Right Field

With Tebow Out, Christians Can Turn to Ray Lewis?

Here’s an amusing piece on the Ravens’ Ray Lewis that describes his faith, charity, commitment to family, and work habits. An excerpt:

Lewis is an unmarried father of six, and his relationships include people who have fallen on hard times. A boy who was the lone survivor when his mother drove her van into a river last spring. A 76-year-old cancer patient. A teenager with bone cancer — for whom he is paying medical expenses.

“It goes back to the idea that, ‘To much is given, much is required,’ ” Lewis says. “With all the things I’ve been through, the No. 1 thing that I’ve learned is that we’re supposed to help people through this world.”

He reflects on a big influence, Hall of Famer Shannon Sharpe. And a not-so-big influence, the father who suddenly appeared three years ago.

As he sat at his locker, Lewis, who grew up in Lakeland, Fla., mimicked the gravelly voice of his late maternal grandfather, Gillis McKinney.

“He used to have this old car, and he’d say,” Lewis said, changing his voice for effect, ” ‘Y’all kids keep getting all these new cars so quick, but I’ll keep a car with 500,000 miles on it. You’ve got to take care of the engine.’

“It’s the same thing with your body. If you clean your body out so that it is not fighting against you, you rest better, think better and you’re always light on your feet. I haven’t had as much as a cold in three years. Bottom line, your body is a temple, and you have to treat it that way. That’s how God designed it.”

And . . .

For all of his influence on teammates, it frustrates Lewis that some family members haven’t fully incorporated healthy habits he urges. This has resonated with him more after the August death of his aunt, Sherry Taylor, 52, who battled cancer.

He also is concerned about the condition of his grandmother, Elease McKinney, and says he is trying to facilitate a liver transplant.

“He’s got such a big heart,” says Lewis’ mother, Sunseria Smith. “He thinks he can do anything to change the world.”

Lewis spoke at Taylor’s funeral. His theme: “Why do we wait so long to take care of our temples?”

“I stay mad at my mom because she spends so much time with God but doesn’t trust God with her body,” he says. “I don’t want to see her body deteriorate. Every day, we’ve got to do something physical. It’s mind, body and spirit.”

“But if you’re not practicing it,” he says, “it’s not going to survive.”

Smith, 51, has a different version. She maintains that she does work out — Lewis has mapped out exercise and diet plans, signed her up at a gym and gets regular reports from her doctor — but typically not to her son’s standard.

“This boy is working my nerves,” Smith says. “He’s been on me for years. Then every time somebody in our family passes, he really goes berserk.

“I know he’s disciplined, and he does it out of love, but sometimes I have to ask, ‘Who’s the mama and who’s the child?’ “

The whole piece here.

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