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Broadcaster Crosses Intersection of Sports and Faith

In Seattle, a typical morning rush hour heading downtown is frustrating for most! But not if you’re a morning-radio show host where you’ve got a captive audience. Former NFL and college quarterback Brock Huard is co-cost of a sports talk radio on 710 ESPN in Seattle. So what was it about his football experience with the Washington Huskies, Seattle Seahawks and Indianapolis Colts that drew the best of him? Brock believes it’s “the ability to connect with people and I’m in the media business where my job is to connect with an audience, with fans, with coaches, with the NFL and college looking back in their foundation it laid, it's the ability to really connect with others.”                       

Brock graduated with a Psychology degree. How often does he rely on that during his radio show? Brock says, “My greatest weakness as a player was overthinking.  It’s so much of what's going on between our ears was one of my great challenges as a player to turn that off. I think it's one of the assets, doing the job I do.  That curiosity, to over-analyze, it's what sports' radio is about. So, yeah, God used one of my vulnerabilities as a player and my hard wiring, to really be an asset and a strength of mine in my future career.”

So what fuels sports talk radio? The show co-host argues, “Relationship.  I was paired eight years ago with someone that couldn't be any more different in every way, (laugh) and the two of us had to find relationship and make it work. So what fuels sports radio, for me, is a relationship! A relationship with my cohost, my producers, with an audience, with the doors that open when I'm pumping gas and a complete strange comes up and says, "How's Titus doing?"  My 7-year-old son (laugh) – I don't know them, but they have relationship with me through the medium of sports radio.”

And what do you think audiences want from him? For Brock, “Authenticity!  That's what they want.  They want it to be real and in eight years we have never pre-programed takes, ‘I'll try to argue this side, and you be the contrarian on that side’ because that is inauthentic and disingenuous.  So we find things that we authentically are passionate about and feel strongly about and we dig into those conversations!  I don't think there's any way you could cover the Mariners and The Seahawks and the Huskies and the trials and tribulations that they go through without natural back-and-forth and tension in our differences.”

Brock describes the Seattle fan base as unique in that, “It's a really educated fan base. You've got an IT world that's blowing up. A uniquely diversified population, that Seattle market -- you better be on point cause they'll call your bluff if you're not.”         

When the local team wins it unites a fan base and city. How genuine and sustaining is that sense of community? Brock elaborates, “Great question.  And it's tested when you lose.  Not when you win. And rolling through 2012 and into 2013 in the Super Bowl and back to 2014, it was unbelievable.  There was a mania. And you're right.  There's very few things from a community that bring a civic sense on the same page together.  But when a little adversity hits, we do realize how strong or how disingenuous those connection points can be in that level of fandom.”
Sports will always be a draw as long as it continues to be … “An idol?”, Brock opines, “I was just chatting with one of my kids about this.  I said, ‘Isn't it amazing we read these old testaments and we're like, ‘Man, what were they thinking?  How are you following some pole?  How can you build up some set of rocks.’ And you look at the idols that they had and then you realize like -- how can you just paint your faces and get tattoos and schedule all your life around these eight Sundays or these six Saturdays and it's everything in your life. Like, where's that line that you're walking between something that you love and you're passionate about, which is awesome and where it becomes an idol?”

Brock travels nationally as a college football game analyst for ESPN. He sees the extremes of fan commitment. So how much is too much? He explains, “So where is the line between obsession and passion?  And again, I think all of us need men in our lives that are walking alongside of us to check us and to question it. Does it come before your wife?  Does it come in before your kids?  Does it come in before your church?  Is it coming before your Savior? Your relationship with that faith in your Savior and your maker first, your family better be second because they endure.  The game won’t. The team won’t. The sports won’t. We can be passionate, we should be passionate, but if you're obsessed, you'd better check yourself.”    

Brock has recently released a podcast called, Above and Beyond, conversations with former teammates and coaches who share from personal experience that intersect faith and football.  Brock shares, “I’m thankful and privileged that my Bonneville, my work has opened this door, that Compassion International has sponsored the whole dog gone thing and that people can be driving and tune in! But man has God placed amazing people with amazing stories that have shaped my life and that’s what Above and beyond is aiming to do!”

So who is Jesus Christ to Brock Huard?  “He's everything.  He's everything! Because without relationship with him, when talking about connection and what’s genuine, what’s authentic and what is relationship, -- and without him -- none of it's real! It doesn't take tragedy to always bring that out.  It doesn't take sports to always bring that out.  It takes that trust to bring that out. Without his authenticity, without his life, without his blood, without his saving grace, without him, it really isn't genuine relationship.”

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