Dot Richards

1996 USA Goldmedal Softball team

As an athlete you recognize the talents of other people, those teammates around you and those opponents you play. You also recognize the talents that God has given you, and you realize it truly is an honor to God when you express your talents.

I can remember when my mom and dad bought me a Children's Bible when I was six. I read it to my best friend at the time, Mark, who was five. I remember the stories and the Bible and what I learned. Even though I was very young, God filled me with an incredible source of life and the ability to love. My mom and dad are strong Christians and I grew up going to church and all that. But, beyond just the formality of going church, my faith went beyond that. I knew that God had given me a special gift and that was the ability to have a relationship with him through his son Jesus Christ. I also knew that God made that same relationship available to all of us. Jesus Christ is the most important gift we've been given. We've also been given talents. For me I loved to run and jump. Things came naturally to me in learning and in athletics.

I know because of my faith in God that everything happens for a reason. There is a destiny for each of us. In life's journey, how many lives can we affect in a positive way? Life isn't about one person -- me, or you --- it's about all of us and how we can learn to lift other people up. That's what really makes life worth living and what gives us purpose on earth. I hope when my days are done that people can look and say that I have a made a difference in the lives of many people.

One of my favorite quotes in the Bible is Philippians 4:13. I'll give a little paraphrase of it, "We can do all things through Christ who gives us strength." I know that the strength I have inside and the drive or love of life comes from something much bigger than anything on this earth. Strength comes from realizing that when I play as an athlete or work in my career as a physician, I feel the Lord's pleasure. To have the ability to express the talents he has given me is an extreme privilege and an opportunity I embrace because in so doing people can watch and say, "God is remarkable by what he gives to all of us."

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