“Passing on Football,” New Era, September 2016, 47
I was born in a tiny peninsula on an island south of India called Sri Lanka. Growing up there, I was fascinated with American football. I was five when I got my first football and learned how to play with the plushy ball. But my parents were not able to put me on a football team due to financial problems.
Years later, my family moved to New York, USA. Going into high school, I finally had a chance to get into an official team for free. There was one specific requirement: I had to go to football camp for a month, which meant no church for a month. On top of that, I had games on Sundays.
I was very upset and had no idea what to do. I prayed every day for an answer. One evening, I read a talk from President Ezra Taft Benson (1899–1994) where he said, “We must put God in the forefront of everything else in our lives” (“The Great Commandment: Love the Lord,” Apr. 1988 general conference). This struck me so hard that as soon as I read that, I knelt down and thanked the Lord for giving me an answer. I told my parents that I wasn’t going to play football. They supported me through everything. I still am grateful I made that decision.