Los Angeles Chargers placekicker Dustin Hopkins powered through an injury to gain an impressive win for his team on Monday night, giving him every opportunity to boast of his own prowess.
Instead, when asked about how he dealt with the pain to win the game, he gave glory to God instead.
During the second quarter of the Chargers’ game against the Denver Broncos, Hopkins tweaked his hamstring, causing what he would later describe as “stabbing” pain every time he attempted a field goal.
In spite of this, as the Chargers had no active backup kicker on Monday night as ESPN reported, he went on to convert 4 out of 4 field goal attempts which included the winning 39-yard field goal that secured an overtime victory for the Chargers.
His teammates lifted him up to celebrate and his elation was clear, but when he was asked how he made it through the painful ordeal, he pointed to Christ instead.
“It was obvious you were in a lot of pain, how were you able to grit this one out?” he was asked in a post-game interview by reporter Lisa Salters.
“Before I directly answer that, I just want to say thank you to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,” he replied.
“I’ve got so much to be thankful for, apart from football, and so when something like this happens, I’m blessed either way,” he continued humbly, adding with a chuckle “but to be on the good side of that, obviously, feels a lot better.”
The Lisa Salters post-game interview with Chargers kicker Dustin Hopkins.
Hopkins injured his hamstring on the extra point attempt in the 2nd quarter and then kicked four field goals (37, 31, 35 & 39 yards) in great pain, including the game-winning kick in overtime. pic.twitter.com/RAXSDwnsrW
— René Bugner (@RNBWCV) October 18, 2022
He admitted that he was “hurting pretty good” and explained that he’d have to “go back inside” and figure out what happened to his leg.
According to ESPN, his position is unclear and he has not commented on the extent of his injury.
One thing is clear — the pain he felt in his leg didn’t stop him from his commitment to his team on Monday night.
“Before every kick, you knew that it was going to feel like somebody stabbed you with a knife,” he explained in another interview, per ESPN. “I was just kind of committed to swinging and dealing with the pain after the kick.”
“I just felt that even hurt, I’d be the best option for the team going forward trying to make kicks,” he also said. “It was one of those things. The damage was not completely done, but you’re like, ‘Hey, it hurts already; even if I make it worse, we’ll just figure it out on the back end.'”
DUSTIN HOPKINS WALKS IT OFF FOR THE CHARGERS IN OT⚡
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) October 18, 2022
His team clearly appreciated his endurance.
“You can’t say enough about him hanging in there,” said coach Brandon Staley, who has coached the Chargers to 4-2 and a tie with the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC West.
“For him to go out there and play and put up with some pain like that, it’s great to see from him,” quarterback Justin Herbert said.
There is no doubt that Hopkins was the hero of the day with his impressive display of grit, but it is his display of faith and humility that makes him all the more admirable.
In an age where shortcuts and ease are among the chief idols of our consumer-driven culture, the virtue of embracing adversity is rarely culhutivated.
Yet as a professional athlete and a follower of Jesus Christ, Hopkins knows more than most about the blessings of self-sacrifice.
And at a moment when he could have soaked in all the glory of saving the game for his team, he instantly gave praise to His Savior instead.
This is the definition of putting God first.
Kicker Dustin Hopkins basically played on one leg and won his team the game in OT but instead of glorifying himself, he glorified God.
— Jon Root (@JonnyRoot_) October 18, 2022
Hopkins has a career that no doubt doubtless young men would consider to be the epitome of success and fulfillment, yet during his time in the spotlight, he pointed to all the blessings for which he can be grateful that are much bigger than football.
This is a role model pointing fans towards something higher; we absolutely need more of this spirit in times when so many young men are lost and looking for purpose and meaning in their lives.
Since Hopkins did it, let’s do it too: praise the Lord for this athlete’s courage, commitment and humble confession of faith in his temporally victorious moment.
The greatest victory ever won is secure forever in eternity for you thanks to the self-sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
Will you accept it and celebrate this win forever in the kingdom with Him?
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