Tamika Catchings Shares Life Lessons with FCA Audience

Former UT All-American Spoke at Road to Victory Banquet

Tuesday, March 05, 2013 - by B.. Branton

Raised with a basketball in one hand and a Bible in the other, U. of Tennessee All-American Tamika Catchings seemed to have it all growing up.

While a product of an upper/middle class suburban family with an NBA pro for a father, Catchings struggled as a child with a hearing and speech impairment since birth followed by her her parents’ divorce while she was in grammar school.

Shedding many tears, she struggled making friends as a young child due to the stigma brought on by wearing glasses, braces and oversized hearing aids.

While she threw away her hearing aids in the second grade, she did not ditch her God-given athletic abilities and today sees views sports as a platform to share her faith.

“I know that as a professional athlete, God has given me a platform on which to speak about Christ,” said Catchings an 11-year veteran of the WNBA and the featured speaker Tuesday night at the Greater Chattanooga Fellowship of Christian Athletes “Road to Victory” Banquet at the downtown Convention and Trade Center.

“I know that I need to carry myself on and off the court in a glorifying way for God each day. I have my struggles like anyone else, but through prayer and a strong circle of supportive friends I keep my eyes on the Lord.”

Her talents were duly noticed in high school with state championships in volleyball and basketball in Texas and Illinois which led to a basketball scholarship to Tennessee.

“I was raised in a strong Christian family, but once I got to college I realized I had freedom and strayed somewhat from my faith in Jesus Christ, convincing myself that I was in control of my life and church every Sunday was an option,” stated Catchings who has an undergrad and graduate degree from Tennessee.

“But through my involvement in FCA my last two years of college I was able to have strong Christian friends who were athletes and that really helped me grow as a Christian.”

Having won at every level – high school through international play – Catchings middle name could be “victory.”

The impressive resume of the 33-year-old Stratford, New Jersey native includes the aforementioned prep state titles, an NCAA title with Tennessee in 1998, three Olympic gold medals (2004-08-2012) and a handful of national championships while playing in South Korea, Russia and Poland.

Her playing resume was completed in 2012 as she led the Indiana Fever to the WNBA championship.

“I recently signed a two-year contract with Indiana and after the 2014 season I’ll see if I want to continue playing,” said Catchings whose WNBA  career honors includes 2002 Rookie of the Year, 2011 league MVP as well as five-time league defensive player of  the year and seven-time All-Pro.

While she continues to focus on being the best pro she can be, one of her passions is her Indianapolis-based Catch The Stars Foundation which helps young girls incorporate important life skills including literacy, fitness and mentoring in their daily lives.

Though recognized as one of the best in her profession and having the seemingly glamorous lifestyle pro sports can offer, Catchings knows oh too well of the hurts and pains in a young child’s life seeking acceptance.

Her goal in life is pointing them to the One who accepts them all.

Banquet Notes:

Banquet Trimmed in Orange and White: In honor of Tamika, each table had a center piece of orange and white roses while UT orange napkins graced each place setting.

Vol Emcee: Former UT quarterback great Andy Kelly, wearing an orange and white tie, served as the evening emcee.

 

contact B.B. Branton at william.branton@comcast.net


Juster Takes Low-Pro Honors At Windstone

Gregg Juster shot 71 on Monday and took low-pro honors in the Chattanooga Chapter TN PGA Pro-Am at the Windstone Golf Club.  Monday's Results: Low Professional : 1st: (71) Gregg Juster 2nd: (77) Doug Amor Professional Skins: Gregg Juster #6, Doug Amor #12 & #17,  David Owens #!4 & #15 Amateur Skins: Jay Potter #1, Erik Atkinson #4, Jeff Ott #5, ... (click for more)

Randy Smith: Peyton Manning - Still Great, Still Classy

There have been a lot of great quarterbacks in the long history of the National Football League. Anytime you feel like being involved in a long, healthy debate just start a conversation about who is the best quarterback of all time. Everyone has their own choice and when I was much younger, I always chose Johnny Unitas as the best to ever play the game. Most NFL fans agreed with ... (click for more)

Jo Ann Cronan Charged With Bribing Voters In Polk County; Similar Probe Underway In Monroe County

A Polk County woman has been charged with bribing voters. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation began an investigation on July 24 into allegations of illegal activities related to the August general election in Polk County. The investigation was commenced at the request of District Attorney General Stephen Crump. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, along with Calvin Rockholt, ... (click for more)

Shooting At Woodlawn Apartments Claims Life Of 20-Year-Old Male; Victim Shot Multiple Times

A shooting late Monday night at the Woodlawn Apartments has claimed the life of a 20-year-old male. At approximately 10:57 p.m.. the Chattanooga Police Department responded to a gunshot wound call at 2300 Wilson St. Hamilton County EMS transported the victim to a local hospital, where he later succumbed to multiple life-threatening gunshot wounds. The victim has been transported ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Has Lost Its Most Popular Citizen - Luther Masingill

Chattanooga has lost its most popular citizen – Luther Masingill. Although we are saddened we cherish the memories.  All of us have a Luther story.  Mine is the first time I met Luther.  This was before TV and all of Chattanooga listened to Luther on the radio.  I was 12-years-old.  Some of my buddies and I had gone to the State Theater in downtown ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: An Election Day Fable

Every day I am peppered with emails that friends send to me from across the country so I am unsure of where the fable you are about to read originated. But with early voting for the November general election now in full swing, I think everyone who will -- or will not -- take part in freedom’s greatest privilege should read this story because I believe there is a great lesson contained ... (click for more)