I’ve enjoyed getting to know Jordan Vogel since arriving at Trinity CRC a year and a half ago. When we arrived, he was studying psychology and criminal justice at Dordt College and playing forward on the Defenders basketball team – the team for which his dad also played in the 1980s. Now Jordan is playing basketball professionally in Belgium. This past season he was with Mercurius BBC; later this year he’ll be playing for Gembo BBC. Here he reflects on the cool opportunities God is giving him in sports…
What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the name “Jesus?”
Surrender, giving your life’s control over to God.
Do you remember how old you were when you started liking and playing basketball?
I’ve played basketball as long as I can remember. My first organized team was at RVCS in 5th grade I believe, but it didn’t become a passion of mine until my junior year of high school at Western.
What is the most exciting part about being in professional basketball?
The most exciting part is the realization that I’m now making a career out of the game I love. I can remember when being a professional athlete was a dream, then a possibility, and now its actually happening. I feel so blessed to have gotten this opportunity and its very gratifying to know that all my hard work has paid off.
What do you miss the most when your career takes you far from your home in northwest Iowa?
The people and the knowledge of the area. All of my family and best friends are here and communication is hard because of the time difference, but I frequently use Skype and things like that to stay in touch. When I’m in Belgium and need to run some what would be simple errands, I have to ask somebody or look online to see where a store is located… It really turns into an ordeal sometimes!
What joys and challenges are there in not only being a basketball player, but a Christian basketball player?
My faith keeps me very grounded. The majority of people in Antwerp acknowledge religion, but they don’t practice any part of it. It was a challenge at times not to get caught up in that lifestyle because I was trying to make friends and fit in, which often meant staying home on Saturday nights so I would be rested for church on Sunday instead of going out with my teammates. So that is a challenge, but it is also a joy because I was frequently asked about my faith and it gave me the opportunity to tell people about God. Playing basketball really serves as my platform for ministry. Yes I am a basketball player, but I am a Christian first.
What advice do you have for anyone who hopes to play in professional sports?
First my advice is to make it your primary focus. If you want to be a professional athlete, then you have to make it your first priority and base your daily schedule and decisions around it. It’s a lot of hard work and the preparation for it isn’t always fun, but believe me its worth it. That being said, most importantly, keep God in charge. I was constantly praying and asking God to open doors and lead and that gave me a great sense of peace which allowed me to just focus on improving my basketball skills because I knew that if God’s plan for me was to play professional basketball, it was going to happen.
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Watch Jordan in action with the Dordt Defenders…