Photo Credit: Tony Capobianco
This month's featured athlete is a rising star in the Los Angeles Dodgers organization. Currently playing for the Oklahoma City Dodgers (AAA), Trevor Oaks was recently named the Pacific Coast League Pitcher of the Week. But it's not because of what he does on the field that he is a Play4Him featured athlete. It's because of Who he plays for! We were able to hear from him about what life is like as a professional baseball player and what it means for him to Play4Him.
How has your faith developed over the years from high school, college and now being on the professional level?
At a Christian High School, I evaluated my spiritual life based off what sins I didn't do, instead of what Christ has done. Saying you were a Christian was easy because you were constantly spoon fed Bible verses and devotions. As I moved into College, I was still being influenced with Biblical teaching, but the training wheels were off and I was able to start making decisions on my own. I began to figure out who I was and see what kind of person I wanted to be. Then once I started professional baseball, I realized how much of a commitment it was to be a Christian. It is so easy to say the right things, but to actually live the right way is a lot more difficult. I have learned that being a Christian takes work; you can't just let everyone make the decisions for you. You have to choose this day who you will serve.
Can you explain how going to a religious institution like California Baptist University impacted the way you incorporate God into your career?
I've gone to private Christian schools my entire life and I wouldn't have it any other way. With my Christian education, I feel that I am not only better equipped to handle the ups and downs of baseball, but I have a better understanding of what I'm trying to accomplish. The ultimate goal is allowing God to use me in any way he wants and building personal relationships with my teammates and coaches. I'm thankful for my upbringing and all of the great Christian teachers and coaches along the way that have shaped and polished my character.
Where have you seen God make the biggest impact in your career?
Everyone looks at professional athletes and idolizes their lifestyle. On the outside, everything looks amazing and perfect, but a lot of people don't see how lonely it can be, especially for Christians. The first couple years of professional baseball, I had a really difficult time making quality friendships. I had multiple friends on the team, but no one that I could rely on spiritually to keep me accountable and be that loyal friend. I had been praying for a while that God would provide a friend that I could lean on throughout the season. This year, he brought a guy on the team that has a lot of big league experience and wanted to play for one more season to come back and help out some younger players and impact them spiritually. I later found out that he and his wife had been praying that God would provide a player for him to talk to throughout the year. Talk about an answer to prayer! It has been such a blessing to know that God orchestrated the whole situation and provided a friend that has been there and understands the struggles that I'm going through.
What is the best piece of spiritual advice you have ever received?
When I was going through the draft process in 2014, I was worrying about every pitch I threw- making sure I was throwing hard enough for the scouts and trying to impress them. My performance started to suffer and my grandfather called me and asked what was going on. After explaining my thoughts, he said that I needed to give my worry to God. Whenever I stood up there and saw the pitch the catcher put down, I needed to let go of the result and just focus on hitting the spot with the best stuff I had that day. "Give it to God" applied to everything that I worried about, and I still use it all the time.
Finally, what does Play4Him mean to you?
Play4Him means that it's all about God. My whole purpose in life is to love God and to be ready to be used by him. In a culture that's constantly focused on self-promotion, I want to use this platform to point back to God and make sure people know that it's all about Him and His plan.