Another Angle — Outside the box

Another Angle — Outside the box

He went north. I went south.

Walking across the floor at the iconic Hinkle Fieldhouse, the sun beaming through those trademark fieldhouse windows, it hit me that never had I been this inspired after an interview. I’d been inspired a lot, but this interview was special.

Working at Sports Spectrum, it happens frequently. You interview someone who doesn’t just give you a story—but challenges the way you think and has an impact on the way you live your life. It’s what makes the job particularly fulfilling. Ronald Nored had an impact
on me.

Nored is a senior at Butler University…and a student-teacher…and a basketball player at a school that, may I remind you, went to back-to-back national championship games. The guy, as you can imagine, is probably one of the busier college students in the country. He has a lot more on his plate than the kid down the hall who’s dorm room is littered with Mountain Dew cans and is apparently paying $40,000 worth of tuition to rot his brain out on Xbox Live.

I caught Nored on his day off. Luckily. And where is he? He’s at Hinkle making appear- ances on campus tours and waiting around for a dinky reporter from Sports Spectrum magazine. I know where I’d be on my day off. I’d be in my dorm room playing FIFA in my boxers. Maybe napping. Maybe not showering. Maybe being a college kid. If I’m Nored, give me ESPN or Sports Illustrated, and maybe I’ll carve out some time.

Not Nored.

The guy gave me an hour of his time…on game day, by the way. And as we sat down in Sports Information Director James McGrath’s office for the interview, I began to realize why everyone says he’s so special, why head coach Brad Stevens would say on Senior Night that “there’s no one that’s above him” when it comes to leadership, why McGrath would later tell me that in his 30-some years as Butler’s SID, Nored is at the top of his list of student-athletes.

Nored told me that the main lesson he’s learned at Butler is that no matter where you are, God can use you. No matter where you are, God wants you to be a light for Him.

An Alabama native, the transition to Indianapolis was difficult for Nored. Can’t blame him. His father died in eighth grade. His mother and brother were his rock. And he didn’t want to lose them, too.

But he grinded it out, and look what happened. Back-to-back national championship appearances and a platform that has grown exponentially while playing for the Bulldogs. At Western Kentucky (where he originally committed before former head coach Darrin Horn left for South Carolina), Nored’s light would’ve been a candle. At Butler, he exploded like a supernova.

“I went to a Lecrae concert,” Nored remembers, “and I think it was Trip Lee that asked the question, ‘What are the purpose of lights?’ Lights exist to show other things. I thought of downtown Indianapolis. The reason those lights are so bright are to show all the buildings. It’s the same with our light. God’s given me a su- per bright light, and I’m show- ing Christ through that light.”

Little did Nored know that while he talked about the lesson God taught him, God was using him to teach me a lesson.

Not that I want to waste your time with my petty story, but perhaps the irony is noteworthy. Eight months ago I moved from Indiana to North Carolina to accept this position at Sports Spectrum. Nored went north. I went south. The transition was difficult. Like Nored, I felt like God could use me just as much back in Indiana where life was simpler.

But Nored helped me realize that God can’t be put in a box; that in everything, there’s a purpose; that God can use you anywhere and everywhere…if you allow Him.

“I think a lot of people think it’s scary to not know what’s next,” Nored says. “But it’s a lot less scary when you have God to depend on because you know he’s going to take care of you. Not to say there won’t be hard times. But you still know that God is go- ing to use you in a really powerful way.”

What I learned from Nored is one of the most dangerous yet powerful prayers you can pray.

“Take me anywhere.”

By Stephen Copeland

This story was published in the Vol. 26, No. 2 issue of Sports Spectrum magazine. Stephen Copeland is a staff writer and columnist at Sports Spectrum magazine. His column tackles sports and faith from another angle, whether it’s humorous, personal or controversial. Follow him on Twitter-@steve_copeland or email him at stephen.copeland@sportsspectrum.com. 

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