Every week, Bryce Johnson is joined on SPORTS YAPP by inspiring guests to discuss sports, faith and life. Listen to the full audio of all his interviews on sportsyapp.com. Below are some highlights from Bryce’s interview with Chris Maragos, who is a safety for the Seattle Seahawks. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin. Listen to the interview here.
BRYCE JOHNSON: How do you like living out in Seattle?
CHRIS MARAGOS: It’s cool, it’s an interesting city. I think it’s one of those places especially in the country that kind of gets lost in the mix just because if you think about somewhere you’re gonna go visit, you think of New York or go down to Florida or maybe Southern California or San Francisco or some of those other cities that might be more appealing. But I think everybody forgets about Seattle because it kind of gets lost in it all, but Seattle is absolutely beautiful especially if you like God’s creation and you’re very into beautiful, natural things. Seattle is unbelievable…you’re surrounded by mountain ranges. There are these huge (mountains)—Mt. Rainer, Mt. St. Helen’s is there. There are so many cool things to see. There’s beautiful waterfalls all around. It’s just a really beautiful city.
BRYCE JOHNSON: How did you end up switching positions when you transferred from Western Michigan to Wisconsin? (This switch ended up leading to Chris playing safety in the NFL.)
CHRIS MARAGOS: Every day because I was on the team, but I was ineligible (when) I was on the scout team so I was playing wide receiver going against our defense every day. Well, the coaches on the defense began to notice my work ethic and my aggressiveness and my ability to play hard, and they started to see some things. Coach Bielema (head coach) is kind of a defensive minded coach and he kind of liked what he saw and he said, ‘Hey, listen, after the season is over, we really liked what you were doing and we really think you could be a good safety.’ At that point, I was just happy to be on the team and put a helmet on with a ‘W’ on it. I was just proud to do that. So I said, ‘All right, you guys have been doing this for a long time, and you guys can judge talent. So, if you think I can do it, then I’ll do it.’ So my junior year of college, I switched to defense and then ended up starting about halfway through my junior year; and then my senior year I earned a scholarship, my teammates voted me team captain, and (we) went on to have a really good year with the team. It was just a really cool story to see how the Lord just kind of opened up doors and just how you could see his plan unfold despite how bleak it looked.
BRYCE JOHNSON: You went to Wisconsin with your older brother who was actually the mascot. What was that like?
CHRIS MARAGOS: It’s really kind of funny because I always tell people I can’t tell what everybody is more excited about: me playing football for the Badgers or him being the mascot for the university. It’s kind of a rigorous process to actually make the mascot; there’s hundreds and hundreds of people that try out, and they have a week-long tryout for the mascot, and they pick the people from that.
BRYCE JOHNSON: Wow, that’s crazy. I bet that was fun going to the same college as him. What type of impact did your brother have on your life?
CHRIS MARAGOS: My brother is really just an awesome guy. Growing up, he was a guy you always look up to, but it was really cool when the Lord got a hold of me in high school and then when the Lord got a hold of my brother his freshman year of college. It was just so cool to have someone that was older than me as a sibling to look up to in my faith as well. He’s just been somebody that’s been a humongous encouragement to me and to see the way that he walks his life—and it’s just real important to have and surround yourself with the right people that can sharpen you and pick you up when you’re down. I can remember transferring colleges and just being so confused and not knowing what’s gonna go on and all the uncertainty and just to have someone there praying for you and always calling you or texting you a bible verse, whatever it might be, it was extremely huge…He’s actually a pastor now at a church in Chicago. He does their college-age ministry, and so it’s really cool to see, and it’s just awesome to look up to him to see him doing full-time ministry now and just really being used by the Lord. It’s been a big time blessing and encouragement to me in my life, for sure.
This column was published in the July 2012 Sports Spectrum DigiMag. Print and digital subscribers, log in and view the issue here. Every week Bryce Johnson is joined on Sports Spectrum’s official podcast, SPORTS YAPP, by inspiring guests to discuss sports, faith and life. Follow Bryce on Twitter-@sportsyapp.