REGINA — Saskatchewan Roughrider defensive end John Chick is best known for his prowess on the football field, but as he told the people attending the annual Archdiocesan Appeal kick-off, it’s his faith that defines and guides him.
“Everything I have in life is because of him.”
Chick was born and raised in Gillette, a city of about 32,000 in the centre of Wyoming. He excelled at sports in high school and Utah State College, which led him to the pros. He signed with the Riders in 2006 but left in 2010 for teams in the NFL before returning to the Green and White in 2013.
Along the way he was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. It was one of what he said are the three pillars of his life. “Overcoming diabetes has made me stronger in other areas of my life.” The other two, he said, are biblical verses: Matthew 6:25-27, 34 and Jeremiah 29-11. The Matthew verses talk of God feeding the birds while verse 34 says not to be anxious about tomorrow. Jeremiah gives words of peace, end and patience.
“They carried me my whole life,” said Chick.
He and his wife have seven children, with the eighth due in December. “I have four Canadians now,” he joked.
His faith, he says, won him his wife. They met in college. As a Catholic he was surrounded by the Mormon faith, including his wife. He was impressed how well Mormons practiced their faith and it made him passionate about living his “the way they are.” He convinced his future wife to attend church with him and four years later, in his senior year, she was baptized and confirmed at Easter and they were subsequently married.
He described his move to Saskatchewan, of which he knew nothing, “as such a God thing.” When he first crossed the border he said he wondered what he was getting into.
“There was nothing. It was wide open.”
They grew to enjoy life here and said they were trying to make it their permanent home, “but there are a few things we have to arrange.”
Of course he talked about football, starting with the Kent Austin Riders and the 2007 Grey Cup. “No one expected us to even reach the playoffs, but Austin taught us to believe and we won the Grey Cup.” As of this writing, the team is 1-11, but he says neither he nor his team members have given up. “When you’re not winning you learn what kind of a person you are.
“Everywhere we have gone, our Catholic faith has been awesome.”
The family attends Resurrection Parish.