“Katie Taylor is a female boxer, which is rare enough, but she is also a born again Christian and unafraid to talk about her faith. Among young Irish people that makes her even rarer than a female boxer.”
The above quote was found within an article on www.irishcentral.com/opinion/others/when-irishwoman-katie-taylor-goes-for-olympic-gold-i-wont-be-watching-152528205-238132771.html and although I did not necessarily agree with what the author had to say overall I couldn’t help but be drawn to these particular words. It sums up exactly why I believe Katie Taylor can be viewed as a Religious Educator within the public square for two reasons. Firstly, she has strength (female boxer, strong faith) which many Irish young people lack in their faith today. Secondly, she is unafraid (female boxer, public expression of faith) which is in deep contrast to many Irish young people who would rather you asked them to show you the colour of their underwear than their religious orientation.
*She was first coached in boxing by her father at age 12.
*She has won four gold medals at the World Amateur Championships and five gold medals at the European Amateur Championships.
*She was a gold medal winner at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.
It is God that equipped me with strength and made my way perfect.He made my feet like the feet of a deer and set me secure on the heights. He trains my hands for war, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze. You have given me the shield of your salvation, and your right hand supported me, and your gentleness made me great. Psalm 18
May the Lord answer you when you are in distress; May the name of the God of Jacob protect you. May he send you help from the sanctuary And grant you support from Zion. May he remember all your sacrifices And accept your burnt offerings. May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed. May we shout for joy over your victory And lift up our banners in the name of our God.Psalm 20
After her semi-final win at the Olympics London 2012 Katie said the following:
*She teaches young people that their faith can be a source of guidance, inspiration and motivation.
According to leading sports psychologist Dr. Olivia Hurley:
“When she talks about God and the angels being in the ring with her, she really means it. She is empowered by her beliefs. And when she speaks of how people’s prayers have helped her; there’s no doubt in my mind that she derives huge support from that. Some sports people look up to other figures in sport for inspiration or read motivational books like Lance Armstrong’s (It’s Not About The Bike: My Journey Back to Life) to help them compete and Katie does much the same, except her icon is God and her motivational reading is the Bible.“
I believe young people in Ireland should not be afraid or ashamed to feel the same empowerment from their faith as Katie Taylor and to utilise it in their everyday lives. 🙂