Athletes in Action: Bohl leads on and off field

by Tomi Thompson

thompsonto@mnstate.edu

When looking for leadership on the field, the Dragon football team turns to co-captain Aaron Bohl.

On Tuesday nights, student athletes turn to Bohl for a different kind of guidance.

Bohl is one of the leaders of Athletes in Action, a Christian organization which gathers during the week to discuss their beliefs.

“It’s nice to see other athletes believe the same thing you do and you’re not just on an island by yourself in this world,” said Bohl.

Bohl said growing up in a Christian home and his mom’s faith were both big influences in his life.

In high school, Bohl participated in  the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. He said the group’s leader tied biblical lessons into real-life situations, which sparked interest in further exploration of his own beliefs.

When he got to MSUM, Bohl was disappointed to see there was no existing prayer group or bible study for student athletes.

“I was kind of bummed about that,” he said.

While home for winter break, Bohl said he prayed that an opportunity for his faith and sport to come together.

On his second day back at MSUM for the spring semester, he was approached by his former teammate Logan Romines, who was looking to start Athletes in Action.

Bohl was eager to be a part of it.

“I jumped on it right away,” he said.

Bohl says his faith allows him to have a different approach to life and sports.

“I have a different mindset than a lot of people,” said Bohl. “Some people’s only motivation is to win. I don’t have too much talent, but God gave this opportunity to use my sport to glorify him and to bring people to him.”

Bohl says even with some of the struggles he and his team have faced this season, he’s been able to turn to the Bible to find motivation to push through difficulties.

The difficult start to the Dragon’s season led Bohl to question his leadership abilities.

“I didn’t know if I was going to be able to go out there and be a good Christian leader,” he said.

To help revive his faith, Bohl looked to a bible verse his mother would share with him, 2 Corinthians 4:8-9: “We’re perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forgotten; struck down, but not destroyed.”

Bohl said the verse gave him strength.

“I still have a great opportunity here to show Jesus and Jesus’ love through tough times in our sport,” Bohl said.

Dragon football player Cory Ambrose says Bohl’s trustworthy and generous personality is why people are drawn to him as a leader.

“He’s a very trustworthy friend, he’s a very trustworthy teammate, he’s a very trustworthy leader,” said Ambros. “You can always just rely on him whenever you need anything. You can always trust him to fulfill what he says he will do.”

He said that Bohl has also been a spiritual guide in his own life.

“Coming into college, my faith life faded away a little bit, and he helped me get back on track with that,” Ambrose said. “You can often times see him discipling other people and helping other people fill their true potential.”

For Bohl, Athletes in Action helps him live the way he believes Jesus calls him to live, and bring his passion for sports and faith together.

“My relationship with God and my relationship with the guys on the team are the most important things in my life,” said Bohl.

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