The long-time chaplain with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers is sharing how he prays before a game.
Thursday was the first time in over 600 days that Chaplain Lorne Korol with Athletes in Action held a Winnipeg Blue Bomber game-day chapel. With a Grey Cup Championship banket proudly displayed behind him over Zoom, Koral is excited to pray with his players again.
"It was so exciting. It was like, for me as a chaplain, it's like Christmas," Korol says. "Game day is the most exciting day for athletes, coaches, support staff like myself, so it really was an honour and a blessing to be able to do a chapel like this for them this morning."
Players have also been joining Korol for Bible study meetings as the season begins.
"They've had to pivot, and then pivot, and then pivot again," Korol says. "It is exciting that we finally get to play."
At each Winnipeg Blue Bomber game, dozens of players join in for prayer before, during, and after the game. This time, the team's chaplain will be joining them from afar. Korol and his wife Heather will be cheering in the stands, letting chapel leaders Jackson Jeffcoat, Kyrie Wilson, and Brandon Alexander lead the prayers at this year's home opener.
Can't wait to play some ball baby! https://t.co/UJZD3LHEmW— Jackson Jeffcoat (@elJEFEcoat44) August 4, 2021
"We will have between 30 and 40 guys come together for a pre-game prayer and Jackson will lead that. And Jackson will also lead prayer at the 50 after the game, which is where players come together after the game," Korol says. "It's a very powerful prayer where both teams can drop everything that they were doing but yet come together to honour and glorify God."
The chaplain has faith in these men as they take on this important leadership role Thursday. When the two teams combine, Korol is sometimes surprised at the switch from players banging and crashing into each other, to being a servant of God.
"One game, in particular, there was almost a fight indent in the game. It was so aggressive at the end of the game and I thought there's no way there's going to be a postgame prayer. But sure enough, the guys separated and the guys that wanted to pray we had a good chunk of guys still came together and they all held hands at centre field, took a knee, and we prayed."
The Chaplain says when a former Bomber coach, Glen Young, was in the NFL, his wife and a friend were watching him pray after the game. That moment inspired Young's friends to give their life to the Lord, reiterating the importance of prayer for the chaplain.
"We just don't know what people are watching. Someone maybe just needs that nudge to say 'oh wow. They really are praying for God."
While Koral does not pray for a win, he does pray for many things.
"I always pray for spirited competition, I pray for safety, I pray for hedge protection from the enemy, I pray that our light will shine bright so that people will see something different. I pray that we leave it on the field for an audience of one, for God."