Monday night, Alabama and Georgia faced off in the College Football National Championship game. While much attention was obviously played to the athletes and coaches on the field, you may have also seen Maria Taylor, as ESPN analyst and sideline reporter who recently opened up about her faith, reporting throughout the game.
As Sports Spectrum reported, Taylor, a Georgia native, graduated the University of Georgia with a broadcast degree in 2009 and later returned to complete her master’s in business administration in 2013. During her undergraduate years, she played volleyball and basketball. It was during that time that she also developed her relationship with Christ.
“I didn’t grow up as per se in the church when you think every single Sunday you wake up and go to church,” Taylor said on the Chris Craft podcast. “We would go on Easter and maybe Christmas or Christmas Eve. I didn’t even understand the true meaning of Christmas or what we were celebrating.”
Through her roommate and teammates, Taylor began to attend Bible studies and started to recognize and appreciate the sense of peace and community that came from sharing her faith with others.
“I enjoyed being there and seeing what these people seemingly had. Everyone seemed nice,” she explained. “From that I started going to our Bible studies with a group of student athletes. It was all women. It was a very comfortable setting, you could be very open and honest. And finally we started having real discussions and that’s how I was kind of introduced to what having a relationship with Christ looked like.”
Taylor started working for ESPN in 2013, and she now has a regular role on the network’s College Gameday program, in addition to doing sideline work during college football and basketball games. Recognizing the lack of diversity and monitorship in the sports industry, Taylor teamed with her colleague Corinne Milien to create The Winning Edge Leadership Academy, which is devoted to “developing the professional potential of young women and minorities in sports business.”
She told Craft that while it took time to understand the role of God in her life and how she could best use her gifts and talents to serve Christ, she now takes comfort in knowing that she can rely on her faith in good times and bad.
“It’s about knowing that God is worthy and He wants a relationship with us. It was a long and tedious journey and figuring out that I’m not the athleticism. I’m not any of the skills I have. I am who God is in me. And that’s it. That has helped me a lot,” she concluded. “It’s nice having that backbone of a relationship with Christ to fall back on during those times where I feel inadequate. You just have to remember that you are more than adequate.”
(H/T: Sports Spectrum)