Matt Myers - That’s how He brought me to Himself

Matt Myers

Sport: Men's Basketball
Position: Guard
Year:Second
Height:6-2

"I'm nothing special," Spartan Guard Matt Myers says as he sits down across the table from me on a rainy Wednesday morning. But no matter how many times he speaks of his normality, as his story spills out you can't help but think that Matt's journey has been anything but ordinary.

"My dad started putting the ball in my hands since I can remember," recalls Matt. "The house I grew up in had a huge drive way and a wood basketball hoop. My parents say that when I was little I used to shoot for hours and hours. Even in the snow I remember shoveling the driveway to shoot hoops."

Through the snow, rain, wind and sun, Matt would play basketball out on the driveway and for the YMCA team that his dad coached. "The YMCA team was fun, it was a good introduction to the game," Matt says. "But it wasn't until sixth grade when I played for this club team called the Hoop Stars that I got serious about playing basketball."

While most sixth graders are hardly serious about anything, Matt put his nose to the grindstone and for the next two years dedicated himself to becoming a strong enough player to make his town's AAAA high school's state championship basketball team. With his eyes set on his goal Matt pressed forward. "I was focused on that AAAA school's team," he says. "I thought I would go there and play ball - it was all that I really wanted to do."

But things rarely turn out the way we think they will. An unexpected invitation to checkout the local Christian school, Northwest Christian High School, put a dent in all of Matt's plans. With 120 students total and weak athletic programs, the school seemed an unlikely and relatively unattractive choice for an aspiring basketball player but Matt could not shake the feeling that this was where he belonged. "Looking back, it is obvious that the Lord directed me there," Matt says. "At one point during the day that I looked around the school I just knew and when I told my parents they were blown away. So instead of following my dream to go and play at a huge state powerhouse, I went to this tiny school where the program was next to nothing."

It was Matt's experience at Northwest that changed life as he knew it. While he made the varsity team all four years he attended and started for three, the basketball was more importantly a medium through which God took a hold of Matt's life. "Basketball kept dropping on my list of priorities, as did the idea of college," he remembers. "And what went up into its place was getting to know God and falling more in love with Him. I started asking what He wanted for my life instead of me and my plans. I wasn't at school anymore just to play basketball, not I was there because I wanted to know everyone at my little school and I wanted to love on each of them just like Christ did."

Matt had stopped considering college as an option until the day his dad put him in touch with the coach of Reach Higher, an elite summer team based out of Washington with a coach who was passionately pursuing God. "That coach was creating something that no one else was," says Matt with a smile. "He was building life long relationships, was loving them, and sharing Christ with them. I wanted to be on that team and to play for him more than anything else and he made me try out every other day for five or six weeks and then one day he called me up and told me to pack my bags because I was going on tour with them."

That summer opened Matt's eyes to the open doors that stood in front of him and as he entered into his final year of high school. "That summer it became more than basketball," he says. "I began to see that basketball is a tool - a gift from God. The thing I walked away with from that summer of basketball is that I want to make a difference in people's lives and love them like they've never been loved."

As Matt transitioned into life as a Spartan last year his mindset stayed the same. "I want my relationships to be so deep and so strong and my friendships to matter so much that it hurts when you leave," he says. "That's what I'm trying to do here. It's what matters to me more than anything else - sharing God's love through experience and relationships."

While Matt continues to make an impact on those around him, he also leaves a mark on those he plays against. In his rookie season Matt notched an impressive 58 three point shots. This season has introduced himself to the record books with five three-point field goals in games against Victoria and Winnipeg this year (the record is nine), and is tied for the highest number of steals in a single game with seven in a game against Regina.

Head Coach Scott Allen is quick to acknowledge the strength of Matt's character and how his commitment to relationships benefits the team. "Matt is a very caring individual who put his teammates and friends first," says Allen. "Understanding that ‘all we send into the lives of others, comes back into our own' is Matt in the person. He is eager to develop his whole life spiritually, physically, and mentally and it is inspiring to see someone look beyond themselves to focus on the well-being of the team."

As Matt makes waves in the basketball world he feels at peace with his own life however unexpected it has been. "I don't know if any of this would have happened if I hadn't gone to Northwest," says Matt. "It's absurd that I made that choice because it really wasn't an option for me at all. I look at that as a miracle in my life because that's how God brought me to Himself."

 

Last Updated: 2009-01-09
Author: Scott Stewart