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  1. There are over 8.2 million practicing evangelical Jehovah's Witnesses worldwide. Many famous athletes are Jehovah's Witnesses. Several famous boxers, NBA players, and baseball stars follow the teachings of the Jehovah's Witness faith. Some of these athletes were raised in the faith, while others converted later in life. Two of the best female tennis players of all time are Jehovah's Witnesses. Who is the most famous athlete who is a Jehovah's Witness? Serena Williams tops our list. She and her sister Venus were raised as Jehovah's Witnesses and still practice today. Serena says, “I've been studying to be a Jehovah's Witness, so I go to Kingdom Hall. I grew up a Witness and it's what I know, and we teach things that come from the Bible." Danny Granger was raised in a Jehovah's Witness household. It is unclear if he still practices the faith today. On Dave Pear's blog he states, "I am one of Jehovah’s Witnesses and an advocate for justice!" Chet Lemon is a Jehovah's Witness. He almost died from a blood disorder in 1991, when he decided against surgery because his religion prohibits him from receiving a blood transfusion. Kid Gavilán became a Jehovah's Witness in the late-1960s. Do you think that being Jehovah's Witnesses helps these athletes to succeed in their professional careers? Share your thoughts in the comments section. Serena Williams was raised a Jehovah's Witness and still practices today. Venus Williams was raised a Jehovah's Witness and still practices the religion. Danny Granger was raised in a Jehovah's Witness household. It is unclear if he still practices the faith today. Baseball player was an active Jehovah's Witness and put the religion above his MLB career. Willie Wise was considering becoming a Jehovah's Witness minister before getting drafted to the NBA. On Dave Pear's blog it states, "I am one of Jehovah’s Witnesses and an advocate for justice!" Travis Scott was raised as a Jehovah's Witness. Chet Lemon is a Jehovah's Witness. He almost died from a blood disorder in 1991, when he decided against surgery because his religion prohibits him from receiving a blood transfusion. Dave Meyers is a Jehovah's Witness. He retired from basketball in 1980 to spend more time with his family and practice his faith Kid Gavilán became a Jehovah's Witness in the late-1960s. Mark McCumber is a devout Jehovah's Witness. He says, "It's a very misunderstood religion." 11 Athletes Who Are Jehovah's Witnesses 27 Famous Jehovah's Witnesses
  2. She left it all behind —a normal college life, her teammates, a skyrocketing volleyball career that would have gave her a crack at the national. All to become one of the Jehovah’s witnesses. Cebuana volleybelle Frances Karen Derder had everything going her way as she made it into the lineup of perennial UAAP champions Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) Lady Eagles in 2014. But her stint with the Lady Eagles was cut short since, according to her, Ateneo coach Tai Bundit did not allow her to continue her religious service, a move which left some of the Lady Eagles faithfuls clueless to this day. “I transferred to Ateneo but I went back to Cebu in the second semester because Coach Tai was strict. He did not allow me to attend our meeting or worship. They all say the reason I went home was because I was homesick, but it is not,” she said. The 19-year-old Derder returned to Cebu and went on to help the Southwestern University (SWU) Cobras win the 2015 Cesafi title while being recognized as the league’s best server. But little did anyone know that title-clinching game two years ago against the University of San Jose-Recoletos was going to be her last stint in the sport that she really loved. Although there are days wherein she’d like to play volleyball, the Minglanilla, Cebu-native has learned in the past few years that she can’t serve two masters at a time, quoting the renowned scripture from the bible known as the Matthew 6:24 which reads: “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else, he will hold to the one, and despise the other.” “To tell you honestly, I was really sad when I stopped playing because volleyball was my passion since elementary but when I learned the truth, I sacrificed my own interest to have a good relationship with Jehovah.” Regardless of the fact that her love for the sport is still in her heart, Derder said she has closed the doors on a return to volleyball, saying she has already found true happiness by preaching the word of God. Derder may have lost her chance on volleyball fame and glory. But in exchange, she received even more, something that people spend their whole life finding: the meaning of true happiness. source
  3. February 1, 2017 On Saturday, January 27, there was no maddening rush at the White House to reach Serena Williams, like in 1999, when she won the first of her 23 Grand Slam titles in Flushing Meadows. Or as it was when she won her third Wimbledon, a few months into Barack Obama’s first term. The din of Serena’s feat, now officially the most decorated player in the Open era, died out in the bustle of America’s latest, and loudest, president’s “extreme vetting” immigration diktat. Yet, the symbolism of Serena’s triumph couldn’t be more relevant. At a time when “America First” rings louder than ever, the greatest of its sporting icons, across genders, is an African-American woman, a Jehovah’s Witness from the wrong side of Los Angeles, where she had lost her eldest sister in a gang shootout, and the daughter of a father who was shooed off a tennis court by affluent whites. Even after she broke into the circuit, Williams has had to confront racism and racist stereotypes — from officials, commentators and even her adversaries. While it’s overreaching to imagine that her storied success would trigger a revolution in race relations in the US, it’s fair to assume that America’s greatest sporting specimen of the 21st century is an antithesis to its president’s vision for his country. She may not allay the sudden cynicism or the morbid fear of the discriminated and marginalised in the US — sport as a cure to societal dysfunction is grossly hyperbolic — but she stands as an indelible symbol of hope, or an escape. In a metaphorical way, with the mighty swings of her racquet, she’s penning as scathing a verse as Maya Angelou. It won’t seem out of place, if Serena were to recite Angelou’s Still I Rise (in fact, there’s Serena’s rendition of the poem on YouTube). Concurrently, any interpretation of Serena’s greatness shouldn’t be constricted to her context. These are mere embellishments in her grand narrative. Serena, as a player in isolation, is a worthy premise for weaving enough eulogies. Maybe she is not celebrated as much outside her country because her feats have come to a stage where her winning spree is taken for granted. Such has been the nature of her hegemony that often the rare opponent who beats her ends up being more glorified, ranging from one-season wonders like Samantha Stosur, to more recent peers like Angelique Kerber. There hasn’t been much of a rivalry to speak of, expect the brief but fiery rancour with Maria Sharapova or the more passionless exchanges with her sister Venus. Or, as some would say, there were no two equally gifted players playing at the same time. Earlier, it was a case of several similarly endowed players, outstripped by a force superior in craft, more athletic in build, more ruthless in execution of plans. Think of Sharapova, Justine Henin-Hardenne, Kim Clijsters, Dinara Safina or Amelie Mauresmo — the draw was far more competitive. And Serena, despite hitting the wrong side of her 30s, isn’t showing signs of fatigue or adieu. Or as some would nitpick, her game is graceless (sometimes with racist undertones). But there is a brutal beauty to her game — those booming serves and guillotine groundstrokes are a vindication — like in boxing. There’s a powerful symmetry to her movements. Then there is the spontaneous thrill of her athleticism. To put it simply, there has been no better player than Serena in the 21st century, or arguably ever in the history of tennis. That she happens to be the greatest American sporting icon in the Trump era is a mere coincidence, or perhaps, a bit of satire by the fates. source
  4. Alex Rance has begun to confide thoughts of retirement to teammates. Photo: Getty Images Jehovah's Witnesses do play professional sport, but body contact and ruthless competitiveness are questionable, according to a senior elder. Alex Rance's devotion to the Jehovah's Witness faith has been cited as a reason – though not the only one – why the Richmond defender is considering his football future at the age of just 25. The Age on Wednesday reported that while he is considered unlikely to walk away from the game, he was feeling drawn to a different life. There was no indication he wanted to take up religious service full-time. Graeme Martin, a senior elder at Jehovah's Witnesses headquarters in Australia, said it was up to the individual to consider how their sport fitted in with what they read in the bible. He said the organisation was not against all competition, but it discouraged competition that stirred up negative feelings such as vanity, greed and violence. "The competitiveness, win-at-all-costs no matter what the consequence for other players is questionable, but we don't dictate what a person chooses to do," Martin said. There was no clear line on whether a sport was too violent or competitive, he said, so it was impossible to say whether AFL was acceptable. "We're not going to make these arbitrary rules," Martin said. "[When] adults are making career choices, it's really up to them." There are examples of practising Jehovah's Witnesses making a huge impression in the world of sport. Tennis champions Serena and Venus Williams were raised Jehovah's Witnesses and remain active in the faith – their mother Oracene converted in 1984, just as her daughters began to play. The pair had even been spreading the word since they became famous, according to sister Isha, in a New York Times story in 2012. In Billy Bragg's God's Footballer, the folk singer told the true story of promising British soccer player Peter Knowles, who in 1969 gave away the game to devote his time to his Jehovah's Witness faith. Martin said the priorities of promising Jehovah's Witness sportspeople sometimes changed as their faith deepened, and that prompted them to take a different path. Many adherents to the faith, particularly single people or couples without children, devoted themselves to missionary service full-time, then pursued part-time paid work to make ends meet. "A lot are fully leading towards a sporting or professional career, then they study the bible and it changes their viewpoint on what the future holds," he said. The type of person who had been previously fully committed to one thing – the sport of their choice – was unlikely to then pursue religious service in a piecemeal way. A number of Australians have stepped back from professional sport in recent years in favour of religious service. Will Hopoate took two years out from his promising rugby league career to complete a mission for the Mormon faith, returning to join the Parramatta Eels last year. Fellow NRL player Lagi Setu spent his two-year Mormon mission in England, and now plays for the Sydney Roosters. Richmond half-back Bachar Houli, a practising Muslim, makes some small adjustments to make sure he can fulfil his religious duties. He alters his work-out program slightly during Ramadan, training with the team for the main session then squeezing the extra sessions into a shorter timeframe, forgoing a break. Houli says his form sometimes improved during the holy month. Alex Rance Alex Rance Wikipedia As Australian Rules star defender Alex Rance ponders his sporting future, David Saunders looks at why some elite athletes walk away from professional sport in their prime. Worilds gives up football for faith Jason Worilds Wikipedia

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