In the summer of 2005, I had an internship working with youth program at a church in Dublin, Ohio. Yesterday was the last Sunday service for that church’s pastor and associate pastor – two men for whom I have much respect. And naturally, I wanted to attend their last Sunday at the church and show my support as they both move on to new positions.
Now it is a Methodist church. One of the first things that happened in the service was that the pastor baptized a baby. Theologically, I’m not a proponent of baptizing infants. There are certainly a lot of people and a lot of denominations who would disagree with that stance, but that’s just what I believe. I don’t think that it has any negative spiritual consequences; however I think that the point of baptism is more geared towards people who already have faith, and not towards babies who are incapable of having faith (unless that baby is John the Baptist).
And so I sent a text message to a friend of mine poking fun at the fact that this church was baptizing an infant that morning. I was jokingly referring to the practice as something cultish and went as far as to speculate as to whether or not some sort of voodoo dance would be happening next.
So the church service continues, it was a great message. Afterwards, I was standing outside of the sanctuary trying to look around for familiar faces. I happen to notice a man wearing a beige, pinstriped suit. I also couldn’t help but notice his unorthodox hairstyle. Thought to myself, “Hopefully he doesn’t have a run in with the fashion police today. He’ll be doing hard time.”
I continued to look around the room, and see some changes that had happened to the church since the last time I had attended. Then I see the man in the beige suit again, and I see his face, look at him for a second, and a thought entered my mind.
“I’m pretty sure that is former Ohio State football star AJ Hawk.”
So I went on to do the logical thing, and as indiscreetly as I could, I held up my phone and nonchalantly snapped a picture. Looked down at the picture – fearful that when I looked back up I was going to have AJ Hawk sprinting towards me – and I was still unsure.
But I thought, “If that is AJ Hawk, I would assume his wife would be with him.” He is in a pretty high profile marriage. Hawk is married to the sister of former Notre Dame and Cleveland Browns quarterback Brady Quinn. Famously, in the 2006 Fiesta Bowl when Ohio State played Notre Dame, the camera constantly showed Laura Quinn (now Laura Hawk) in her half Ohio State half Notre Dame football jersey.
Then I saw a woman who looked like Laura Quinn Hawk. Considering that the Quinn family is from Dublin, it seemed possible that they could be in attendance at this church. While I was still processing this in my mind as to whether or not they were the Hawks, whom do I see walk out of the sanctuary? Brady Quinn.
I could not believe it.
And then they left the church as I hurried to text one of my college fraternity brothers that I had just seen AJ Hawk and Brady Quinn.
So I eventually make my way over to the younger son of the pastor of the church: a guy who is a couple of years younger than I am, and who had been in the youth group when I worked at this church. I ask him, “Were AJ Hawk and Brady Quinn at church today?”
He says, “Yeah. Hawk has a baby and my dad baptized her this morning.”
I thought, “THAT WAS AJ HAWK’S KID WHO WAS BAPTIZED?!”
I could not believe it.
Not only did I see AJ Hawk’s kid get baptized, I was making fun of the practice of baptizing children while I was watching AJ Hawk’s kid get baptized.
Needless to say, if AJ Hawk ever happens to read this: he has a lovely family, and I think that it’s great that they value such a significant spiritual activity in the lives of their children.
Also, later that afternoon, the fraternity brother who I had texted when I saw Hawk and Quinn texted me back that a friend of his who works at a local golf course had just texted him that the two football players were both getting ready to tee off.