Former NFL quarterback Brodie Croyle, who played primarily for the Kansas City Chiefs, understands the benefits of growing up in a Christian school and being raised with Christian values, and he’s not afraid to talk about it.
“I’ve seen these values unfold in my life,” the former University of Alabama football star said to a large crowd last month during an open house at Marshall Christian Academy in Alabama.
Croyle also talked about the importance of Christian standards and Christian education in a world where both have eroded.
“Our country no longer has standards, and has widened the plate to accommodate a lot of things to make us more comfortable,” Croyle said, using the analogy of the standard width of a home plate in baseball. “When it comes to school, think about who spends the most time with your children. It is the teachers and coaches, and those interactions happen at school.
“We have to shift the standard if we want to see the world as God intended it to be.”
Brodie grew up on Big Oak Ranch, a home for abandoned, neglected and abused children founded by his father in 1974. His father, former Alabama star linebacker John Croyle, decided to forgo a career in the NFL to create the ranch just 20 minutes east of Birmingham.
Then, in 1990, the elder Croyle purchased Westbrook Christian School for $1 when it was on the verge of bankruptcy. At that point, the school had 167 students. Today the school has over 600 students and is breaking ground on a new athletic facility. Brodie Croyle is now the president and CEO of Big Oak Inc., which handles the operations for the school and ranch.
The Croyle family has personally impacted many hundreds of children over the years at the ranch, which currently houses 182 children ages 5 to 18 between the boys’ and girls’ homes.
“We show them what God intends a family to look like,” Croyle explained in his speech at Marshall. “Our kids come from pretty bad situations. We stick with them until they are grown. We are a stepping stone for them.”
In a promotional video for the ranch, Croyle explains what gives him his sense of purpose:
Undoubtedly, Croyle’s upbringing and Christian education set the stage for a life of impact. For him, these statements aren’t just platitudes. He’s living them every day.
“What I want my legacy to be,” Croyle told Sports Illustrated in an interview, “is when I stand before my Creator and when I stand before God almighty, and He looks at me and I say ‘I did as much as I could with what I’ve been given,’ for Him to look at me and say ‘Yes you did. Welcome.’
“That’s the legacy that I’m searching for. That is what we wake up every single day for. That’s why we go as hard as we go.”