(DOUG JESSOP, ABC4 NEWS – SALT LAKE CITY) To say that 2020 has been a different year is the understatement of the century. The COVID pandemic has changed the way that people work, play, and interact.
One of the things that changed dramatically this year was professional sports. The NBA ended up playing in a “bubble” atmosphere. My guest on this episode of Jessop’s Journal has a unique insight into life inside the NBA. Pastor Corey J. Hodges is the Chaplain for the Utah Jazz.
What exactly is a Chaplain? This is what the website Wikipedia says:
A chaplain is, traditionally, a cleric (such as a minister, priest, pastor, rabbi, purohit, or imam), or a lay representative of a religious tradition, attached to a secular institution such as a hospital, prison, military unit, intelligence agency, embassy, school, labor union, business, police department, fire department, university, sports club, or private chapel.
Corey kept it pretty simple and told me that to him a chaplain is a non-denominational religious purpose that helps people along their spiritual journey.
How does 2020 look to NBA players compared to previous years? You have to realize that in respect for the players and their person life he couldn’t talk about specific players, but we talked in general terms. It wasn’t surprising to hear that the biggest concern that NBA players had were feelings of being alone and away from family. In a nutshell, being isolated.
What is a spiritual journey for you? Obviously, everyone is different. Corey was very open about an experience that he had as a young man that has shaped the rest of his life and his desire to be a pastor. Come to find out that spirituality runs in the family for Corey. His father was a pastor as well.
It seems like a lot of people have people along the way that serves as mentors. I like to call these “people that believed in you before you believed in you.” Corey was no exception. We got reflective as he told me about two gentleman that helped encourage him and provide an example.
Talking about example, Corey shares an interesting similarity to the NBA folks we work with. No, I’m pretty sure Corey is not going to doing a slam dunk on any of the Utah Jazz players. But here’s something you may not have thought about, both groups of men live in what could be called “a fishbowl.” Imagine going out with your spouse to some event. Chances are that you are pretty much left alone. If you’re an NBA player or even, yes, a pastor… not so much. People are watching you.
COVID has changed more than where the NBA plays. It has also impacted church services across the country. Who would have thought that people would start attending church in their pajamas? Of course, what I am talking about is “virtual church meetings.” Corey’s congregation in West Valley, Utah is called “The Point Church”. He told me that it was a multicultural community with members from over 30 nations. In person meetings are being held again, but you need to make a reservation. I jokingly asked if the reservation came with an appetizer. Apparently, the reason for reservations is to accommodation social distancing and in the event that there is any COVID issues, contact tracing.
I’m not going to give away everything we talked about in this extended interview, but I will tell you that I asked what he called “one of the big five questions”, “Why do bad things happen to good people.” Please watch the interview for what he had to say.
I strongly feel that “stories have power”. Chances are that if you are going through something, that someone else probably has as well. The shared experiences we humans have can help each other. That my friend makes the point that stories “help us understand each other.”
You don’t have to agree with everyone, but in my opinion, if people would take more time getting to knowing more about others and where they are coming from, we just might find out that we have more similarities than differences.
Jessop’s Journal is something special when it comes to broadcast news. I have the honor of being able to do longer in-depth interviews that you don’t normally see with people from all walks of life.
A big shout out goes to my collaborator, Ed Wilets, who does a great job as my videographer/editor for all my stories. I invite you to watch each episode of Jessop’s Journal at www.ABC4.com/Journal and share these stories with your friends and neighbors. Your feedback is always welcome at DJessop@abc4.com.