The zeal many Alabama Baptists possess for college football can sometimes seem to rival their love for church. Del Duduit, author and sportswriter, has found a way to combine those two passions through his latest devotionals.
Recent releases “Auburn Believer” and “Bama Believer” integrate the love of the history of Alabama and Auburn football with Bible-based life lessons. Each book contains 40 days of devotions. Each one targets a specific game and Scripture, summarizes that game, applies a life lesson and advises specific action steps.
Duduit studied sports business in college. While he didn’t actively seek it out, he landed a sportswriter job for a local newspaper right out of college and discovered he loved it.
After a few years, he moved into general news writing and even dabbled in radio work.
Those jobs in local media outlets didn’t pay the bills as he started a family, however, so he moved into a sales job outside of media that provided what they needed.
‘Still missed writing’
“So, I took that. Even though I was fortunate and blessed to have a good income, I still missed writing. I dabbled with it here and there, with some magazines but didn’t do a whole lot with it,” Duduit said.
Five years ago, everything changed. A family tragedy prompted Duduit’s wife to encourage him to develop a website and write about it.
“I started to write about what happened, and it started to get bigger and bigger,” he said. “Before I knew it, this manuscript was developed but I really didn’t know what to do with it.”
Taking the advice of a friend with a similar background, Duduit went to some Christian writing conferences. “Five years ago, I hadn’t even thought of writing a book — it was never on my radar — and five years later I’m looking at eight books that I have published.”
Life lessons in sports
Writing sports-based devotional books was not in Duduit’s plan. He was at dinner with his agent at one of those conferences, and Duduit spoke about his former job as a sports writer.
They discussed an idea — a series of devotional books on sports. Duduit and his agent agreed that it was something to pursue.
“You can use sports as a good analysis of life in comparison. … There are great life lessons in sports. It’s not all about rah, rah and winning. There’s a lot that goes into it. I try to take those moments and then make people see that ‘I’ve gone through this too. I’ve gone through something similar, and this is how I can respond.’”
Duduit kept his day job while his writing career took off. Then God intervened, he said. After COVID-19 stay-at-home orders began, his company enacted a massive layoff. But after leaving the steady job he relied on, Duduit said his financial situation is better than before.
“It’s so ironic. I thought we’d be squeaking by. We’re not squeaking by. We’re very blessed right now. It just shows you that if you put your faith where it needs to be and you trust what you’re supposed to do, things work out,” Duduit said. “Life’s not going to be rosy, but He will take care of you. I’m starting to learn that.”
The most memorable stories Duduit has written center around two athletes’ lives taking unplanned turns, much like Duduit’s own life.
Both Robert Griffin III, NFL quarterback, and Brian Dozier, MLB infielder, had very specific dreams of what they wanted to achieve within their careers. After circumstances intervened, each realized God was still in control.
Similarly, Duduit didn’t have a plan or desire to write a book. Still, his story and theirs are examples of living out his favorite Scripture, Jeremiah 29:11: “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’”
To date, Duduit has written devotionals based on Major League Baseball, the National Football League and several college football teams.
His future releases include more sports-related devotionals. He also writes for Athletes in Action (a Christian athletic ministry).
In a further bit of irony, he is now teaching at some of the conferences where he first got his start.
“I’m grateful this world opened up to me. I didn’t know it existed five years ago. I wish I had known about it then, but maybe I wasn’t ready for it then,” said Duduit.
“I had to be at that point where I had to say, ‘Okay. Whatever You want me to do’… I didn’t have plans but obviously He did.”