Bream focuses on fatherhood during Good Friday breakfast
If the people of Indiana County have learned one lesson from Jesus Christ and the Bible, it’s that of forgiveness.
Retired baseball player Sid Bream, the former Pittsburgh Pirate who scored the winning run for the Atlanta Braves and eliminated the Pirates from the 1992 playoffs, joked about the iconic baseball moment this morning at the YMCA Good Friday Breakfast.
Bream broke the ice with his audience at the Rustic Lodge in White Township before talking about Christ’s suffering and crucifixion, to forgive humanity of sins.
“How many of you in here still hate me because I slid home?” Bream teased. Two or three hands shot up, but most in the banquet hall laughed about the long-passed animosity.
“It’s been 22 years. … But I just want to let you know something. I slowed down just to make it close!”
An audience of 190 people attended the YMCA’s 58th annual breakfast, celebrating the death and resurrection of Christ.
[PHOTO: Former Pittsburgh Pirates first baseman Sid Bream brought his message of faith in Christ and the importance of parents as the guest speaker this morning at the YMCA Good Friday breakfast at Rustic Lodge in White Township. (Tom Peel/Gazette photo)]
Bream, who now lives with his family in Zelienople, told of his upbringing in a Christian family and accepting Christ as his savior at age 13.
But his message was centered on the role of the father in the family, and the lessons he learned from his dad that he wants to impart to his own kids.
He cited statistics showing children of single-parent families are more prone to have problems when they grow up.
“Young men who grow up without a father are twice as likely to go to jail,” he said. “Eight-five percent of children who exhibit behavioral disorders … and 71 percent of high school dropouts come from fatherless homes.
“Children from low-income two-parent families outperform students from high-income single-parent homes,” he said. “Dads – it’s important for us to be in our homes … and work hard to keep our families together, because that is the backbone of this nation.”
In his retirement from baseball, Bream said, he has been an avid big game hunter with a love of the outdoors rooted in the days of deer hunting with his father, and the earlier days as a youngster waiting for his father and the others in their hunting party to bring home their kill.
His father always was an ethical and honest hunter, following bag limits and never poaching animals that were off limits to hunters, Bream said.
“I watched my dad as a leader and I watched his integrity, his character and his honesty. And I am thankful I had a dad that stood up and did the right thing.”
He lamented some of the borderline hunting tactics that he has heard sportsmen talk about at the events he has attended as a guest speaker for Christian Sportsmen International, of Pittsburgh. CSI is faith-based charity that promotes sports skills, life skills and healthy lifestyles through its speakers bureau.
“I’m grateful for having a dad and a mom that brought my siblings and me up the right way. They taught us about ethics,” Bream said. “Understand, I am not perfect. I’ve made mistakes in my day. But at the same time I am thankful for a mom and dad who did that for me, so in turn I can go and do it for my kids as well.
“So I challenge you here today, grandmas, grandpas, dads, moms — is that something that’s important to you?
“You are examples. If you’re not going to show your kids what’s right, they’re going to go out and do the things that are wrong,” Bream said. He said America lacks good Christian examples in politics and the world of sports. “And professors in our schools are bashing kids that come into their classrooms, concerning their Christian faith,” he said.
“And if you are not strong enough to stand up to it, you’re going to walk away. … I just want you to understand that if you want to see our nation come back to God, we’re going to have to start being examples and testimonies that we need to be for our kids.”
Bream also took a moment in his remarks to recognize military servicemen and women, veterans and relatives of soldiers attending the breakfast.
He quoted former British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
“He was asked why he liked America so much. And his response was this: ‘You can tell what a country is like by who wants in and who wants out. But in my opinion, there have been two people that ever have been willing to die for you. One is Jesus Christ and the other is the American G.I. One died for your soul, the other one died for your freedom.’
“Let us say thank you for what you’ve done in allowing us to be here today,” he said, encouraging a round of applause for those who served.