My name is Zach Vallafskey. I was born and raised in Greenville, Wisconsin, and attended high school in Hortonville. I am a senior here at UW-Stevens Point with a Business Major, and Coaching minor. I grew up with a great family surrounding me. My parents were religious and always brought my siblings and me to church, religion class, and even some community service. You could say that we were steadily involved in the church. Growing up, I never really understood why we did all of those things. I understood there was a God who sent His son Jesus, but I never could fully grasp the truth of Christianity, nor did I care to find out. I went out to find my fulfillment elsewhere.
In high school I started to develop as an athlete, and became successful in sports. People were giving me praise and told me how great I was, and I loved that feeling. I went through high school thriving off of what other people thought of me, but it always seemed to let me down. I could never be good enough for other people or even myself.
Going off to college I thought that I was going to be the man. I would come in freshman year, be a starter, picking up right where I left my high school career. Coach Journell said otherwise! I was nowhere near mature enough to play in the WIAC as a freshman, so I was a scout team player. It was hard for me to be at the bottom of the totem pole where no one seemed to care about me as a player. When this happened it only turned me further from Christ because I thought my worth was based on who I was as a player, not as a person. I developed bad habits on the weekends; binge drinking with my friends, trying to get what I thought was the college experience. These habits carried over to the week, which affected my grades and football. It was my first time away from my family and Rylee, my girlfriend of 2 years at the time. I was at an all-time low, and felt like I had nowhere to turn.
Sophomore year rolled around and a guy on my football team named Colin Destache began talking to me about coming to bible study on Monday nights. The bible study lead to Colin talking to me and my best friend Bo about going to the Ultimate Training Camp; a camp for Christian college athletes all around the U.S. Bo and I decided we’d give it a shot, and it turned out to be a week that changed my life. It was there that I learned about God’s grace, and how much HE loved and cared about me. It didn’t matter what I did on the field, because God saw me as His child and I was worthy to Him no matter what. His sacrifice of His Son meant that my sins were forgotten and I was made new. Learning this gave me freedom in all aspects of my life. I finally knew what it meant to be fully surrendered to God.
I no longer find my fulfillment from people praising me for my performance. I find fulfillment in being able to take the field on Saturdays to praise God through my performance, and no matter what the outcome is, I know that I am worthy in HIS eyes. I find fulfillment in living every day to my fullest potential and trying to be the best person I can be. I know that football will come to an end someday, and I am ok with that. Because I know that God has a greater plan for me beyond just playing ball. Every day is still a struggle for me to keep God as my number one priority. Sometimes I fall down, but I know that God is always going to be the one to pick me up. A verse that I will always lean on comes from Isaiah 40:31. “But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”