Ohio State football seniors Joel Penton, David Patterson, Roy Hall and Stan White Jr. will host the “Main Event” on Monday at 7 p.m. at St. John Arena.
The event is a way for the players to give back to the fans and share how faith has impacted their lives. The event is supported by Athletes in Action and the Central Ohio Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
Also speaking at the event will be OSU head coach Jim Tressel and former OSU quarterback Craig Krenzel.
The doors of St. John Arena will open at 6 p.m. The first 1,000 people through the door will receive a photo signed by one of the participating players. Admission is free and open to the public. Seating is on a first come, first serve basis and large crowds are anticipated.
“I know these young men are excited about this event,” Tressel said. “Back in the spring, Joel Penton started talking about a passion that he has. And after he’s done playing this great game of football, there’s something that he’s even more passionate about than the game of football and that’s going out and influencing people’s lives and letting them know what drives his life and helping move them in a direction that would excite them.
“So, he started talking this spring about the fact that since he’s been an Ohio State football player he’s had so many opportunities to go out and share and to try and impact people’s lives. He’s spoken in front of anywhere from 15 people to a couple hundred. What he had in mind before he was finished here at Ohio State was to put on a big event and have one last opportunity if you will – along with his teammates – to talk about what is inside of them. And a lot of the public, because of the great media coverage that we get, gets to hear a lot about our guys and get to know their names and so forth and get to see how they play. But Joel’s passion is to help them learn even more in-depth about what makes them who they are beyond the game of football.
“So, he came up with the idea of having a “main event” and he went back and forth with a few facilities and initially thought about having it at the Schott, or maybe bring some seats in here to the Woody Hayes Center. He went to work making a plan and did some research on what it costs to rent the facilities and what it costs to stage events with video and sound and all those things. I can’t tell you the number of hours that he spent preparing for this event. In fact, I’m sure it rivals the amount of time he’s spent getting ready for football – and I know how much time he’s spent doing that. He has a tremendous passion to make sure those that want to know do find out what’s inside me, or what’s inside David Patterson, or Roy Hall, or Stan White and all the guys that are going to share on the stage. He settled on having it at St. John Arena and his goal is to fill the arena, which is a neat thing. He’s got a whole list of people ready to share, and I’m on the list and he told me I could have five minutes, so I’ll get a little chance to share at the main event. Really, there’s a lot that makes us proud about our young people. They’ve done a great job in the classroom and they’ve done a great job on the football field and they’ve done a great job in the community.
“Joel has the people at Athletes in Action who have really been there for him, and he has support from some local churches who have rallied to get the word out to let people know that, hey, there’s some Ohio State Buckeyes that faith drives their lives and is what is most important to them and they want to talk about it. They are going to put on a great event.”
Penton would like to be a minister one day and has been involved with public speaking since arriving at OSU. He explained how the “Main Event” idea was hatched.
“It was just something that we noticed that the fans have taken an interest in our lives by reading stories and we want to give them a glimpse into our personal lives,” Penton said. “There’s going to be a video in the day and the life of Roy Hall, and those kind of things should make it a fun and entertaining night for the fans. We hope that a lot of people will come out and support the event.
“About five years ago this started with small fliers when Mike Doss, Dustin Fox and Ben Hartsock wanted to share some things about faith as part of Campus Crusades. And it just grew from there. Each year we’ve had something small, but we wanted to make it bigger this year and really give back to the fans and let them know they are important to us as well.”
Penton was asked how he walks the delicate balance between getting his message across and not being too preachy.
“That’s a good question,” he said. “At the event we want to share what God has done in our lives and how faith has affected our lives. In terms of preachy, I don’t think you are going to hear a lot of fire and brimstone and I don’t personally know where the line is that goes into the preachy realm. It’s not going to be in a church, it’s going to be in St. John. It’s going to have a pep rally feel. Members of the marching band are going to be there, the cheerleaders are going to be there, Brutus the Buckeye, and it’s just simply that we want to share what has taken place in our lives and what is really happening to us personally and our real relationship with God. Hopefully it won’t have that religious, preachy feel. It’s certainly not intended.”
Other guest speakers from the gridiron have been invited to join the celebration. James Laurinaitis, Vernon Gholston, Marcus Freeman and many more Buckeyes will be in attendance for the event that was initiated and planned by their four senior teammates.