A while back I pulled an article from the KC Star Magazine on the Royal’s manager Trey Hillman. What caught my eye was the photo above. Today I finally got around to reading about Hillman and his love for Christ. The full article is no longer online, but I did want to share this story from his childhood that had a huge impact on his life. Enjoy.
“Perhaps the best way to understand him is to understand what’s most important in his life. It’s not baseball.
Trey Hillman is about an hour into explaining how the faith he learned from his father turned him into the man he is today when he thinks about the day it all came together. You’ll like this, he says. It gets at the crux of who he is and how he lives.
Nine years old, and little Trey is outside his family’s Texas home playing ball with kids from the neighborhood. He says something about Santa Claus, and a kid named Dean – Hillman will never forget that name – laughs and calls Trey a dumb little boy for believing.
Crushed, Trey goes to his father. Dad was a junior high principal and coach, one of the most respected men in town. Hillman calls him “a saint.”
On this day, Trey asks about Santa and Dad gives him the truth. OK. Trey asks about the tooth fairy and Dad gives him the truth. Hmm. Trey asks about the Easter bunny. Dad gives him the truth. Deep breath. Trey thinks for a moment. He goes the next step.
What about God?
Is that real?
Whoa. This just turned serious. Dad’s face loses all humor. God is very real. It’s more important, Dad says, for you to love Jesus Christ than it is for you to love me. The words come calm and steady. “Son, it’s more important for me to spend time with Jesus Christ than it is to spend time with you.”
Even now, Hillman sounds surprised when he retells the story.
“You have to understand,” he says, “my father was and is my hero. To hear him tell me that, that was tough.”
It changed him, too. Church was no longer just a Sunday ritual. God went from one more authority figure young Trey had to do right by to an essential part of his life. Light from his bedroom often spilled under the door and into the hallway as he read and re-read the Bible before bed.”