Titans prop puts faith in blessed boots
WHEN Titans prop Max King considered having a Bible verse stitched into his footy boots, his initial choice was Luke 10:19 which talks of having the "authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy".
It seems perfectly apt for a front-rower who will spend 30 weeks taking on Tigers, Raiders, Sharks and Eels but as his anxiousness grew about earning a starting spot in Round 1 and minor heart surgery that continues to keep him sidelined, King sought a different inspiration.
He settled on Isaiah 41:10 that speaks to having faith in God's plan and says he will use it as a regular reminder in his fight to add to the 17 games he played in his rookie season last year.
"One thing that I wanted to have a big emphasis in this period is to have a 'faith over fear' perspective," King told foxsports.com.au.
"Regardless of what life is like for me day to day - and I suppose that ties in with the heart complications - it was knowing God's plan for me rather than how things were appearing day to day.
"I was focusing on what God's plan was for me rather than listening to all these Round 1 predictions or comments that might leave you discouraged. That was my reason behind it all."
Few professional sportspeople in Australia have the strength of conviction to display their faith as openly as King will do in 2018, the 20-year-old revealing that he will have different Bible verses displayed on his boots during the course of the season.
Unable to find anyone locally capable of embroidering the verse into his boots, King found a small business in Robina that uses a heat printing technique to make the impression on King's boots that he was after.
But most encouraging to King was that his sponsor, Nike, was willing to allow him to make such a public statement.
"Nike were really cruisy which I thought was a bit surprising for such a big brand," said King, a fourth generation King to have played top-grade rugby league in Australia.
"I thought they might not want to put their name to anything like that but they were cool with it.
"As the season goes on I'll be looking to change it up. If a new verse feels relevant then I might chuck it on."
After minor surgery to correct a heart condition called SVT (Supraventricular Tachycardia) that causes an irregular heartbeat, King was expecting to be back on the training paddock within days but is still yet to resume full training.
He had a meeting with the specialist on Friday and could still be a week away from resuming full training but has no concerns that it is something that could curtail his promising career.
"It's something that I've had for quite a while so it's not anything that's new to me," said King, who first experienced the condition two years ago while delivering pizzas for Domino's.
"I feel fine. I've told the coaching staff that I'm fine but they're just being a bit extra cautious.
"One thing they've all stressed is that I'm safe. It's not like I'm going to have an episode on the field. If anything occurs it is safe.
"It is scary talking about a heart condition but I'm not too worried."