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February 19, 2014

Being a light

Former VHS, Georgia star Belue shares faith at FCA banquet

VALDOSTA — Before graduating high school, Buck Belue had already accomplished his childhood dream.

Growing up in Valdosta, all Belue hoped to accomplish — like many other youths in Titletown — was to put on Valdosta High uniform and play on Cleveland Field.

The former VHS star — Belue was the Georgia Player of the Year as a senior in 1977 as well as being a Parade All-American and is still the only quarterback to start all four years for the Wildcats — accomplished so much more. He led VHS to its only state championship in baseball as a senior and then played both sports at Georgia, quarterback the Bulldogs to the 1980 national championship.

But the key to all that success, Belue told the audience Tuesday night at the Southeast Georgia Area Fellowship of Christian Athletes banquet at the Rainwater Conference Center was his relationship with God.

“I mentioned the pressure of performing at a high level and you felt like there were a lot of people depending on you to get the job done,” he said. “I managed it all by just praying. I did a lot of praying back then. And it wasn’t about winning football games.

“I got such strength just out of prayer.”

And while he found strength through prayer, Belue did admit to having some regrets. While he prided himself on being a good teammate and winning, he looks back now and wishes he would have been more like former Florida star quarterback Tim Tebow. While Tebow unabashedly speaks of his faith, Belue said he always thought of himself as a private person. But through work with the FCA, he said is thankful he is having a chance now to spread the message of his faith.

“Now I find myself trying to make up for that,” he said. “I have some regrets not being out front with it, and I’m trying to make up for it right now.

“We’ve living in such a dark world right now. And I see it in Atlanta every day. It’s a dark world out there, and I want to encourage you to be a light.”

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