There are easier places to lead a righteous life than a college campus. There are places where pleasure is not so convenient, wretched excess not so heartily pursued and the sweetest dream of nirvana is more than an endless toga party.
"There are all kinds of temptations," says Krystal Kimrey, a 20-year-old junior at the University of Maryland who tries to resist them all. "It's not like everybody is out to get you, but, you know, people in the dorm will say, 'Let's get high,' and things like that."
When Kimrey gets her 6-foot, 6-inch, 195-pound body high it is usually to block a shot or slamdunk one of her own. The lady's pleasure is basketball. Her passion is the Lord.
Kimrey plays on a Maryland women's basketball team that finished second in the nation last year. This season with a little luck and a lot of help from Kimrey the team could take it all. Amen, says Kimrey, who only wishes she could find some friends as excited about eternal salvation as Maryland's fast break.
"I want to share with other people, but it just seems like nobody wants to hear what you have to say," sighs Kimrey, who grew up in Albemarle, N.C. "I'd like to join the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, but they aren't on the Maryland campus. I guess there aren't enough interested people."
Actually, there is a Fellowship group at Maryland, but only for the football team, and it is attended regularly by only half a dozen players.
"It's a problem of logistics," says Ron Head, this area's FCA representative who works out of a few rooms at Towson State College in Baltimore. "We've only been in this office for a year. We've been struggling a little and just haven't gotten down to the Washington side much yet."
Gary Warner, the FCA's former director of communications, gives a more elementary reason for the FCA's weak showing here.
"The East has never been a strong area for the Fellowship. All of its activities and philosophies are aimed at a very conservative constituency. The strong areas are the South and Midwest and Southwest."
Whatever the reasons, the lack of spiritual kinship has left Kimrey feeling isolated and a bit timid. She reads her Bible, but not in front of her Jewish roommate.She keeps her pile of movement pamphlets in a drawer.
Last summer, however, Kimrey was one of 12 women basketball players chosen nationally by Athletes in Action to tour Italy and Sicily. Kimrey broke her nose in a scuffle and realized that basketball does not necessarily have to be played to a soundtrack of profanity.
"With a team full of Christians there was no need to get motivated. You knew who you were playing for," says Kimrey. "I get ticked off sometimes, but my conscience is clear. It's not like Christians are superbeings, we just have a superhuman God."