TAMPA, Fla. — The last time Troy Polamalu confronted the Arizona Cardinals, his immediate pregame preparation was astonishing. Polamalu, the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Pro Bowl safety, describes it simply as divine.
The Steelers were in Phoenix on Sept. 30, 2007 for a regular-season bout against the Cardinals. Polamalu rested as he was driven into the early morning for more than an hour to Florence, Ariz. Polamalu is a Greek Orthodox Christian. He journeyed to meet what he calls his Abbot Father Ephraim and to worship in a monastery. The services began at 3 a.m. MST and lasted until nearly 7 a.m MST. Then the trek back to Phoenix.
Then kickoff at 2:15 p.m MST.
“Some people might see that as a lot, but I saw it as a must, an opportunity to see my spiritual father,” Polamalu said. “I go there five to six times a year because that is where he is. This life that I struggle to live, I try to do so in the eyes of my spiritual father.”
His journey for worship and further understanding of his faith has taken him to Greece, Turkey and beyond. In fact, when coach Mike Tomlin took over the Steelers in 2007, Polamalu missed Tomlin’s first camp because he was abroad in his worship and studies. Tomlin understood then and he approved Polamalu’s Arizona excursion.
[H/T: To tidbit on FB]