Bethany Workman: Making a Difference

Since she first started dribbling a basketball, Bethany Workman has replayed her dream of playing Division 1-A basketball over and over. Now that the Mississippi State sophomore guard accomplished that goal last season, she has more motivation on the table. Or maybe that should be off the court.

Along with playing for head coach Sharon Fanning and the MSU women's basketball program, Bethany Workman is involved in missions and community service.

The Springtown, Texas, native was a member of last year's SEC Good Works Team and earned the team's Sonny Mullins Community Service award.

After being an 'All A' student in high school, Workman continued her classroom excellence as a rookie last year, being named to the SEC Freshmen Academic Honor Roll.

How does she do it all?

Well, Workman simply depends on her faith in God.

"It's tough but I find time in between things to get stuff done," said Workman about her schedule. "Really, road trips help more than hurt as far as school work goes because the trips give you time to get things done.

"I am involved in FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes) and it tells us to stay in the Word and know that God is in control of everything. I saw that in Kenya when God gave me fruitful words to speak. No matte how busy we may be and how crazy things may seem, I put everything in God's hands and know that He is in control of my life."

And speaking of Kenya, that's where Workman spent two weeks during the summer. Workman was part of a missions group that witnessed to people in Nairobi, Kenya.

"We stayed in Kenya for two weeks and at first, we really didn't know what to expect," said Workman. "There were 86 students, mostly high school, and I was one of six college students. We went to Nairobi to do some drama plays and I played some of those parts. Then afterwards, through a translator, we got to witness to people on a 1-on-1 basis."

Although Workman was giving her time to help others, she remarks on how much she received in return.

"There were so many people we got to pray with and that received Christ," said Workman. "There were a lot of people that came before us and planted those seeds and then we got to harvest those seeds when the people accepted Christ into their lives.

"And what a privilege it was to have that opportunity to witness to people about Christ. At first, you are not sure if they understand you but then the churches do a lot of follow-up work with them. It was our job to share about Christ and plant those seeds.

"It was a big humbling experience. It was amazing to see the joy those people had even though they didn't have much. It also showed me how much we take for granted at home and how much we do have and don't realize."

Workman, who is also a member of the M-Club and speaks to local churches and reads to students at local elementary schools, saw how fortunate and blessed Americans are, even in things we take for granted like a simple lunch.

"We always took a packed lunch," said Workman. "We were told not to share any of our leftovers because if we did, there wasn't enough to go around with everybody and then they would expect it every day and become dependant on that. Most of the time, all they had were a few French fries and a drink. It was very hard not to share my food when I was through eating."

Workman displays the same type of drive on the court, which helped earn her a spot with the Lady Bulldogs last fall.

Workman appeared in six games last year, logging a total of eight minutes.

"God did give me a competitive spirit," said Workman. "But that doesn't mean you can't keep your cool on the court. Colossians 3:23 says that you do everything under the Lord. I go out there and work my butt off but at the same time, do it with a Christ-like manner. And I try to be the same way off the court."

She admits that Mississippi State wasn't on her radar in the beginning. In fact, Workman was all but convinced she would play in her home state of Texas. After earning all-district honors at Springtown High School, the offers from the Lone Star State didn't pan out, however.

But once she visited Mississippi State's campus, her decision was solid.

"Ever since I started playing in the third grade, it's been a dream of mine to play Division 1-A basketball," said Workman, who also excelled at tennis and cross country in high school. "I thought I might stay in Texas at first but there were not any offers. So my mom and I sat down and sent a bunch of letters out to schools and MSU was one of them. I mean I just picked schools off a NCAA bracket.

"Well, MSU stayed in contact with me and when I visited there, I fell in love with the campus and everything and knew this was the place God wanted me to be. I knew I wanted to walk on before I attended camp there the year before my freshman year of college. I met with Coach Fanning and she told me I could walk-on."

And a few months later, Workman accomplished another goal.

"I was put on scholarship in the spring semester and that helped my parents out a lot," said Workman. "I am currently not on scholarship but we'll see how all that goes. If I do again, that's great. If not, we'll just see what God has in store for me."

Like Workman, the Lady Bulldogs' roster is filled with young and hard-working players looking to return MSU back to the glory days of NCAA Tournament games and SEC Tournament title games.

"We have a lot of athletic freshmen and sophomores," said Workman. "It's just a matter of us knowing each other better, getting our chemistry and listening to the coaches. If we can do that, I think we will go far this year.

"Individually, I just have to keep working hard and hope I get the opportunity to show my leadership abilities. I know it's hard for a walk-on to be a leader but I hope I get that opportunity."

And regardless of her rewards on the court, Workman has already achieved so much for a higher purpose off the court.


Paul Jones is a writer for the Dawgs' Bite, Powered by GenesPage.com website. Paul, also a sports writer for the Columbus Commercial Dispatch, can be reached by email at pjones@cdispatch.com.

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