Battling cancer, major-league coach puts faith into action — but what exactly does that mean?

This is an inspiring story.

For those concerned about holy ghosts in the mainstream press, it's also a frustrating story.

I'm talking about a heart-tugging feature from the Dallas Morning News on a major-league coach battling cancer:

As a longtime Texas Rangers fan, I'm particularly drawn to this emotional profile by one of my favorite baseball writers. The subhead on the print version noted that third-base coach Tony Beasley sees his cancer ordeal "as a chance to put faith into action."

ARLINGTON -- This is how he has spent his season: chemotherapy treatment during spring training, five weeks of radiation in April and May and, in the next week, a five-hour surgical procedure to remove the remnants of a tumor from his bowel.
And this is how Tony Beasley describes the year: "My most rewarding in baseball."
Beasley is the Rangers' third-base coach in title, but he's had to move into more of a quality-control role for this season during a fight with cancer that is stretching into its eighth month. The disease may have turned his role upside down, but he'll be damned if it's going to do the same to him.
"It doesn't sound right to [call it rewarding] when you are dealing with a disease; you don't relate that to a reward," Beasley said. "But there has been so much good on so many fronts.
"Somebody once told me not to see obstacles, only opportunities. And this has given me the opportunity to be the man who I said I am. I've always said I'm a man of faith, but we can say things and not live it. This has given me a chance to live it. I'm thankful if people have had a chance to see it."

That's powerful writing, but I want to know more about Beasley's faith.

What is his specific religious background? Where and how does he worship? What precisely does it mean to him to live out his faith during this difficult time?

Such questions go unanswered — totally — in the Morning News story. Apparently, religion has no place in this piece that focuses on more general themes of inspiration and perseverance.

Is that surprising? No. We see this all the time in sports features. (Perhaps you saw our tmatt's latest post on Olympic holy ghosts just this morning?)

In fact, other news organizations have covered the Beasley story and similarly neglected to engage the faith question below the surface. Examples here, here and here. In the Fox Sports Southwest video above, Beasley says, "I refuse to allow the enemy to take my body and my mind." Might that be an Enemy with a capital E? The TV report doesn't say.

Yes, I'm inspired by Beasley's story.

But I'd love to see news coverage that delves into his actual faith. So far, such coverage has remained frustratingly scarce.

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