March 20, 2006
Before Florida State senior thrower Andrew Diakos steps into the hammer sector, whether it is practice or a meet, one thing is going through his mind.
“I want to give God glory,” said Diakos, a redshirt senior returning for his final stint with the Seminoles’ track and field team.
Glory is a powerful word that ignites different feelings for different people. When an athlete speaks on this subject, listeners often relate the word to winning, to being the best and to defeating all opposition. Diakos, a sports management graduate from Naples, does not think like most.
“I want to show I can be an athlete and glorify God at the same time,” said Diakos.
This mission to glorify God on the field developed out of spite.
“In high school I was a football player,” said Diakos, who explained where his initial motivation to join the track team ignited. “One day (my high school’s) track coach approached the team and asked everyone if they wanted to throw, except me. I wanted to prove to my coaches and peers that I could do it.”
Diakos made his dreams of being one of the best throwers in the state of Florida come true, when he wrapped up his high school career as a two-time county and district champion in the shot put and discus. After graduation, the two-time All-Atlantic Coast Conference honoree achieved great success on the next level facing tougher competition and balancing a more rigorous schedule of classes all while continuing to prove he was among the top field athletes in the league.
The second-best all-time hammer thrower in FSU school history, Diakos achieved his greatest personal victory in the final indoor event of his college career.
“This was one of the first times I saved a big throw,” said Diakos referring to the ACC Indoor Track and Field Championships in Blacksburg, VA that was held from Feb. 23, 2006-Feb. 25, 2006.
“It got me fourth place,” said Diakos. “It was the pinnacle of my ACC career. Now my ACC career is over.”
Though Diakos began his track and field career to prove something to others, he ended it with the intention of pleasing only one.
“It (his track and field career) began with exterior motivation,” said Diakos. “When I got here, I wanted to show the rest of the world I could do it. Now I do it to glorify God. It’s not about me. Since I’ve realized this I’ve been a lot more successful on and off the field.”
Thinking back on his initial selfish aspirations he realizes one very important thing, where his strength and success come from and he challenges his supporters to do the same.
“An athlete is respected for the things we do on the field,” said Diakos. “I want to show I can be an athlete and glorify God. It’s not about me; it’s about who you’re winning for.”
As the school year comes to an end Diakos is reminiscent about his track and field success.
“In the real world you don’t get to show that you’re better than someone else,” said Diakos.
This comment wasn’t made to indicate conceit, rather his passion for competing. Diakos feels competing is a healthy and necessary part of life.
“Competing is the best way to rise to the occasion,” said Diakos. “I hate practicing but I love competing. Competition brings out the best in anyone.”
This will be what Diakos will miss most when the season is over but he has made some exciting travel plans that will allow him to continue participating in the sport he has grown to love.
“This summer I will be going to Fiji with athletes from all over the nation with the organization Athletes in Action,” said Diakos. “There I will have the chance to use my actions to show my faith rather than show my words.”
Diakos has had a satisfying career as a student-athlete and anticipates having a wonderful time as he travels abroad to share God’s word. As his time winds down as a student athlete, he’s busying himself trying to decide what path he wants to follow in life once he returns to the United States from Fiji.
“There are three possible routes I am considering,” said Diakos. “I can go into coaching, enroll in graduate school or join the ministry.”
Whatever path Diakos takes, he will continue to strive to be the best in whatever arena he competes in – whether it is his daily life, a track meet or the classroom.