Monday, Oct 24, 2016
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Jesus scores big as sports figure


Jesus stars in soccer.

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On the ice, the court, the track, and the diamond - Jesus has got game.

The Son of God is portrayed as a multi-sport athlete in a new series of statues that is hitting a home run in the religious gifts market.

“They're probably our No. 1 seller for boys,” said Gina Reger Layman, owner of Reger's Church Supplies on Secor Road.

“We really can't keep them in stock,” said Fran Orzech, president of Devon Trading Corp., a New Jersey wholesaler that ships the items nationwide. “We're out of stock at the moment. We didn't expect this.”

Mere mortals would likely be at a disadvantage if they tried to dribble a soccer ball or run a relay race while wearing a full-length robe and floppy leather sandals, but traditional first-century garb hasn't kept Jesus from being a big hit.

The Messiah plays six sports - football, baseball, soccer, basketball, track, and hockey - in the current series and is expected to take up tennis and golf soon, Ms. Orzech said.

Each of the plastic statues, which are about six inches tall, depicts Jesus playing a sport with a few children.

In the baseball scene, for example, the Messiah has his arms around a young batter showing him how to swing. In track, he's passing the baton to a boy runner.

The Jesus figurines moved briskly during First Communion season, which runs from January to May, Mrs. Layman said, and also are popular gifts for children who like particular sports.

Soccer and baseball are leading the pack so far, she said, but demand for each sport's statue seems to pick up at the beginning of the season.

A few people have said they feel it is irreverent to sell statues of Jesus Christ kicking a ball or dodging a tackle, Mrs. Layman and Ms. Orzech said, but overall the response has been positive.

The statues are sold at most Catholic religious supply stores and are priced under $20 - if you can catch one.

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