Ikard — Character and Faith are Everything
By Steve Gust
For the Sooner Catholic
NORMAN — It was a young man’s luncheon at the In the Father’s Footsteps Catholic Men’s Conference with two special guest speakers, Gabe Ikard and Blake Bell.
Ikard and Bell are both Catholic and football players for the University of Oklahoma. Ikard, a Bishop McGuinness graduate, is an All American offensive lineman, while Bell has earned fame over the past two seasons as the “Belldozer,” the Sooners very successful short yardage quarterback.
They spoke to about 100 young men at the luncheon.
“What’s most important to me is to be a man of God,” Ikard said. “Your character and your faith are everything,” he added.
Ikard and Bell said they are almost the only Catholics on the team, but were loyal to their faith.
The two were asked about what it was like to play last season against traditional Catholic football powerhouse Notre Dame. Both admitted they were recruited by Notre Dame and respected the program. However, each was still a bit disappointed by the loss in Norman last October and looked forward to next year’s game at Notre Dame.
Bell said he and Ikard both attended Mass at St. Thomas More in Norman, just south of the Gaylord Family Memorial Stadium on campus.
And how does Bell feel about his nickname, the Belldozer?
“It’s a name the fans chose and it’s fine,” he said.
Ikard was pleased to be a part of the conference.
“I’ve been to one before. This is just awesome,” he said. Both players stayed after the luncheon and visited with attendees and posed for photographs.
Youth were also treated to a “Stump the Priest,” session where visiting priests Father Dave Dwyer and Father Josh Wagner fielded many questions. Those questions included whether pets would join us in heaven and if people before Christ’s time would be saved. Father Wagner said pets would probably be recreated in heaven by God if it brought joy to those in heaven, and Father Dwyer said God would be merciful to those before Christ’s time. Both were stumped, not knowing the name of the Pope in 366, Pope Liberius.