The best organization in sports is the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Tuesday morning I got a text during my Student Ministry Team meetings from The Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation. “How confident are you that you can paint Kris Letang?” (0 experience ever painting Kris Letang). “Confident” I told them. “Good, Are you free on Saturday?” (Here is some artistic advice: Whenever the Pittsburgh Penguins ask you if you are free on a certain date, become free on that certain date.)
This past Saturday I walked into the suite I was painting at. I put my stuff to the side and sat around looking at the empty arena. Sarah, my incredibly attractive better half, sat at the bar and took a college final. As game time rolled around and things were getting set up, Pittsburgh Steelers Owner, Art Rooney II walked in. I had realized I’d better bring my A game.
What I had come to find out is that this suite was part of Play It Forward Pittsburgh and Jameson’s Army at PPG Paints Arena. Jameson, is a 6 year old boy who was born with a heart condition known as Hypo plastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS). Jameson underwent 6 Open Heart Surgeries as well as receving a heart transplant at just 11 months old. The Pittsburgh Penguins were honoring Jameson’s bravery and toughness during these early years of his life.
I got to talk to Jameson for a little bit at the game. He’s the happiest kid you would ever meet. He got to come onto the ice as 28,000 fans applauded him and got to ride the zamboni during the second intermission. The little dude is awesome.
I asked for some help on my painting the other night. Troy and Theodora Polamalu’s two boys were in the suite with Sarah and I, so they got to throw some paint around with me. And I had also asked Jameson if he would do the same and put his hand print next to mine.
I am very blessed to know the awesome people at the Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation. Through them I have been able to meet some of the most generous donors and charities in the Pittsburgh area.
I get to see the best parts of this city night in and night out.
Praise be to God for these opportunities.
Thanks for reading!
I am blessed beyond belief to work with the greatest organization in sports. Back in September the Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation asked me to work with them to raise money for the charities they support. Saying its been absolutely wonderful is an understatement. Here is a little video we made for one of the nights working with the Penguins.
Thank you for following me on this awesome journey.
My Dad could’ve played in the NFL.
…had he ever played football.
He is almost 6’4″, 265 lbs. He stood among guys like Ramon Foster and Brett Keisel on Monday night and other than being in his late 40s, he looked indistinguishable. He has the size, and had the athletic ability. Who knows what could’ve happened. Guys were smaller in the 90’s, he could’ve played. End Rant.
The reason I bring this up was because I was honored to be invited to the Hayward House Night of Steel and Steaks at Eddie Merlot’s. I get a plus one to these things and since Sarah is a 3 week journey away by horse and buggy in South Eastern, Kentucky, where we have to write letters to each other just to communicate, she could not make it. So I asked my dad to come. My parents rarely get to see me paint anymore. Unless they get a plane ticket to Dallas, Salt Lake City, New York, or spend half a weeks paycheck to get a ticket to one of the charity events, they aren’t there.
I took the opportunity to have him there this time to watch and hang out with Steelers like Ramon Foster, Stephon Tuitt, Brett Keisel, Charlie Batch, Tyson Alualu, Arthur Moats, Dan McCullers, and Cam Heyward. Bob Pompeani of KDKA, who, is the nicest guy you’ll ever meet Emceed the event.
I always get a deep warm feeling during these things. The Heyward House is a charity foundation that does incredible things for children with cancer. I saw a large body of people Monday night get behind a great cause and decide to make a difference. I get to be a part of some of the most heart warming events in Pittsburgh. 80% of my events are charities. I am constantly seeing the best sides of Pittsburgh and the most generous sides of people. People want to make change in Pittsburgh for the better. Its great to see. Pittsburgh is a good place looking to become even better.
The paintings I did that night were a profile of Cam in uniform, who, right before, said: “Its going to be hard not to make me look ugly.” to my response “… well Cam, that is where I have to trust in the Holy Spirit.” Evangelism at its finest. The second painting was a special one of Cam and his father Craig, who also spent years in the NFL and tragically passed away from cancer nearly twenty years ago.
Here is the KDKA news clip of it:
The paintings sold for nearly $8,500. With Cam’s wife, Allie, winning the one of Cam and Craig Heyward.
I am blessed I get to do this. Blessed by God. I get to meet some of the hardest working people every day, for causes that are so great to be a part of. I love being able to tell people I am a pastor. I love being able to share by what power I am able to do this. I love when people ask where my church is and how they want to check it out.
I AM BLESSED.
Thank you, Heyward House! Thank You, Jesus!
No other word better describes that day.
I can’t explain how grateful and shocked I am to be typing a blog about how I appeared on National Television for one of the biggest sports networks in North America.
I was asked to be a part of the 2017-2018 NHL Opening Night celebration for the NHL Network.
During the night I painted Connor McDavid, Sidney Crosby, Brent Burns, and my favorite player since I was 8, Marc Andre Fleury. I also created a collage of some of the network analysts such as EJ Hradek, Mike Rupp, and Jackie Redmond.
Here are a few clips from LIVE TV:
(Full disclaimer: I am very comfortable speaking in front of crowds, I am very personable on stage, HOWEVER, live TV is an entirely different animal. Please do not judge.)
Here is the first clip via Twitter Link!
— NHL Network (@NHLNetwork) October 5, 2017
Sorry, Jackie, Ej, and Mike for being so awkward. Please have me on again, I’ll do better.
While I was at the Network I was accompanied around by Neal Slotkin. Neal was extremely courteous and even gave us a tour of the place. NHL Network shares its studios with the MLB Network. I was taken through studio 21, 42, and 3. Those, of course, are named after Roberto Clemente, Jackie Robinson, and Babe Ruth.
Again, the journey this week was incredible. I have been blessed. Doors keep opening. All I am doing is being faithful to my calling. To work hard and do all things in the name of Jesus.
The first thing I want people to know is why I do it. I do it because of him.
Thank you for following along with me this crazy week!
I’ve never flown to paint before.
I had the crazy awesome opportunity to paint for Sean Lee’s Dream Builders event last night in Dallas, Texas.
Sean is a graduate of Upper Saint Claire in Pittsburgh, PA, right next to the Church that I am a director for in the South Hills of Pittsburgh. Not only are we both WPIAL football players, but Sean also played football at Penn State where my parents graduated from.
It has been a great opportunity to meet one of Western Pennsylvania’s greatest football players. An NFL All-Pro and Captain of the Dallas Cowboys.
I painted twice last night! Sean had his painting, and I did another one of a young Jason Witten. Each Painting sold for 3,000 dollars. A total of 6,000 dollars for the boys and girls club in Dallas.
Here are a few more pictures from the night:
I cant thank the Dream Builders organization enough for letting me be a part of this event!
Thank you Jesus for your grace and the opportunities to share why I do what I do.
This was so cool.
Here is the link to the article, but I’m going to paste it beneath, anyways:
By Joe Napsha
Cody Sabol of North Huntingdon mixes his vocation as a preacher with his passion as an artist to create portraits, dipping his hands into paint jars to make his masterpieces.
“I’ve got an affinity for art. I’ve always been drawing,” the 22-year-old said shortly after painting, in just a few minutes, a portrait of Pittsburgh Steelers legend Joe Greene.
Sabol is a speed artist, who, in his words, “would rather do it (painting) in front of the people” than in the confines of his studio.
And so it was that Sabol, a 2013 Norwin High School graduate, recently painted the NFL Hall of Famer in front of a crowd at Norwin High School’s homecoming.
Starting with a blank, 3-by-4-foot black canvas, he covered his fingers — no brushes here — with acrylic paint and applied it to the canvas, with no penciled outline as a guide.
Sabol started painting the portrait — he didn’t let the audience in on who his subject was — without a picture at his side for reference. He was born 13 years after Greene ended his career in 1981, so he never saw him play.
“I study the picture. I visualize it. It stays in your mind,” Sabol said.
He quickly formed the image of a football player: helmet, shoulder pads, then Greene’s iconic face and beard. As a finishing touch, he created blue haze swirling around Greene’s face, indicating the steam coming off his body on a cold winter day at his stomping grounds, Three Rivers Stadium.
In less than five minutes, Sabol is finished, wiping his paint-smeared hands on the inexpensive pants he wore rather than a rag.
His website is filled with his paintings, mostly sports celebrities in Pittsburgh — Ben Roethlisberger, Mario Lemieux, Sidney Crosby and Roberto Clemente — as well as Jesus.
Sabol credits Norwin High art teacher Christine Satterfield for helping to inspire his art.
He took various drawing and painting classes over his four years in high school and in Advanced Placement studio art in his senior year, Satterfield said.
“Cody was a very creative, talented and dedicated artist. I was very impressed when I saw him paint at our recent assembly,” Satterfield said. “Listening to his story, realizing his accomplishments and seeing what a wonderful person he has grown into, made me very proud.”
He started speed painting while a student at Kentucky Christian University in Grayson, Ky., where he graduated in 2017 after studying preaching ministry and biblical studies. It was there, he said, where he felt God’s presence while covering a canvas with paint, or more accurately, tossing paint onto the canvas.
Sabol has used his skills as a painter to raise about $15,000 for charities, benefitting people in the Pittsburgh region and beyond. He has painted at numerous fundraisers, including the Mario Lemieux Celebrity Invitational in September.
Chris Swope of Murrysville, a classmate of Sabol’s at Norwin and Kentucky Christian, said Sabol is determined to make a difference in the world through his art.
“More and more opportunities are being presented and, God willing, he will continue to make the biggest difference he can to the best of his ability. He’s truly an extraordinary guy,” Swope said.
While he paints in his spare time, Sabol is the director of student ministry and sports at The Bible Chapel, a nondenominational church in Robinson Township. He is the founder of Revelations 5:5 ministries.
As he explains on his website, Sabol wants to show through his speed painting that Jesus Christ is still here and still working. He believes God has opened the doors for him to continue to grow as an artist and pastor.
“I want to show the Love of Jesus and start a revival right here in Pittsburgh,” Sabol states on his website.
I’ve been busy.
I love my church. They are incredibly supportive of the whole finger painting gig. the Bible Chapel in Robinson is less like an American church, and more like a family. Which, I believe, is what Jesus intended. My good friend Tom Rojahn is our Campus Pastor here in Robinson. We share an office at the church and I absolutely love that. I have learned so much just by osmosis. He is always throwing out ideas for sermons and lessons to me and I am able to sit there and take in his ideas and pretend like I am contributing in some way. I’m definitely not.
Tom used to work for the Pirates. from 1999 to 2007 Tom was in the organization and was instrumental in attempting to get me to paint for the Pirates annual faith night. Even though I wasn’t able to paint there, I would love to share with you right now, the amazing opportunities I had to work with some of the players this year for the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Back in July I was invited to paint at Josh Harrison’s event. It was the first charity I have ever done for a professional athlete and I am honored and blessed that it was Josh’s. I am lucky to have gotten to work with Josh a few more times as well. If there is one player in the MLB I would want my little brother to mimic, it would be Josh because of his hustle.
(Just a little insider information about Josh: I don’t possess a lot of swag… but I know it when I see it. Josh Harrison oozes swag.)
Next up is Trevor Williams: He had gotten his own individual blog post before, so I won’t say much else other than FOLLOW HIM ON TWITTER. It is magical.
These next ones were all within this last week:
I had done paintings for Chris Bostick, Max Moroff, and Andrew McCutchen. I reached out to Chris to do a painting for him because he had just gotten his first career MLB hit and I was honored that he allowed me to be able to capture it. Chris, I hope you get back to me in 15 years when you have your last hit. It would be an honor to capture that one too.
Max Moroff is a really cool guy. On Tuesday I went to the Park with my brother, Gene. Max had contacted me a day before and asked me about a painting. I painted his first ever walk off hit. I love the excitement and emotion in the picture and I recreated it the best I could, but, moments like those are incredibly unique and special. After Gene and I got our field passes we headed in the tunnels where I delivered this painting to Max himself. Hope you like it!
Since I was going to be on the field, I wondered if I would ever have the opportunity to get a painting to Andrew McCutchen. I made the painting you will see below, in a matter of 8 minutes. I was worried that this might be Andrews last home series at PNC Park and this painting was a huge thank you to everything he had done for the Pirates organization incase the fear of him leaving became reality. Cutch was the face of a Pirates era that had ended a 21 year curse for the team. those three magical seasons from 2013-2015 were some of the most exciting sporting events I have ever watched. Anyways, Cutch has been the greatest Pirate of my generation. I walked onto the field and stood in front of the dugout with the painting in between Gene and I. Cutch was in the middle of BP when he saw the painting, he walked over, shook my hand and we talked for a bit about the painting, being really appreciative, before going to take more swings.
Cutch is a good dude.
As Cutch was walking back to the dugout a second time, he pointed his bat at me, put it to my chest (like he was challenging me to a joust or something), and said, “this is for the painting.” He signed it and handed it to me. Andrew McCutchen is a good dude.
I am so honored to be a part of this great city.
Thank you, Lord. You alone have supplied this Spiritual gift, and I will continue to use it for Your glory.
I’ve gotten to meet a lot of cool guys in my finger painting days (all 11 months of them). But I promise you, there isn’t many people cooler than Trevor Williams of the Pittsburgh Pirates.
He’s a great player who has had some of the best outings of the season among Pirate’s starting pitchers, he is one of the funniest guys in town (don’t believe me? follow him on Twitter.), and best of all, he’s a great Christian leader that uses his MLB platform to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Last year for his MLB debut, he made headlines when he gave the game ball to his father who was in the stands watching that night. That same night, photographer, Joseph Guzy captured some really great moments with his family which I am grateful that I was able to recreate on canvas.
It is an amazing blessing being able to work with the people I get to work with.
Thanks for allowing me to capture that moment, Trevor.
Thank you, Lord for the platform I have to serve You.
I touched the cup.
The same cup held by Lemieux and Sid. The same cup that Malkin and Fleury hoisted three times. The same cup that Jagr, Gonchar, Stevens, Murray, Talbot, Sammuelson, and Mike Sullivan drank from in the locker room.
I was fortunate enough to paint at a Penguin’s own Jason Seidling’s Stanley Cup Party.
I can confidently say that this experience was the greatest Pittsburgh Sports moment of my life.
Not many people get to say that they touched the cup, let alone drink from it!
Jason Seidling hosted an amazing party. I loved being able to come and paint for the event. I painted a really neat picture of Jason’s dog, Beau, and the Cup. Jason was kind enough to throw out my name and campaigned for me to be able to paint for the Pittsburgh Penguins in some fashion this upcoming year. Because of him, that life long dream is coming true for me.
Jay, I can’t thank you enough.
(It is really hard to paint a black lab on a black canvas)
Its experiences like this that really make me appreciate the opportunities that God places in front of me. Its a platform for me to share my faith with the city of Pittsburgh. I love painting for Pittsburgh, but its always so much better to paint for my Father in Heaven.
Kissing Sarah is still better… but its closer than you think. (Jokes)
Thank you, Jason!
Thank you, Jesus!
Last night I walked through the tunnels of PNC Park with Sarah up through the dugout and onto the field where we carried an enormous 4 feet by 3 feet painting.
It was an incredible honor to present the Clemente family with a painting for Clemente Day at PNC Park.
Unless you aren’t from Pittsburgh, you would know that Roberto Clemente is a Pittsburgh Icon. He is a 15 time all-star, 12 time Gold Glove Award winner, World Series Champ, and a member of the 3,000 hit club. He was a cannon in right field and he was feared at the plate. Roberto, however, is remembered more so for what he did off the field. He was one of the greatest humanitarians of his time. He made a point to give back to others. He started a charity called “Food for the Hungry” and visited places that had little and gave them much. So much that he gave his life trying to help earth quake victims in Nicaragua and died tragically on December 31, 1972 in a plane crash.
He was a Hall of Famer, he was a Pittsburgh sports legend, and he was a hero to so many.
To honor Roberto and Vera Clemente, I put together this video of the painting I did outside of the Clemente Statue in centerfield of PNC Park.
I felt such a great sense of honor to hand this painting over to the their family. To stand on the field with them, talk to them, getting to know them, I can say with full certainty that Vera and Roberto raised some amazing kids who are following in their fathers footsteps as great humanitarians.
Here is the clip AT&T Sportsnet played last night!
This was a very special day for me as well, I had lots of family and friends that came out to support me at the game along with meeting some great people as well. Sarah and her mother drove over four hours just to be there that night, some of my youth group students showed up with signs to support me, I got to see Josh Harrison whom I consider a friend and partner in some awesome charity work we are doing soon, along with many others that took the time out of their day to come to the park and those who watched at home. Thank you all so much. I love you all.
This is a day I will cherish forever.
Thank you to Kailee and Roberto Jr. for making it happen! I owe you guys more finger paintings.
Thank you, Jesus.