The road from White Lake, Mich., to captain of the BYU hockey team was a path that Adam Farero, a senior at BYU, never expected to take. Once unfamiliar with the LDS Church, this now soon-to-be father and returned missionary explained how BYU and BYU hockey changed his life.
Farero was introduced to BYU through childhood friend and hockey teammate, Josh Burkart. In high school, these two friends played on the same line but were separated when Burkart left for BYU and Farero stayed behind in Michigan to live the life of a typical teen.
“I lived like a typical freshman, like the rest of the world does, and pretty much wasted a year of my life,” Farero said.
It seemed as if Burkart wasn’t prepared to leave his teammate behind and continued to reach out to Farero hoping he’d move out west.
“He kept telling me to come out here and play hockey for BYU, and I finally decided that it was a good idea,” Farero said.
When Farero hit Provo, he was shell-shocked. He said life here in Provo was an entirely different game.
“Everything was different,” Farero said. “I remember my freshman year I was playing on a hockey team, I was just a normal hockey player and curse words were just a part of my vocabulary. I remembered getting yelled at in the locker room the second practice because I swore, and I remember thinking this is a locker room, swearing happens in a locker room, this is part of the game, but not at BYU I was told. I quickly had to change to be a part of the team, to get along and be productive. I had to clean up my act.”
Farero said one of the many things that really stuck out to him about Provo and the people here was how genuine everyone was. Farero didn’t know much about the LDS Church, claiming his only exposure to the faith were Burkart and his family and episodes of South Park.
“When I got out here it took me aback. People out here actually live what they say they believe in,” Farero said. “I knew there was an Honor Code, and I signed it, and I thought it would be just like Notre Dame or some other church school. I didn’t realize just how dedicated the LDS people were.”
That dedication rubbed off on Farero and he developed a greater appreciation for the lifestyle he was living in Utah. Even when he returned home to revisit his old lifestyle, he realized what he wanted was out west.
“I had decided that I wasn’t going to come back [to BYU],” Farero said. “I was staying in Michigan and fell back into my old ways. After six months went by I was depressed. I didn’t want to party, I wanted to date good girls, I missed the good people at BYU who encouraged me to be better. I had only had friends who dragged me down, never ones that built me up.”
Farero attributes a lot of his conversion to the support he received from the hockey team. Some of his first prayers were said in the locker room before a game and on the bus before a road trip. The team was a safety net he could turn to for answers and motivation whenever he had a question.
“They actually cared about me, not only spiritually but with my school work as well,” Farero said. “They pushed me to get my work done and were always willing to help if I needed it. We were really like a band of brothers. They helped me out in every aspect of my life.”
The team also proved a great resource for questions he had regarding the gospel. The day he was baptized, the entire team was there for him and has continued to be with him through his decision to serve a mission and right up until graduation.
Having experienced such a transformation in his life, Farero has sought opportunities to give back, and help others learn what is important. Although hockey was instrumental in his life, Farero points to things that are more eternal in nature and far more rewarding.
“When you come out here you think the most important thing is who you are playing next weekend, what their record is,” Farero said. “Yes those things are important and it’s good to try your hardest at whatever you put your mind to, but at the end of the day there are things that have so much more eternal significance, things like did you read your scriptures, did you pray today, did you take the sacrament on Sunday. Those things matter infinitely more.”
Farero met his wife, Stephanie, who is also a convert to the Church, before he left to serve his mission in Las Vegas. When he returned, the two were married within a few months and are currently expecting their first child. Farero is graduating in April and will be attending graduate school in Nebraska for its marriage and family therapy program.