Con: Praying before games can negatively impact student athletes

by Marla Rowley, Reporter

While there are many benefits to prayer before games like boosting players’ confidence and expressing themselves, there are also some disadvantages to it as well. Group prayers before games can make students that aren’t religious feel excluded and uncomfortable.  

Prayer before games can boost confidence for some, but have the opposite effect for students with different beliefs. It can make them feel intimidated by their teammates and make them feel discouraged. Students can feel excluded during this time when it is meant to be a time for team bonding and preparation for an upcoming game. 

With this in mind, some students will choose to not participate in school sports events at all. If a student feels excluded from their team during a team-wide prayer, it could keep athletes from wanting to participate on the team in the future. 

Prayer before games would cause some students to sit out away from their team. In an article written by The Northwood Omniscient, a student said that she felt judged when she was sitting away from the team during their prayer. She stated that she felt like she shouldn’t participate and it feels exclusionary. Many other students in the US also feel like this considering there are many different religions that are practiced across the country and only select prayers are used before games, typically Christian prayers. 

Not only can prayer before games make student athletes feel uncomfortable and left out, it also violates the constitution, in some cases. The constitution forbids public school officials from directing or favoring prayer in their official capacities. Although, voluntary prayer is not unconstitutional so as long as students are given the option to participate, the constitution isn’t being violated. 

Students who don’t participate in prayer could be bullied by other players on their team. Praying before games can lead to intolerance and destroy team spirit. In order for a team to play well, it is important for everyone to be accepting of one another and get along.