Pro: Students should have the right to prayer during athletic events

by Anessa Davy, Reporter

It’s game day and everyone is getting ready to warm up. Legs are trembling, players are pacing, rapid breathing can be heard throughout the bench. Performing in front of a crowd where your mistakes are displayed for all to see is not easy for anyone, especially high school athletes who already have low self esteem. Some athletes choose to listen to music and block everything out to focus and boost their self confidence. Nobody frowns upon that.

That leads to the question, why can’t prayer be used as a sense of security for players who need it? While it varies based on people’s beliefs, typically teens are praying to someone that they trust will help them through their hard times and keep them safe. If they know someone will be watching over them, nerves calm down. It would be unjust to take away that feeling from students.

Not only does prayer make certain individuals feel more comfortable before games, but some teams who share religious passion enjoy worshiping together. Before each match, the school’s girls varsity soccer team would huddle together and bow their heads to speak to the Lord. One player would lead the team in prayer and ask for the players to stay free of injuries and be led to a victory. While not everyone on the team shared the same views, they all participated with no opposition as it gave the team a sense of unity. The soccer team was like a family who respected each other and understood why they were in a prayer circle.

Sophomore Emily Purgason is an advocate for expressing religious belief in sports. Purgason was a member of the Varsity soccer team and in addition to the team prayer, had her own pre game ritual. Before each match she would draw a cross on her wrist to remind herself that God would be with her no matter what happened. She says it gives her comfort and allows her to play to her full potential. While she believes it should be allowed she thinks players should be allowed to opt out if they aren’t comfortable.

The prayer wasn’t always the same, but it was a general discussion, nothing too intimate. “We prayed over the game beforehand that our spirits would stay high, nobody got injured, and things worked out the way we wanted to,” Purgason said.

Along with boosting players’ confidence, it can promote tolerance among the team. It gives the team an opportunity to come together for something they believe in and teach players of other religions to be accepting of their teammates.