Faith Special Section Sports

Football players give thanks to faith for mere opportunity

Shows of faith are ever present at sports events and many Cougars pray before and after games. Thomas Dwyer | The Cougar


Faith and sports have gone hand in hand since they were invented and there are many ways that players express themselves.

Some point up to the sky, others say prayers before and after games, and others are straight forward and public with their faith.

But with the relationship has come many misunderstandings about when and how players celebrate their faith, and what a simple phrase can mean.

One of the most common ways is the simple phrase, Thank God. It is often followed by snide tweets or virtual eye rolls. How or why would God take one athletes side over another?

Head Coach Major Applewhite said the Cougars are a team that always says the prayer before the game and many do it voluntarily afterwards.

It is not a mandatory thing, but for many players it was the way they were raised and it is a habit.

“Individually, some guys are headphone and music guys, while some guys are spiritual,” said Applewhite. “Whatever you need to do to get yourself prepared for the game, as long as it doesn’t disrupt your teammate, do it. Who am I to get in the way of that?”

The meaning is often lost, but it is a simple one. Athletes thank God not to say that God is on their side or that God cares about the Cougars beating the Owls.

They thank God not to say that God made them throw the ball straighter or made them run faster, but to give thanks that they even get to play.

Only seven percent of high school football players get to play at the college level and a smaller percentage of that ever step foot on a NFL field.

Everybody knows that becoming a college athlete is a combination of hard work, situation and genetics.

Every junior high basketball player does not get to grow up to be six-foot-eight and certainly not every football player gets quality coaches in high school that can teach them how to stand out.

It is for that, for being one of the few to get all the dots connected, that athletes give thanks.

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