The online student news source of Lovejoy High School

The Red Ledger

The online student news source of Lovejoy High School

The Red Ledger

The online student news source of Lovejoy High School

The Red Ledger

Pray ball: prayer before games and what students think


The separation of church and state finds itself in a grey area when it comes to public schools and athletics.  Prayer before games is extremely common for Leopard athletes and most of the time the prayer is done as a team, but some athletes don’t love this part of the routine.

While the majority of students on campus are some denomination of Christianity, there are students who don’t practice Christian beliefs and are not fond of the type of praying (or any praying) done by their teammates.

“So in California we didn’t pray before our games,” sophomore soccer player Michelle Stoddart said. “It kinda bugs me because it leaves out other religions and I know that I don’t have to participate in it but it kind of feels like I do.”

Prayer before games is by no means mandatory, but being the lone teammate not to participate can make a player feel uncomfortable.

“I think that many adolescents feel pressured to be the same and do everything together whether it be in a team setting or not,” softball coach Amanda Douglas said. “When teams are built around doing everything together, I could see how an individual would not want to isolate themselves away from their teammates. I would also say that if a teammate did not want to participate in prayer, that the other teammates should be understanding of that player’s decision. Not only are teams supposed to be unified, but they also are supposed to be understanding of their teammates.”

While some students are against prayer, others feel like it is a valuable part of the team experience.

“I think it’s something every team should do,” junior basketball player Sam Victor said. “It’s a great way to bring our team together and stay protected. I don’t know why but it also gets me pumped up. I hope we continue this tradition through the years even when I’m gone.”

Even students who are pro-prayer sympathize with those who are against it.

“I respect that some people have different opinions and views but since the majority of students are Christian, I think the those who aren’t are ok with just keeping to themselves because they respect the faiths of others,” Victor said. “They may not listen and agree with the prayer but it’s good that they don’t disrupt it. They can just do their own thing.”

Praying before games evokes different emotions in all sorts of athletes whether it be to get them pumped up or remind them of the real reason they do what they do.

Aside from the emotional and moral side of prayer is the legal side. So what are the legalities of prayer before games?

“There’s two parts in the first amendment about religion and one of them is the establishment clause which says that the government cannot require or endorse religion in any way,” government teacher Jeff Kear said.  “So a coach or an administrator or anybody in the school could not require a team to pray. Also part of the first amendment is the free exercise clause which gives people the right to practice religion, so students gather in a school but they are also citizens and they have rights. So any student can pray at their own discretion  and basically the rule we follow in  the schools for when this can happen is that if it’s student led and student initiated then it’s ok.  Because it’s the kids praying and it’s not the school making them or requiring them to pray. So any team at any time could have a group prayer if say a captain of a team ‘hey everybody come on and lets do this then it would be a student initiated thing.’”

While this is somewhat an issue at the school, most Leopard athletes have a pretty open mind about prayer.

“As a Christian, I know that all my abilities come from God and so I want to give Him the glory,” junior Hannah Drees said. “Praying is also great team bonding. I would never want anyone to feel uncomfortable with that but I also won’t deny what I believe. If it was reversed and most of the team was another religion, I would just politely not participate.”



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About the Contributor
Jessica Parrott
Jessica Parrott, Sports Editor
Jessica Parrott is a senior, meaning she not only runs the sports section of The Red Ledger, but also the school. With her best friend and fellow staff member Julia Carder by her side, Jessica is going to make this year the best yet. Her favorite sport to cover is football, not only does she love the game but she also loves the boys. Nah, just kidding… slightly. As a senior, Jessica knows that she can literally do anything she wants. Anything. Her favorite saying is “Lord love a duck,” a frequent exclamation made when people do appalling things. She is hoping to attend either Texas Tech or Texas A&M but is also considering Baylor, Oklahoma State, and Arkansas. Ya never know though. She is obsessed with both Friday Night Lights and Gossip Girl, two drastically different shows. The way to her heart is a large Diet Coke from McDonald’s and cabana bowl from Taco Cabana. She is from Boerne, Texas, a suburb outside of San Antonio and she believes to this day that it is the closest to heaven on earth you can get, it’s the Hill Country, it doesn’t get much better. She loves riding boots, flowy tops, and her Texas James Avery ring. Thanks and Gig ‘em, Wreck ‘em, Sic ‘em, Go Pokes, Woo Pig! She’ll let ya know when she decides on a school ;)

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