FORT WORTH, TX – Couldn’t help but noticing the overt display of religion that continues to creep into the American sports scene.
Guy hits a homer…praise God. Dude scores a TD…sign of the cross. Never used to see this stuff growin’ up…but of course, back then players subscribed to what Bear Bryant told his players.
“When you get in the end zone, act like you’ve been there before.”
Despite Touchdown Jesus and his inspiration at Notre Dame, I’m not so sure that the Big Fella (or Gal) gives a rat’s behind who wins, loses, scores, or gets an interception. But it sure plays to the masses when some cornerback shows his spiritual devotion after a pick six. Teams now get together to pray in a circle before the game…after the game…sheeze, it’s more uplifting that a revival meeting with snakes.
I was thinking about this today as I was perusing the current top prospects in anticipation of that day of days…National Signing Day. This is the day that the teen age studs who have been courted, fawned on, bribed with chicks and lied to sign on the dotted line for Big Time Program University and, hopefully, the coach of their dreams.
Until the coach leaves for better pastures. Sorry, Charlie.
At any rate, I was looking at some of the top prospects for New Jersey, which arguably has the best football talent on the East Coast. Despite a much smaller population than neighboring New York, Jersey has over three times as many major prospects on the recruiting boards. And I noticed that, like a lot of other states, Jersey has more than a couple of kids with Islamic names.
Al-Quadin Muhammad out of Ramsey is a 6’4”, 225 pound defensive end who is rated as the second best prospect in the state and expected to sign with Miami. Al-Rasheed Benton is a 6’2”, 220 pound linebacker heading to play for West Virginia. There are several others…as there are in most other states. Michigan, with its large Middle Eastern immigrant population, has an especially large number of Islamic athletes.
Now the thing I’m thinking is, sooner or later, one of these Islamic kids is going to catch the winning pass or some such thing and get the ubiquitous on field post game interview about his exploits. And sooner or later, one of them is going to say something like “praise Allah” or “Allah was with me when I took off that quarterback’s head,” or some other phrase that is obviously Islamic and non Christian.
And when that happens, I predict that the reaction from all the people who think it’s just fine to pray, genuflect, and so on in praise of a Christian god will be a little less tolerant.
In fact, I think a heck of a lot of people will go ballistic.
With the hypocrisy meter on ten, straight-faced commenter’s will suddenly explore the intermingling of religion and sports, questioning if the twain should meet. People will write in to their local sports editors, claiming that such a demonstrations in the name of Allah is just un-American, Gawd dang it. And so on. And so forth.
Personally, I don’t play rugby in church or pray on the field… I figure there is a time and place for everything (which, by the way, is the point of Ecclesiastes 3 for you Bible bangers out there). But I am betting that the expression of religious fervor for anyone who is non Christian will not be met with the most enlightened attitude.
And can you imagine if some player actually was some truly unorthodox religion, like Wiccan or whatever?
“Chris, thanks for interviewing me. I’d like to praise the dark lord Satan for blowing out our opponents lead running backs knee in the third quarter. I guess that cat of the neighbors that I ritualistically sacrificed came in handy. Hey kids, look me up on my web site, www.satanslinebacker.com…”
Well, here’s praying at you kid. See ya at the game.