Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Sports Talk: Small Towns... Where Public Prayer is OK

As a correspondent sports writer for The Casey County News, I write an weekly editorial column for the publication. Published Feb. 6, 2013.­­
I wanted to write on this topic last week after the Lady Rebels’ home game against Russell County on Jan 28; however, I couldn’t exactly postpone running the Super Bowl predictions until after the Super Bowl. It kind of loses it’s point…
After living away from Casey County for several years and being exposed to the regular and popular belief of keeping things “politically correct” and not crossing lines  that could possibly offend people of differing beliefs, it’s a breath of fresh air to be in a place where following and acting out your beliefs is never questioned.
The reminder came with the opening of the girls’ varsity game when eighth grader and middle school football stand-out Noah Laman was recognized and shown support from the community in his battle against cancer. A prayer was delivered by Darryl Barlow as those present stood and bowed their heads and listened to Coach Barlow ask our God to give strength, understanding and patience to Noah and his family and friend during this tough time.
When I was attending high school I probably wouldn’t have thought as much about the meaning in this act. It was a prayer when a prayer was called for, which makes enough sense.
But it’s not normal—not in a public school.
I remember when I was a Lady Rebel we would close every game—win or loss—by inviting the other team and anyone else in the gym to join us at center court to join hands and pray. This was normal for me too. I was glad to have a team who remembered God’s place in our athletic abilities and opportunities. 
Many high school kids throughout our nation are not given the same open door to including God in their athletics. Perhaps it’s not that coaches and administrators elsewhere do not believe themselves, but they fear the repercussions of a parent or student who complains that religion is being forced upon them. So these coaches and administrators play it safe and stick to the strict line that keeps religion out of their schools and athletics.
Instead we live in a community where we do not only rally behind a young person who needs our support during a struggle, but we bring him prayer and God’s support.
 Big cities and big schools definitely have their perks, but the sense of community behind our programs, students and athletes is something very special; especially because we are not afraid to keep God in our community.

No comments: