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  1. #1

    Football and Faith



    Ravens Faith

    This may be slightly OT. A little out of place in the middle of Steelers week, but here goes.

    I've always had trouble with this. You hear it all the time... "The Three F's. Faith, Family, Football."

    I have never been a religious person. I had been dragged to church as a kid and saw it as a task. I had never really believed in anything that was said there, not out of conscious choice but just because none of it made logical sense.

    So when it came time to get in a huddle and pray before High School games, I became uncomfortable. As an employee of a College Football team I have had to sit through mandatory Chapel services prior to pre-game meals.

    I can understand the sentiment. At least partly. There is definitely some value to relating stories from the Bible to experiences for a team and within a game. That's great. However, you can find motivational stories that are relatable from various other resources as well.

    I don't believe that praying to a higher power before the game gives any team an advantage. In the case that there is a God I would hope that his focus would be on something of more importance than a game.

    "To see it pay off like that, with that kind of success, is more of a validation of faith and trust in one another and in God. I donít like to say it too much because I know some people donít like to hear that, but itís a big part of who we are as a team." - Harbaugh

    I just don't agree with announcing this to the world. When you say this, you are speaking for the team. I guarantee you every Raven has some sort of faith in each of their teammates but I also guarantee you that not every Raven has faith in God.

    It doesn't bother me at all that there are religious coaches and players in football. There are religious people everywhere! I don't care what anyone believes if it makes them happy. But it bothers me that religion, specifically Christianity, is looked at as a necessary part of the game.

    As an aspiring Coach, it's sad that I feel like I would have to lie or admit truth to a Coach that was interviewing me if this subject came up. As a Coach, I don't want people in my program to feel the way I had.

    I would hope that any discussion of this topic could be made respectfully. If this has to be moved to politics or whatever that is fine with me. This is something that I've been thinking about for a long time and when I heard this in the press conference I just felt like I needed to vent.

    Go Ravens





  2. #2
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    Re: Football and Faith

    This is more a religious debate than a football one, thus it's getting moved due to the personal nature of religious discussions.
    WARNING: This post may contain material offensive to those who lack wit, humor, common sense and/or supporting factual or anecdotal evidence. All statements and assertions contained herein may be subject to literary devices not limited to: irony, metaphor, allusion and dripping sarcasm.




  3. #3

    Re: Football and Faith

    Quote Originally Posted by HoustonRaven View Post
    This is more a religious debate than a football one, thus it's getting moved due to the personal nature of religious discussions.
    No problem.




  4. #4

    Re: Football and Faith

    This is timely as it's being discussed by Ryan Mink on the Ravens website today. http://www.baltimoreravens.com/news/...5-217ef3478517

    Similarly it's something I've wondered about to myself for some time, and I'm with you. The interjection of particular religions and a personal God wouldn't inspire me. It would distract and confuse me, if for only a moment.

    At the same time, the Ravens have never been particularly shy about the overt presence of Christianity that permeates their organization. I think they look specifically for players who embrace that belief system. And they are certainly entitled to that.

    They also deserve credit for something Mink wrote about during the whole flap between Brendon Ayanabadejo and Emmitt Burns over same sex marriage:

    “We support Brendon’s right to freedom of speech under the First Amendment,” Cass said.

    Ayanbadejo was nervous that his actions could impact the Ravens’ fan base. That was until Cass stopped him in the hallway outside the team’s dining room Friday afternoon. Ayanbadejo recounted their exchange to a group of reporters immediately afterwards.

    “[He said] we’re in support of you and it’s good that you’re able to voice your opinion and say how you feel,” Ayanbadejo said. “Dick personally told me, ‘We’re not an organization that discriminates.’”

    Ayanbadejo said the two talked about the changing sentiment about same-sex marriage, both nationally and within locker rooms. The conversation left Ayanbadejo ecstatic.

    “It really made my day that Dick Cass went out of his way to talk to me today and support me, and that it came down from Mr. Bisciotti,” he said. “The Ravens organization is everything that I ever thought it was. It kind of made me feel even deeper rooted in this organization.”
    I would just encourage you to stay the path in your own coaching style and belief system. Putting myself in the position of an aspiring coach for a moment, I think it's more important to preach faith and belief in the context of the sport itself rather than in the context of something as supposedly personal as religion or a personal God. And like you, I would hope any God would be paying attention to something other than the Baltimore Ravens, as much as I love them.

    There are lots of really deserving people throughout the National Football League who do great things, who work hard, etc. Perhaps the Ravens are the most deserving. Time will tell so far as that goes. But it's not going to be divine. It's going to be scientific.

    That's why comments like this make me uncomfortable:

    “Those are three things that bind a football team together and bind a group of people together with each other and with their creator,” Harbaugh said.
    Either way, this makes for an interesting discussion, and whatever they have been doing in that building for the last five years has been working awfully well.




  5. #5

    Re: Football and Faith

    As a Christian, I don't see the pre-game prayer as a prayer to ask for a win. The outcome of the game is almost besides the point. It is a prayer to perform well with your god-given talents, and to be true to yourself, your teammates and your coaches. In my mind, this is no different than someone saying a prayer to themselves before a work day, or a big meeting, or a speech. "Give me the strength to do X."

    And like you, I would hope any God would be paying attention to something other than the Baltimore Ravens, as much as I love them.
    Well, I would hope that he would be paying attention to the individuals that make up the team, as well as the individuals on the other team.

    I think the whole "God is for US and against THEM" gets overplayed sometimes.
    Last edited by JohnBKistler; 11-30-2012 at 10:39 AM.




  6. #6
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    Re: Football and Faith

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnBKistler View Post
    As a Christian, I don't see the pre-game prayer as a prayer to ask for a win. The outcome of the game is almost besides the point. It is a prayer to perform well with your god-given talents, and to be true to yourself, your teammates and your coaches. In my mind, this is no different than someone saying a prayer to themselves before a work day, or a big meeting, or a speech. "Give me the strength to do X."

    Well, I would hope that he would be paying attention to the individuals that make up the team, as well as the individuals on the other team.

    I think the whole "God is for US and against THEM" gets overplayed sometimes.

    From what I've heard from the players themselves (my nephews know Matt Stover and I've talked to him) is they pray for each other during the game and that no one will
    get seriously hurt. God doesn't care who wins a football game but he does care about everyone in the game.

    Players from both teams gathered for years after the game and you seldom if ever saw it on TV but nobody is asking
    God for a win. They just want to play their best and that nobody gets hurt.
    Last edited by AirFlacco; 11-30-2012 at 04:09 PM.
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  7. #7
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    Re: Football and Faith

    Quote Originally Posted by JMUpurkfool View Post
    I don't believe that praying to a higher power before the game gives any team an advantage. In the case that there is a God I would hope that his focus would be on something of more importance than a game.
    Maybe I am wrong, but I don't think that's what they pray for. I believe based on snippets I've caught, it's to pray for safety and to be blessed with good decision making and to make the most of their talent etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by RedSkins Fury View Post
    But at the public school level, I do't see this happening much these days.
    On the surface I agree, I honestly have no idea, but I'd hope anyone not wanting to participate could opt out. If not, they should be able to.

    Quote Originally Posted by TheExtraPoint View Post
    Similarly it's something I've wondered about to myself for some time, and I'm with you. The interjection of particular religions and a personal God wouldn't inspire me. It would distract and confuse me, if for only a moment.
    I don't think I've ever heard any athlete interject a particular religion, at least not in a pre or post game speech.

    Quote Originally Posted by TheExtraPoint View Post
    I would just encourage you to stay the path in your own coaching style and belief system. Putting myself in the position of an aspiring coach for a moment, I think it's more important to preach faith and belief in the context of the sport itself rather than in the context of something as supposedly personal as religion or a personal God. And like you, I would hope any God would be paying attention to something other than the Baltimore Ravens, as much as I love them.
    See my first comment to JMU

    Quote Originally Posted by TheExtraPoint View Post
    That's why comments like this make me uncomfortable:
    “Those are three things that bind a football team together and bind a group of people together with each other and with their creator,” Harbaugh said.
    Again, I don't think anyone out there is really praying for God to help them win over another team, like they are somehow more important, at least not anymore players on one team than another.

    Just take a look at that quote more deeply "bind a football team together and bind a group of people together with each other and with their creator". Harbaugh is talking about this football team AS a group of people, and the belief they share in a higher power brings them together as friends not just as football players or as a football team. but the end result is a strong group of people and football team.
    We are all born ignorant, but one must work hard to remain stupid. - Benjamin Franklin




  8. #8
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    Re: Football and Faith

    Quote Originally Posted by HoustonRaven View Post
    This is more a religious debate than a football one, thus it's getting moved due to the personal nature of religious discussions.
    Is that the real reason? Or are you hoping that by moving it so quickly off the main forum (took you less than 20 minutes by my watch) you're hoping that no one will notice & it'll just go away?

    (Not that I would blame you for that--when your patrons start arguing politics &/or religion it often ends with some fraction of them walking out & never coming back, & that's not going to help site traffic, is it?)

    Honestly, HR, I wish this subject had never come up. This unbeliever (in recovery from Catholicism for over 50 years now) would like nothing better than to continue to cheer for the team that bears the name of his home town & represents it in the NFL without regard to whatever personal beliefs the individual players & coaches entertain.

    Unfortunately John Harbaugh has now made that impossible. For no good reason, he's shoved his beliefs into the face of everyone who follows the Ravens, and that article on the team website makes it clear that he's embedded an entire structure of Christian worship into the fabric of the team that leaves anyone who doesn't get with the program on the outside looking in. (I wonder, for example, what sort of resources the team provides for players with "life issues" other than a "team chaplain" who "always" relates them to "their faith in Christ.")

    Like JMUpurkfool--whose OP is IMHO an outstanding expression of an unbeliever's misgivings re the topic--I don't much care what sort of things others believe in private, no matter how irrational &/or ludicrous they seem to me, so long as they are respectful of their fellow humans in public. Whatever gets you through the night (or the field goal try with the game on the line). But it is not respectful to shove your beliefs into the face of the rest of the world. Particularly when they have nothing whatsoever to do with your business. (Are the Ravens a better team because of this heavy emphasis on religion? To the extent that it builds group cohesion, perhaps--but there are dozens of ways to do that that don't involve imposing untestable, irrational belief systems on everyone. To the extent that it leaves players who don't share those beliefs either out in the cold, or bowing to group pressure & participating uncomfortably, probably not.)

    I have lost so much respect for John Harbaugh since he needlessly opened his mouth about this. Among other things I'm left wondering how much role a player's religious faith (or lack thereof) play in whether he's drafted or signed, & how much a player's "getting with the (worship) program" determines whether he plays or sits or is cut.




  9. #9

    Re: Football and Faith

    Quote Originally Posted by lobachevsky View Post
    Unfortunately John Harbaugh has now made that impossible. For no good reason, he's shoved his beliefs into the face of everyone who follows the Ravens, and that article on the team website makes it clear that he's embedded an entire structure of Christian worship into the fabric of the team that leaves anyone who doesn't get with the program on the outside looking in. (I wonder, for example, what sort of resources the team provides for players with "life issues" other than a "team chaplain" who "always" relates them to "their faith in Christ.")
    Until someone can provide me with evidence that a player's faith, or lack thereof, determines whether he is drafted, signed, played, benched or cut, this must remain baseless speculation.

    In fact, the organization was very supportive - and very public with that support - when a player took a very anti-Catholic position earlier this year.

    Lastly, the team chaplain is a resource available to the team. I believe this person has the ultimate responsibility for player development off of the field: http://www.baltimoreravens.com/team/...7-d4911718af45
    Last edited by JohnBKistler; 11-30-2012 at 02:19 PM. Reason: Quoted poster was speculating - out loud - and not claiming his point.




  10. #10
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    Re: Football and Faith

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnBKistler View Post
    Until someone can provide me with evidence that a player's faith, or lack thereof, determines whether he is drafted, signed, played, benched or cut, this must remain a baseless claim.

    In fact, the organization was very supportive - and very public with that support - when a player took a very anti-Catholic position earlier this year.

    Lastly, the team chaplain is a resource available to the team. I believe this person has the ultimate responsibility for player development off of the field: http://www.baltimoreravens.com/team/...7-d4911718af45
    Agreed.

    The team has gone of it's way to say, repeatedly, that they support all views. Thus, Harb's thoughts about faith are certainly not the official position of the team on religion and faith.

    Rather, it's yet another example of the team supporting all views.

    I have never understood the concept of when someone of faith, usually of the Christian faith, speaks out, they get criticized for it and it makes those folks uncomfortable.

    I am a Theist and do not believe in the Bible (or any organized religion for that matter) but I could care less if someone else believes differently. And I certainly won't criticize them for their beliefs
    WARNING: This post may contain material offensive to those who lack wit, humor, common sense and/or supporting factual or anecdotal evidence. All statements and assertions contained herein may be subject to literary devices not limited to: irony, metaphor, allusion and dripping sarcasm.




  11. #11
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    Re: Football and Faith

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnBKistler View Post
    Until someone can provide me with evidence that a player's faith, or lack thereof, determines whether he is drafted, signed, played, benched or cut, this must remain a baseless claim.
    Please don't put words in my mouth. I made no "claim", not even a conjecture--I simply wondered "out loud" if there is any relationship. Is there any basis for thinking there is? There wasn't until Harbaugh "opened the door" to that sort of speculation by needlessly making the situation so public as to be nearly unavoidable.

    Quote Originally Posted by ActualSpamBot View Post
    Please ignore lob, he's making rational unbelievers look like shrill, militant nutters.
    Please ignore ActualSpamBot, he clearly did not understand my post.

    I have no problems with an individual's beliefs so long as he doesn't go out of his/her way to foist them on others. But when the head coach of a sports team that represents my home town (not an avowedly religious institution like Notre Dame or TCU or Southern Methodist) goes out of his way to institute in his operation, not just a spiritual structure but a religious structure associated with one particular religion, and then goes out of his way to publicize it, it is neither "shrill" nor "militant" for a non-believer to express deep misgivings.




  12. #12

    Re: Football and Faith

    Quote Originally Posted by lobachevsky View Post
    Please don't put words in my mouth. I made no "claim", not even a conjecture--I simply wondered "out loud" if there is any relationship. Is there any basis for thinking there is? There wasn't until Harbaugh "opened the door" to that sort of speculation by needlessly making the situation so public as to be nearly unavoidable.
    Ok...I changed my post from "claim" to "speculation".




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