The Unusual Pre-Game Routine of Praying

From+left+to+right%3A+Ben+Howard+%E2%80%9921%2C+Griffin+Lundquist+%E2%80%9918%2C+Jonny+Maisonet+%E2%80%9918%2C+Jackson+Dembski+%E2%80%9918.+Ian+Cooney+%E2%80%9918
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The Unusual Pre-Game Routine of Praying

From left to right: Ben Howard ’21, Griffin Lundquist ’18, Jonny Maisonet ’18, Jackson Dembski ’18. Ian Cooney ’18

From left to right: Ben Howard ’21, Griffin Lundquist ’18, Jonny Maisonet ’18, Jackson Dembski ’18. Ian Cooney ’18

From left to right: Ben Howard ’21, Griffin Lundquist ’18, Jonny Maisonet ’18, Jackson Dembski ’18. Ian Cooney ’18

From left to right: Ben Howard ’21, Griffin Lundquist ’18, Jonny Maisonet ’18, Jackson Dembski ’18. Ian Cooney ’18

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By: Clay Crouch ’18

Most who play sports have a pregame routine. They do it before every game and never change it. Some athletes tie their shoes a certain way, others listen to a certain song. Most football players at Staples are no different than other athletes when it comes to pregame procedure. However, a select few do something pretty uncommon, they pray.

Every Friday before football games, a group of players walk into Saint Lukes Church in Westport. “We kneel and pray silently, then we stand up and Jackson [Dembski ’18] leads us in a group prayer,” Johnny Maisonet ’18 said. “We say the ‘Our Father’ and then leave.”

This short prayer may not seem like a game changer but to those who partake in it, it makes all the difference. “Praying before the game helps me calm down and focus only on football,” Ian Cooney ’18 said. He explained the prayer serves as a way to seek peace before the violence of the game.

Some people may look at this pre-game tradition as odd considering that most would not categorize Westport as an overly religious town. When asked if they felt judged for participating, Dembski responded. “Our teammates let us do our thing and don’t really question it,” he said. “I don’t feel judged at all. I feel proud.”

Pre-game routines have a single purpose: to ease the mind of athletes and to improve their performance. Ultimately, the football players’ prayer serves that very purpose. “ It helps me play better,” Dembski said.

From left to right: Ben Howard ’21, Griffin Lundquist ’18, Jonny Maisonet ’18, Jackson Dembski ’18. Ian Cooney ’18

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