The informant is a 14 year old male living in New Jersey. He goes to a Catholic Middle School. I asked the informant if there were any special rituals that his hockey team did, be it around game time, practice, traveling, etc. He told me about the ritual that happens before every game. It involves the Monsignor conducting a prayer. It is exactly the same every time, and it unfolds as follows.
Who art in heaven,
hallowed be Thy name;
Thy kingdom come;
Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
and forgive us our trespasses
as we forgive those who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
Elizabeth Ann Seton [saint after which the school is named]
Pray for us
Our lady, queen of victory
Pray for us
The informant described this as a “school thing.” After the Monsignor leaves, the team chants “All right Hall!” The Monsignor tries to go to every single sports team before their game to do this prayer. It is a practice across all sports teams at the school.
I asked the informant why he thinks they do this before every game and he responded, “to ask god to be with us during the game. So that we will win. It didn’t really work out for us, but is is a catholic school soooo…”
My analysis: Nowhere in the bible is it mandated that before every sports game, teams must pray for guidance or else they will lose. My interpretation is that, at this point, the team says the words and follows the Monsignor without actually believing that the prayer is going to have any effect on their performance. They do not leave every game they lose blaming God for not listening to their prayer. My guess is, though, that if they won, they would attribute part of it to the prayer. This being because God is viewed as bearing good, not bad. Furthermore, when things go our way, and we want to continue for them to do so, we try to perform every action exactly the way we did when it went well. While winning a game would mean trusting in the power of the prayer, losing a game, does not constitute changing or getting rid of the prayer…