The Faith of the West Point Football Team
The RecordOnline reports on the many faithful members of the US Military Academy’s football team:
They sprint onto Blaik Field and head directly to the north end zone. About 20 or so Army teammates take a knee and pray individually.
Some prayers last a few seconds. Others are deeper. They ask for both teams to be safe. They express how thankful they are for the opportunity and ability they’ve been given.
“Sometimes, I stand up after I’m done praying and I look around and I couldn’t be happier,” said Jon Crucitti, a sophomore running back. “There’s just so many guys down there. They are here for all the right reasons.”
Faith and football has an interesting and wide-ranging history, from Fisher Deberry at the US Air Force Academy, to Midshipmen at the US Naval Academy, to Tim Tebow, now of the Denver Broncos. It seems much of the West Point football ritual involves teammate-led prayer and reflection:
Justin Schaaf stands on the 33-yard line and prays before each game. “That’s the age Christ died,” says Schaaf, a senior linebacker.
Just minutes earlier, Schaaf is leading the team in a pregame prayer inside Army’s locker room. It’s called, “Schaaf Time,” on the team’s game-day itinerary. Schaaf reads a passage from the Bible, helping his teammates get mentally prepared for what lies ahead.
Kick returner Cadet Scott Williams has a similar drive from his faith:
Scott Williams says West Point was his calling…
“The whole reason why I’m here is because of religion,” Williams said. “I honestly don’t know how people get through without religion. I base everything on what Christ did and he was the ultimate warrior.”
These West Point cadets have brought their faith to their profession, and they are integrating their faith into their lives. By all accounts, some of their teammates have joined them, and they give no indication of anything but positive responses.
Becoming a military cadet — whether at West Point or any of the other military academies — does not mean you have to abandon your faith. In fact, as some of these cadets have mentioned, being a football player or military cadet of faith can give you an immensely influential platform to share your faith.