Monday, August 9, 2010

How Religion Affects Training Camp

So we always think about all the crazy things that go into NFL and college football training camps this time of year. The lock-downs in dorms, team bonding, two-a-days and sure enough, un-bearably hot temperatures. Every year we hear the story of high school, college and occassionally pro players incurring injury or even death from heat exhaustion. However, I have found a new angle I'm sure NO ONE would think of before reading the article posted here:

For Husain Abdullah of the Minnessota Vikings this time of year brings new challenges and rituals to the training camp scene. You see, Abdullah has an Islamic background and adheres to the pillars of his faith, especially during Ramadan. The Islamic holy month begins this Wednesday, Aug. 11th. The un-educated may ask, well how the hell does that mean anything for training camp? It means a lot.

"Even while sprinting in the heat and humidity during drills, sometimes in full pads, Abdullah is adamant about his faith. He will not allow himself so much as a cup of water until the sun sets and before it rises.

“I’m putting nothing before God, nothing before my religion,” Abdullah said. “This is something I choose to do, not something I have to do. So I’m always going to fast.” (AP and Yahoo)

That's right, he will be fasting from sun-up to sun-down. He will deny himself even a morsel of food, or a drop of water. With all the health warnings put up these days concerning football training camps in the horrid dog-days of August, I have a real admiration for this man's adherence to something that is so personally important to him and how he lives is life. Some may see it as fool-hardy and hazardous, and there's no denying the hazard.

It is however Husain's body, and he see's fit to do with it as he pleases. You may say, "Well team managment and ownership might be upset with him putting 'their investment' in such jeaopardy. After all, they're paying/investing in him the cost of an NFL salary, and they have made an investment in his health and physical fitness." I can certainly see the very valid point in this arguement, especially if his salary has seven figures. However, he is protected under the law just like you and I. Say I work at a store that does the majority of it's business on Sunday mornings, and the owner prefers all hands on deck for that busiest of times. Now add into that, that I may be of Christian faith and worship on Sunday mornings at my church. I have the right to use that time to recognize my faith without penalty from my employer. Yes Mr. Abdullah is taking a sizeable risk with his health, livelihood and life, but it is self-imposed of his own will.

I hope you are all plenty charged with opinions by this point.
Later Gators.

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