By P. Erik Meyer ’14
Before most sporting events at Brophy, coaches and teammates can be seen participating in a group prayer.
“It has been a long Ignatian tradition,” said the Rev. Harry Olivier, S.J. “Do we always pray for victory? No, we don’t, we pray that we use the talents that we have.”
Fr. Olivier has served as the chaplin for Brophy since the 1980s and has witnessed the tradition across sports and generations.
“With the football team there was always Mass and then the prayer before the games,” Fr. Olivier said. “Going way back even to the year 1960 when I was in San Francisco, I was the JV chaplin for football and we said it then. So it’s a long tradition to have a prayer before. To pinpoint exactly where it all began, I think just talking to other chaplins at other schools, I would say it was always accepted.”
This particular tradition has been consistent with the football teams, but in recent years other teams have created their own rituals.
“It was evoked then and especially for the football team, with the basketball team sometimes the chaplin would say (the prayer) or the coach would say it, same thing with other teams,” Fr. Olivier said. “Often the soccer team has their prayer out in front of the St. Ignatius statue, other teams might do it on the field or in the locker room.”
Senior Austin Hall ’14, who is a member of the varsity football and track teams, said that track has their own prayer as well.
Hall said he and his teammates take pre-game prayers and Mass seriously.
“It’s a super serious moment,” Hall said. “You’ve got to give it its respect because if anyone is messing around during that time then we are definitely not focused for the game.”
The prayers with the football team have generally been the same for decades.
“With the football team we would say an Our Father and Our Lady of Victory. It goes back well into the 70s,” Fr. Olivier said.
Masses and prayers before and after games are carried out even if not convenient.
“The prayer after, the football team comes into the Chapel after each game no matter what time it is,” Fr. Olivier said. “Sometimes we get back from Tucson Salpointe and it might be two in the morning and we still go to Chapel and I’m always impressed, there are always petitions, ‘let us pray for…’”
Hall said pre-game Mass is more than just a spiritual moment.
“To have the Mass is to really get your mind focused on who you’re playing for and why you’re playing and to have the ability to play for something greater than yourself,” Hall said. “Then right before we run out of the locker room we say a Lord’s Prayer.”
For Fr. Olivier, one particular pre-game prayer stands out.
“Before we went out to the state championship and that was the locker room,” Fr. Oliver said as he pointed to a photo hanging on his wall. “You have that feeling of we have something to accomplish and we’re going to do it. No one says it, but its just that sixth sense that you know, we’re underdogs but we’re going to do it.”