Coach Is Coach Is Coach
Have the Justices of the Supreme Court never played any type of organized school sport?
If you weren’t absolutely convinced the Supreme Court is just pretty nakedly right now approaching rulings from the perspective of Christian fundamentalist zealotry, Monday’s ruling involving a public school football coach should leave no doubt.
The coach claimed he was fired because he wanted to do private, silent prayer. That happened to have to be on the 50-yard line after games. And in the locker room. Welcoming news crews along when it started becoming a big deal.
The coach insists he never forced any team member to participate.
But anyone who’s ever played any type of organized school sport damn well knows the outsize role “coach” plays in the lives of student athletes.
There’s no “on-off” switch.
If coach wants you to do something, you do it. Whether it’s on the field, or in the locker room, or in his or her office. Whether it’s before, after, or during a game.
So if coach starts making a big show of praying, I’m going to join him whether I want to or not. Especially in high school, where my status on the team connects directly to my social status in the school, and where I’m also thinking about college, so I’m very conscious of maximizing my playing time and being sure I’m going to get a good letter of recommendation going out to prospective college coaches.
So if coach does, I do. Even if it’s unspoken. Even if maybe there is no risk in not doing. Because just in case there is a risk of something punitive in not adhering to coach’s preferences and wishes, I don’t want to be on the wrong side of that.
Does the majority of Supreme Court really not know that? Led in this instance by Justice Gorsuch, who wrote the majority opinion?
Of course not. How do I know that? It’s just not humanly possible not to know.
I’m also not against anybody’s right to pray whenever they want, wherever they want. I could be praying right now. In fact, I am. But I can also say without a doubt I am not imposing my religion on anybody, because there is no one else living in my mind. Nor would it matter if…