Newman athletics don't take the Catholic identity seriously

By: Reiley Bartel, Online Editor

I came to Newman from a Catholic high school, Hutch Trinity, and I chose Newman not only for athletics or for a good education. I chose it because I was told that Newman had a strong Catholic identity. I thought that meant more people would partake in daily Mass, more people would participate in campus ministry, students would have strong Catholic ideals and sports teams would go to Mass together.

Flash forward to present day, and I am seeing that the “Catholic identity” I thought Newman adhered to has really been lost. You have to search it out to be a part of it, and it does not feel like it is being taken seriously by the school, especially when it comes to sports.

I can’t speak on what it has been like in previous years because I am only a freshman and was not here, But I can attest to what it is like now, and I can even attest to how it is being a part of athletics as I’m a member of Newman’s softball team. I also know that I am not the only one who feels like sports programs here don’t seem to care that they are a part of a Catholic school.

I have played softball my whole life, and my teams in the past have had to play games on Sundays. That is not my issue. The problem that I am having is that coaches do not even try to get my team to Mass anywhere when we’re playing out of town on Sundays. Growing up, we would find any church nearby that had a time that fit into the schedule, and we would go to Mass. The Catholic church tends to make it easy to find Mass nearby at a time that works for you. There are several websites that list it out for you. It isn’t hard.

Another thing that teams do not do is attend Mass together. Back in high school, if we had a game, we would attend the morning Mass before school started. Here, not many coaches require that. Also, when I attend Mass on Sundays, there are not many students there. It is available right on campus. It is not hard to attend nor is it out of the way. It is literally in the middle of campus.

The ability for Catholic students to observe Lent on campus also doesn’t seem to be a priority at Newman. Just last week, students had to eat little because coaches didn’t choose a restaurant that offered non-meat options. Even the caf does not take the no-meat on Ash Wednesday or even Friday seriously enough.

One thing I feel Newman could do to help solve this issue for Catholic students would be to start requiring student athletes to go to things like Mass or a rosary at least once every two weeks.

Sure, if someone is not Catholic or religious, they can’t be forced to attend. But I believe everyone attending would be good for the individuals and would create a closer team. The team could also attend events like Stations of the Cross or pray the rosary together. It does not have to be a big thing to make a big impact.

I had such high hopes coming to a Catholic college, but the “Catholic” part of Newman, I feel, is minimal. College students always tell stories about how they lose touch with their faith in college and they wish they would not have fallen away. But it seems Newman is falling into that same problem. Instead of proudly being Catholic, we are scared to show our true colors, and it feels like the whole college has fallen to peer pressure.

PHOTO: Reiley Bartel, Online Editor