Letter to the editor: some sports care about Catholic identity

Though I appreciate Reiley Bartel's opinion about the Catholic Identity of Newman athletics, I'd like to give a different perspective. I am currently the spiritual companion and assistant coach for women's basketball. I'm also a permanent deacon at Church of the Magdalen.

When I began at Newman, our prayer services, prayers before games and practices were 100% deacon-led. Now it is 100% student-led. All of the players and coaches are invited to participate in Advent, Lent, Ash Wednesday and prayer services. It is not mandatory, but the majority of the team attends.

We pray before and after every practice and game. During Lent, we ensure meals include a meatless option for Friday and Ash Wednesday. We say grace aloud as a team when eating at a restaurant. If we travel on a Sunday, we make sure our players can get to Mass.

I know our women's basketball program has a strong Catholic identity and not just because I wear a Roman collar on the bench during games. These athletes are growing in their faith, both Catholic and from other traditions. I would suggest there are other teams at Newman that encourage spiritual growth and take a strong Catholic identity seriously.

Deacon Jeff Jacobs

Assistant women's basketball coach/Spiritual companion