High school football team solves Ramadan, heatstroke problem in one fell swoop
The football team at Dearborn (Mich.) Fordson High School reflects the population of its student body, in that both are heavily of the Arabic persuasion.
The challenge for the football team comes when Ramadan, a holy month in Islam whose most prominent feature is the requirement that Muslims refrain from eating and drinking in daylight hours. Dearborn Fordson has learned from past experience that when Ramadan falls during football season, not eating and drinking, intended to bulk up the spiritual strength of the players, tends to sap their physical strength. Plus, players refusing water during hot August practices can be a tad dangerous.
So the Tractors, as they are called, came up with a way to solve the conflict between two religions (Islam and football), prevent heat exhaustion AND give their players a legitimate excuse for breaking curfew. From the Press & Guide Newspapers in Dearborn:
Fordson coach Fouad Zaban said the plan was to work from midnight until about 5 a.m. during the preseason, which this season falls during the period of Ramadan fasting.
“We’ve always had to practice and do some work while most of the kids were fasting and we’ve done what we can to adjust everyone’s schedule,” said Zaban, “but this is the first time we’ve had the opportunity to really do something about it.
“School hasn’t started yet and we don’t have a game for three more weeks, so we can change our schedule around and now we won’t have players running around out there when it’s 90 degrees and they can’t get a drink of water.
“It’s a safety issue, but we think it’s going to be fun, too.”
On top of that, the players will get to spend their fasting time the easiest way possible: sleeping.
Actually, having midnight practices might not be a bad idea for the non-Muslim football population as well, at least as a way to beat the heat. Already this summer, there have been reports out of Atlanta, Kansas City, Rowan County, Ky., of high school football players being taken to hospitals because of heat exhaustion. In the Louisville area — where one Jason Stinson was tried but acquitted after one of his players died during a hot practice — one Christian high school is starting before sunrise.
And its training table isn’t even halal.