Despite Orders Not To, Washington High School Football Coach Prays On Field After Game

joe-kennedy-prays-on-field

As Joe Kennedy knelt to pray at the 50-yard-line Friday night he felt a presence around him.

And it grew.

The assistant football coach at Bremerton High School in Washington state was being joined by some of his opponents and fans — some of whom had come to the game to pray with him.

After the Knights’ homecoming loss to the Centralia Tigers, Kennedy walked to the middle of the football field, hoping to say his usual thanks to God by himself.

He had been told not to do it. The Bremerton School District had said if he prayed while on duty as a coach he would be violating federal law.

Kennedy, as he has done after most games for seven years, prayed anyway, defying the order. He opened his eyes to find a huge crowd of supporters around him.

It was overpowering. The coach cried as he spoke to reporters.

“I’ve got my eyes closed and I feel all these people around me. I’m like, God, I hope those aren’t kids,” Kennedy told CNN affiliate KIRO of Seattle and other media outlets. “I’m sitting there and I’m going, ‘God, thank you for this opportunity. And … if this is the last time I step on the field with these guys …”

CNN called the school district on Saturday but didn’t receive an immediate reply.

According to the Seattle Times, Kennedy, 46, has never asked anyone else to participate in the postgame prayer. And at first, it went largely unnoticed but players began to join him. One of them is a Bremerton captain. He’s agnostic.

“It’s about unity. We can be mad at each other all we want during a game and get upset, but once the game is over, that all goes away,” Ethan Hacker told the Times. “What (Kennedy) does brings us all together no matter how much we despise each other.”

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SOURCE: CNN, Steve Almasy