School is in session. The days are shorter. The faint, first chills of autumn can be felt in the evening air under Friday night lights.
Football season is upon us.
Just like other sports, there is no shortage of religious allegory in football. But few sports, if any, boast such a strong Catholic connection as does football with the ubiquitous term “Hail Mary.”
In the very first weekend of the 2015 college football season, we’ve already seen a remarkable, successful, and some might say “miraculous” execution of the “Hail Mary pass” in the final play of the BYU vs. Nebraska game. (If you haven’t seen the play, click here.)
But where did this term come from?
Ryan Scheel of uCatholic.com did some research.
The expression goes back at least to the 1924 Notre Dame backfield; the famed Four Horsemen. The Four Horsemen were Quarterback Harry Stuhldreher, Halfbacks Don Miller, and Jim Crowley, and Fullback Elmer Layden. Riding the talent of the perhaps most fabled quartet in college football history, Notre Dame established itself as a football powerhouse, losing only 2 games in the 3 years they were together.
And the next time you see a “Hail Mary,” remind your friends that the pass is named after the prayer (and the person) – not the other way around.
Now, if we could just come up with Catholic terms for a free-throw and a home run…