The Texas A&M Aggies football team ventured courageously into Saturday’s game against the University of Alabama, but it was unlikely they would pull off a win against the best team in the country.
The previously unranked Aggies were facing a top-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide team that had won its previous 19 games, and A&M was considered a heavy underdog coming off two-straight losses.
Despite this, though, the Aggies were able to stick with the Crimson Tide the entire game, and claimed a 41-38 victory thanks to a last-second field goal from kicker Seth Small.
Now, school officials say that there may have been some divine power involved.
Texas A&M Chancellor John Sharp recently revealed to The Eagle, a local newspaper near A&M’s campus in College Station, that he had asked a trio of clergymen from a local Catholic center to bless the team’s stadium, Kyle Field, before the game.
The request reportedly came from a former chair of the Texas A&M System Board of Regents, and Sharp thought that it was “a great idea.” This is not the first time that such a blessing has been made, as Sharp had also asked the center to do the same after Kyle Field’s 2015 renovation.
So, before the game, Rev. Will Stratten of St. Mary’s Catholic Center led an “Order for the Blessing of a Gymnasium or a Field for Athletics” from the Catholic Book of Blessings, and also sprinkled holy water throughout the field.
The Eagle stated that several Texas A&M football players were members of St. Mary’s Catholic Center.
The clergy also created an accompanying video and tribute to the upcoming game. The video featured footage of the blessing, along with Stratten and Revs. Chris Smith and Andrew Dinh, waving A&M rally towels while the team’s fight song played in the background.
“Blessing Kyle Field was a surreal experience for me,” Stratten, a Texas A&M alumni, stated. “Exiting the player’s tunnel and walking onto the empty field was epic. Praying for God to bless the team, the field, and all who enter Kyle Field was a great gift and responsibility.”
“A blessing reminds us that there is something more than what meets the eye,” Stratten continued. “Does God care about football? Maybe or maybe not, but he does care about his children and he wants to give good things to them.”
While Texas A&M is a non-denominational school, StateUniversity.com states that “[A&M] has received high ratings for its conservative students and environment – students are known to pray all the time!”
The university has the second-largest student body in the United States behind the University of Central Florida. Additionally, Texas A&M is the largest senior military college in the country, and has a full-time student Corp of Cadets numbering 2,500.
With their victory Saturday, the Aggies improved their record to 4-2 and now sit at No. 21 in the AP Top 25 Poll. The loss dropped Alabama to 5-1, and they are now No. 5.
Aggies head coach Jimbo Fisher did not know about the blessing before the game, but when asked about it, he said simply, “do it again.”