Generic gridiron faith in Sun

Naval Academy chapelSurely, this Baltimore Sun Navy Academy feature story breaks some kind of record for most uses of forms of the words "faith" and "prayer" in a sports story. But if you're looking for facts and details, forget it. Check this out, starting with the headline:

Navy's Dobbs a man of faith

Sophomore quarterback, seeker of divine guidance, answers Mids' prayers

And then in the body of the story:

Ricky Dobbs has spent his first two years at the Naval Academy doing more praying than playing.

The prayers have come for his mother, Barbara Cobb, who has been beset by serious medical problems after a history of drug abuse. They have come for his uncle, Lewis Cobb, who died last year of cancer. Dobbs, a sophomore quarterback from Douglasville, Ga., has also prayed for himself -- that his decision to play for Navy would turn out to be right.

Two or three other prayer references later, we read:

His prayers have not always been answered during his two years in Annapolis, but in a season in which the Midshipmen have lost their two senior quarterbacks to injury, the player whose faith is as strong as his right arm has twice answered their prayers.

You get the idea. This is one faithful, praying guy.

Normally, your GetReligionistas -- especially young master Daniel Pulliam -- are rather happy when sports reporters "get religion." We are not offended by a strong dose of muscular faith.

But what, precisely, is going on in this particular Sun story? As I kept reading, I eventually began to get frustrated. Was this guy a Catholic? Jewish? Muslim? A Pentecostal Protestant? A Mormon? Was this quarterback praying to anybody in particular?

Finally, near the end, there is a single reference to a family member who was a minister and it was this man who "taught Dobbs about the Christian faith."

And that's really all we know. It appears that the young man's faith is very, very, very important to this news story and a very, very, very powerful force in his life. It is also very, very, very vague. Either that, or the Sun team had no idea what this quarterback was talking about, when he discussed any of the details of his faith.

This was one strange story. As the gang says on ESPN these days, "Come on, man!"

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