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The Northwood Howler

The Student News Site of Northwood High School

The Northwood Howler

The Student News Site of Northwood High School

The Northwood Howler

Playing the Long Game: Ramadan’s impact on athletes

Aya Takase-Songui
FINDING BALANCE: Junior Ines Khodja continues to practice her softball swing during practice even through Ramadan fasting.

As athletes approach the finish line after the final lap, push through their last weight-lifting set or anticipate the final point on the field, the idea of an ice-cold water and post-game meal can often serve as motivators to finish strong. However, the month of Ramadan can pose challenges to Muslim student-athletes as they fast from food and water from sunrise to sunset. 

This holy month, which began on March 11, has been greatly anticipated by Muslims around the world for its festivities, religious connection and community aspect. This is also true for student athletes as fasting can add challenges to a practice schedule.

“Fasting definitely makes everything a lot more tiring just because of all the extra stuff we have to do along with not drinking and eating throughout the day,”  JV track and field runner junior Ayesha Siddiqui said. “I always try to set and achieve goals in track, but during Ramadan my priority is my religion and my health and I try to find ways to achieve my goals while also keeping that priority.”

With Ramadan recently falling during a crucial junction of the spring sports season, athletes must work to maintain the stamina they built during the off-season. While this interruption can demotivate athletes, many have made adjustments by eating well during suhoor, the pre-dawn meal, and iftar, the breaking-fast meal. 

“I try to go to the gym an hour before iftar, but I learn to also give myself grace as I don’t want to strain my body,” varsity lacrosse player senior Hanah Khattab said. “I do a lot of preparation like eating a good meal and drinking a lot of water during suhoor, but fasting is a lot of a mental game so I try to think about the blessings and the beauty of fasting.”

The strain that comes with Ramadan is not only amplified by the stress of dedicating time to the sport, but it can be challenging for athletes to communicate with their coaches to request necessary accommodations. 

Many coaches allow their athletes to set their own boundaries based on individual capabilities, helping students prioritize themselves while fasting. Despite the struggles, Muslim athletes persist to perform well in their sports by embodying Ramadan’s values, adding to the beauty of this beloved month. 

“Fasting while playing sports is definitely a challenge,” lacrosse player freshman Azra Odabasoglu said. “I love lacrosse and it shows dedication and love for the sport.”

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About the Contributors
Raya Abu-Tarif
Raya Abu-Tarif, Staff Writer
Raya is a staff writer for the Northwood Howler. You can always count on her having a book on her and she can usually weave Taylor Swift, Grey’s Anatomy, or Gilmore Girls into any conversation.
Aya Takase-Songui
Aya Takase-Songui, Photo Editor
Aya Takase is the Photo Editor for The Howler, who claims to like horror films but as of now has only watched 3. Despite coming from a long line of professional gardeners, she lacks a green thumb and has killed every household plant she touches.

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