Javier Hernandez Asked to Skip Prayer Ritual on Visit to Rangers
Javier Hernandez knows that his manager is his co-pilot.
The Lord is on the pitch at some point in every game around the world. With fixture lists growing each year due to more international friendlies, qualifying matches, playoff rounds, or some new and inconvenient world tournament, God's omnipresence is getting a real test.
Most often He is seen before games and in second halves. Watching Serie A, God descends the sideline with each substitute who crosses his chest, crosses his forehead, kisses his thumb, and looks to the sky. How many times has the fourth official born witness to this ritual? Still, it is a private moment between man and his god. The acknowledgement is quick and somewhat inconspicuous.
Javier Hernandez takes this to an unprecedented level. Just before kickoff, when attention is given to the center circle, there is Hernandez, prostrate, arms extended, eyes closed. The ritual is drawn out either because Hernandez must recite a lot of text or he needs the time to achieve altered consciousness. The holy swoon is rapturous. Manchester United fans don't mind if their new signing continues to impress. One wonders what Wayne Rooney is thinking standing there beside him.
In the U.S, the spectacle has its equivalent in American football when teams, mostly at the high school or small college level, come together before the game to pray. In the more secular European arena, the sight must be odd, but since Europeans love Mexico, there may be some anthropological curiosity and tolerance for it.
In Edinburgh, far more benign symbolism has been known to deeply offend or incite violence. No one wants to endure twenty seconds of the little pea ratcheting up the tension, no matter how innocent his intentions. Sir Alex Ferguson, who has a history of honorable sensitivity to local religious tensions, has made the right decision by asking Hernandez to tone it down, a lot.