Kingwood enjoys private school, Christian atmosphere
By BAKER ELLIS / Sports Reporter
ALABASTER – Athletics and faith are kept separated in public high school sports. Coaches and players of any religion have to check their beliefs at the door before taking part in any public school related endeavor. The separation of church and state is one of the cornerstones America was founded on, and schools funded by taxpayers must adhere to that maxim.
Private schools, however, do not have the same restrictions and can be as faith-centric as they choose to be. Kingwood Christian School in Alabaster is a private school that is built on Christian values, Athletic Director Eddie Toles said.
“What I like about the environment (at Kingwood) is that we can pray without being protested,” Toles said. “We can pray whenever we want to. We can stop practice and pray for a kid if he needs it.”
In addition to this freedom, Toles believes the role of coaches in their athletes’ lives can be incredibly impactful with the addition of religion. For young athletes, coaches are almost always venerated as role models, either willingly or not. Whether a coach wants to accept the responsibility of being a role model in a kid’s life or not, the fact remains coaches hold a special place in the lives of those they coach.
“It’s an awesome opportunity to witness to these kids,” Toles said. “I remember some stuff my teachers said, but not a whole lot, but I can quote what my coaches said when I was young. That stuff sticks with you. I attest a lot of my Christian faith on coaches I had growing up.”
What that does not mean for Kingwood, according to Toles, is a drop in the quality of teams that the Lions have. When asked if he believes whether or not the addition of a religious element hinders the on-field product, Toles simply responds with, “absolutely not.”
“A lot of these good athletes at bigger schools get lost in the shuffle,” Toles said. “Here, they get opportunities they may not get anywhere else.”
The combination of the faith they are able to share and the quality of talent on the field makes Toles believe Kingwood is a unique environment.