Arlington Seguin offensive linemen Ali Elaydi, left, and Mohannad Hussein won the respect of teammates and coaches by enduring strenuous practices with no food or water during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
Enduring a typical high school football practice can be grueling, even for the most fit of athletes.
Now imagine tolerating a three-hour practice in intense Texas heat without consuming a bite of food or drop of water since the sun came up.
That's what Muslim football players experienced this past month as they observed Ramadan, a holy month when followers fast from sunrise to sunset. Muslims are expected to be especially pure in thought and action during Ramadan. No cursing, no lying, etc.
Arlington Seguin senior left guard Mohannad Hussein, 17, and sophomore right guard Ali Elaydi, 15, were two such players who observed Ramadan, which ended last weekend, and continued to excel for the Cougars.
"I'm in awe of them." Seguin coach Ricky Albus said. "I really don't know how they do it. I know our players and coaches have a lot of respect for them for what they went through."
What does Ramadan mean to you?
Ali: At first, I didn't know what it was. I just did it because my parents did it. But the older you get, the more you realize what it means.
Mohannad: We fast and pray a lot as a way to feel for the poor. But it's not just about fasting. There are other sacrifices you have to make. You have to live clean. (MORE)