Concordia Tradition Brought Under Fire (video)

By Eric DeFreeuw

January 11, 2013 Updated Jan 11, 2013 at 11:44 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (www.incnow.tv) – In light of all the gun violence across the country, a local pre-game routine has been called into question. It involves a basketball team, a handful of rifles, and over 40 years of tradition.

For those who are not familiar with the tradition at Concordia Lutheran High School, before every home basketball game, four members of the Concordia JROTC color guard rifle team, or "the mascot," come to center court for player introductions. As each starter is named the mascot shoots off a rifle loaded with blanks. This is done individually for each of the five starters as well as the head coach.

Because actual rifles are used, some in the community are asking whether this is a practice that needs to be retired.

"I think every situation is different, so you have to take that into consideration,” parent and alumnus Diana Fulton says. “But what we do here at Concordia is completely safe. It's a tradition that's been here for years."

Eric Jackson, a 1997 Concordia alumni agrees, saying “it's a noise-maker. It's a tradition."

A couple of parents in attendance disagreed saying the tradition should were against the tradition should probably be discontinued given recent events.

When it comes to the tradition itself, Sergeant First Class Alan Conrad, who’s in charge of the program, claims this is something Corcordia has been doing since he was a student back in 1974.

Each year eight cadets are hand-picked from the sophomore class, but only the best and brightest get to use the rifles. In order to be selected the students must be tops in their drills as well as maintaining at least a 3.0 grade point average. This is an honor that students cannot even volunteer for.

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