The goals of the CYO sport philosophy are basically to provide our Catholic school and parish youth with an opportunity to participate in sports and in the process teach and support the Gospel values.
Our philosophy and values are very different from those of other youth sport programs. Ours are different because we invite Christ to be a participating member of our game, all four quarters. In addition, we expect all of our participants to participate a specified amount of time in every contest including tournament play.
In a perfect CYO world, our athletes, coaches and officials would play their parts in a CYO contest, afterwards they would congratulate one another, win or lose, thank the officials and perhaps strike up a friendship with a player from the opposite team.
For the most part that is what takes place at many of our Saturday contests. The CYO football program has helped athletes from schools get to know one another. Two to five schools may go together to form a region football club in CYO. Participants play together as a team for football and against one another in basketball and other sports.
It is always edifying to me to watch professional sport participants congratulate friends on opposing teams after a contest. The actions send a message that these participants have a healthy perspective of the game and respect their opponents. They see the contest as an event that ends when the buzzer sounds. It does not continue into the locker room or off the field into the parking lot.
The CYO philosophy does not end when an athlete graduates from the eighth grade and moves on to high school. This respect that Christ modeled for us and calls us to show to one another includes our high school sport participation.
If we are serious about living the Gospel values, then Jesus should be in the game all four quarters win or lose. After the game he can be seen shaking hands with his opponents again, win or lose.
Yes, that’s right, Jesus is in the game all four quarters if you and I and our coach give witness to Jesus in our actions toward one another including our opponents!