Despite the uncooperative weather, spring sports are gearing up for the new season. Our high school baseball team has been putting their pitching mound to use in the gym, the girls softball team is running drills, the track team has been out for after school runs and the 5/6 baseball team began practice yesterday. New to MRA this year is rugby, with practices on Sundays at Proctor Academy.
Maybe you didn’t know this about me, but I love sports, not just because of their entertainment value but because they truly have the ability to make people better. Youth sports, in particular, have value far beyond simply the fun they provide; few experiences in a child’s life are as character forming as participation in sports. The late, great Vince Lombardi summarized all sports through his lens of coaching college and professional athletes: “Football is a great deal like life in that it teaches that work,sacrifice, perseverance, competitive drive, selflessness and respect for authority is the price that each and every one of us must pay to achieve any goal that is worthwhile.” This is the value of athletics at our school, its support of our mission to form the whole person.
There are innumerable articles written on how today’s overzealous parents are ruining youth sports: the conviction that their child is in training for a career as an elite athlete, the strategizing to get their child into a top-tier program, the criticism of volunteer coaches when their child is not front and center at every game. This mindset, so much more common now than it was for us growing up, counteracts the immeasurable benefit of youth sports. Whether or not your child ever goes on to play linebacker for the Pats, producing consistent hard work, putting aside ego to be part of a team, picking oneself up after failure, persevering through difficulty, showing graciousness in victory, practicing sportsmanship always, and respecting rules are life lessons that become part of the fabric of who our children are. There is no doubt that sports, approached with growth of character rather than glorification of individual ego in mind, can be instrumental is bringing out the best version of themselves in our children, so we are fortunate to have an ever-growing athletics program here at MRA.
Now, after all that, I have a request from the athletics department. Girls softball is a start-up team for MRA this year, and is in need of equipment. Should anyone have equipment (catchers gear, bats, etc.) in good condition which would fit high school girls, please consider dropping it off in the St. Joseph Center gym. Equipment for younger players is not needed at this time.
We hope you will support our teams whenever possible throughout the spring season. Schedules can be found on the athletics page of our school website, and the kids love to have a fan base present at events. GoKnights!