The mission of the Catholic Youth Apostolate is to help all young people hear and actively respond to the Gospel message of Jesus Christ and enthusiastically participate in the life and mission of Jesus Christ and His Church.

2018 Sports Summit
2018 Sports Banquet

Retrieving The Impossible

Last fall, my daughter was on a flight from Newark to Burlington, VT. She texted me, “Hey Dad, I’m on a plane with the UMBC soccer team”. Being a college sports fan, I was amazed I had never heard of UMBC. Quick to Google. UMBC – University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Division I. American East Conference. I quickly texted my daughter with my new found information. She texted in return, “Who cares Dad, they’re cute”.

Last Friday they weren’t just cute; they were epic.

Going into their game with top-seeded Virginia, UMBC was trying to become the first #16 seeded team to beat a #1 seed in the NCAA tournament. Previous #16 seeds were 0-135. It seemed an impossible task. Virginia was the #1 team in the country. UMBC’s point guard is 5”8”. Virginia’s Pack Line defense is one of the best ever. UMBC’s mascot is a golden retriever, for Pete’s sake. There is NO way.

Final score: UMBC 74, Virginia 54.


There are so many teachable moments in a game like this. So many things you can relate to everyday life. Let’s talk about a few:
• Never believe you cannot win the game.
• Sports are fun.
• Every game is a life lesson.


It would have been easy, almost understandable, for the UMBC players to feel they had no chance to win. Head coach Ryan Odom had this to say after the game:
I think kids are being told you can’t do this, you can’t do that, whether it’s in sports or outside sports. What our kids were able to accomplish should be a lesson to everybody. You can do it, man. You just have to put your mind to it and work hard and hopefully good things will happen for you.

Great things happen when you first believe they will happen. As CYC coaches, we should always instill in our kids the belief that they have a chance to be successful if they put forth the effort.


Another great quote from Coach Odom, speaking of his UMBC players:
I take so much joy in watching them smile and not just at the end there, but throughout the game. You know, I think it’s pretty easy to tell, to everybody in the arena, these guys have passion. These guys love to play this game. This game means a lot to them. It’s just a special, special effort.

As a coach, do you notice if your kids are having fun? If they are not, why? CYC sports are supposed to be fun. A coach has the opportunity to make the game fun. A parent can have an impact on whether your kid enjoys the game or dreads the game. If we scream, yell, criticize, and berate our kids during the game, it sucks the joy out the experience. It ceases to be fun. Our kids need to see you enjoying the game and having fun. It’s contagious.


Sports provide the opportunity to teach our kids many life lessons. Virginia Coach Tony Bennett provided all of us with a shining example of how to lose with class and how to see sports in the big picture of life.


Praise the winner. Look for the positive in your team. Understand the big picture. Be accountable for your performance. Maintain composure. Coach Bennett did it all.

Our kids are looking at us, as parents and coaches, to lead in the proper way. They are seeking the right way to act in every situation. They need to see a respectful demeanor displayed at all times. Are we giving our kids what they need? As much fun as it is to win, there is a lot to learn from a loss. Let's get it right!

Hey Ref!

I wish I had a dollar for every time I heard, “Hey Ref”, from the stands, the sideline, or the bench. Officiating any sport is not easy. You need to know the game, learn the rules, get in shape, deal with conflict, and make split second decisions under pressure. Most fans don’t know the rules or how a game should be called; but they think they do. They have no qualms about expressing their opinions. It can be a challenge.

But here’s a secret from someone who officiated for over 35 years. It’s worth every second.


The officiating profession is nearing a critical time. Many long time officials are leaving, and not enough younger officials are taking their place. The results of this shortage will effect sports at all levels. In the St Louis area, the shortage is in all sports, at all levels. Here is what may happen at the high school level. Freshmen sports eliminated; football games on Wednesday and Thursday night, officials working too many games. What about CYC? Some parishes are telling us that due to a lack of officials they will no longer be able to provide gyms or fields for games.


• Stay active in a sport you love.
• Be involved in the game.
• Make lasting friendships with other officials.
• Make a positive contribution to the sport.
• Great way to get in shape and make a few extra bucks.

Sure, we all hear about the wild games and crazy fans and coaches. But, like most things, the positive memories far outweigh the negative. There is nothing more exciting than a close game. Officiating allows you to be an integral part of the excitement.


On April 4th, at 6:30pm, at Parkway West High School, there will be an Officials Recruitment Night sponsored by St Louis SCORES. There will be representatives from all the high school sports in our area. They will let you know the in’s and out’s of officiating. Current officials in each sport will be on hand to answer questions.

At the CYC level, contact your parish sport representative. They will let you know what you need to do to officiate at the CYC level. Many local high school officials started out as CYC officials. It is a great training ground. Talk to those who officiate at your parish gym or field. Get out there and have some fun!

BBall RAS: A Classy & Generous Gesture by a CYC Coach

As the regular CYC Basketball season is winding down, we are sure that there have been many, many unreported Random Acts of Sportsmanship on courts all across the Archdiocese. Keep sending us your RAS, and we will keep posting them. They stand as examples and inspiration for everyone who hears about them.

Keep your eyes open for those Random Acts of Sportsmanship by players, coaches, officials and fans. Then report them to the CYC Office. Simply send an email describing the act to:

The latest RAS is about one coach's small act that impacted many:

St. Joseph-Manchester’s 8th Grade girls basketball team was scheduled to play its final game (ever again) at St. Clement. As the coach and players were warming up and getting set to do battle, St. Clement Coach Ryan Beller approached and asked if this was the St. Joe’s team’s last game. He said that he had purchased roses with ribbons in the school colors tied to them for the St. Joe's girls to give to their moms prior to the game.

In the words of another coach: “All I can say is WOW, what a classy and generous gesture by Coach Beller. In my humble opinion Coach Beller showed the girls, me, parents, and everyone in the gym Saturday what CYC sports are supposed to be about, and I thank and applaud him!!"

To read more RAS stories, follow this link to our new RAS Page...

Please Take Your Seat

Last summer, I was watching a CYC baseball game. The coach for one team sat at the entrance to the dugout on a bucket. It was a painter’s bucket; the kind coaches often use to carry baseballs to the game. He encouraged his players, yelled to fielders to move this way and that way, and clapped for good plays. In between innings, he would stand up and glad hand players as they returned from the field. Every once in a while, he would stop a player, and quietly, but with intent, offer instruction. Then he would take his seat on the bucket. He was in control of his team; while seated.


Recently, at a CYC basketball game, a coach told me to be sure and watch him during the game. “I can be quite animated on the sideline. My parents tell me they sometimes enjoy watching me coach as much as watching the game. I never sit down”.

When did it become so important, as a coach, to be standing for the whole game? Most will say it came with the beginning of televised 24-hour sports channels that glorify coaches to a celebrity status. Watch a college basketball game. Coaches pacing the sideline, sometimes running up and down the court, arms flailing, shouting at players and refs.


While a coach is an integral part of the team, he/she should not to be the main focus of the team. A successful team is made up of players who do their best to add value to the group. The coach guides this process with the instruction of critical skills and development of the right attitude for fun and success for the players on the team. 

CYC coaches should always work toward the betterment of their team. You should focus on what you can do to make the players successful; not on what will make you look good in the eyes of others.

When a coach stands on the sidelines, yelling and screaming, they take the focus of the game away from the players and place it on themselves. This does not benefit the success of the team. This is not the proper example for our CYC players.


Next game, try coaching while seated. Your players will still hear you. You will appear more relaxed and in control. You will feel more relaxed and in control. You will be sitting on the bench with your coaches and players.

UCLA coach John Wooden, shown above, won ten NCAA basketball championships in twelve years. Wooden never saw the need to be the focus of attention by standing to coach. Seemed to work well for him.

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