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.

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Lacrosse 2019

7 Observations From The CYC Hoops Playoffs

1. Kids Can Play – We were so impressed with the caliber of play in our playoffs. There are some talented players on our courts. Kids played hard from beginning to end. We know some players are coming from other games, in various sports. Amazing how much energy they have. We hope every player had fun, regardless of the outcome of their game.

2. Coaches Can Coach – Our CYC parents are good coaches. Our players have been taught the right way to play. Many coaches are encouraging their players to do their best and play as a team. Fundamentals, like protecting the ball, boxing out, using the clock, are taught to our kids at all levels.
One coach, sensing his players were a little nervous to start, called an early timeout. He joked with the kids, got them to laugh a little, and then encouraged them to go out and just have fun. We want the kids to have fun playing CYC sports.

3. Our Districts Put On a Show – The St Charles and South County districts hosted the playoffs this season. Their volunteers worked the score tables, played music, announced starting line-ups, played the National Anthem, and made sure everyone was welcome to their gym. They put in a lot of time and effort for two weekends of basketball for our kids. Volunteers are so important to our organization. Thanks for making the playoff experience special for our athletes.

4. Kudos to the Zebras - For some, it may be difficult to compliment the referees, but our crew deserves the praise. CYC playoff games can be very stressful. Our officials worked hard each game. Officiating basketball is not easy. Our referees put up with a lot, but they are all devoted to the game and to making things run smoothly. We are proud of the group of officials who work the CYC playoffs. We appreciate their hard work and patience.

5. Fans in The Stands – Parents, relatives, classmates, neighbors; all came out to cheer for their teams. The bigger crowds give the game a different feel. It can energize the players and inspire them to greater effort. Some of you brought signs, pom-pom’s, and stood up and danced during timeouts. The athletes appreciate you being there for them at the big game. Years from now, kids always remember parents at their games, supporting their efforts.

6. We Have Some Issues – We still have some things to work on as players, coaches and fans:
• Players need to learn how to deal with adversity. Things don’t always go your way. They need to learn the proper way to handle these situations. That’s up to parents and coaches.
• Part of the reason the kids can’t handle adversity is because their parents and coaches are modeling inappropriate responses to calls that don’t go their way or shots that don’t fall. We need to show kids the right way.
• We need to learn how to be responsible for our own actions. If the team loses; if you have an off game; if you foul out, it’s often because of something you have done or have not done. Sometimes your shots aren’t falling that day; sometimes you foul out because you played too aggressively or didn’t adjust to a tightly called game; sometimes you lose because the other team was better that day. Always look in the mirror before you point your finger.

7. Basketball is The Most Emotional Sport – I know some soccer fans will disagree, but basketball is the most emotionally charged game in CYC sports. Intense action on a small court, split-second calls, fans and coaches close to the action. The emotion can be the best and the worst the sport has to offer. There were plenty of tears and joyful smiles this past weekend.

After one of the 8th grade final games, I observed the losing coach speak with his team in a huddle. Here is what he said. “I know we didn’t get the outcome we had hoped for today. I wish I could change that. You kids deserved better. Here’s what I know. I have coached you guys since third grade. We have had a lot of fun together, and all of you have blessed me in ways you will never know. Years from now, you will all look back at this game, and you’ll say to yourself, ‘We made it to the finals. That was pretty cool’. It was pretty cool, guys. Thanks for letting me be a part of the fun.”

Hugs for everyone, some tears, back at it next season.

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...

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