Time flies when you’re having fun

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Written by JEFF MIELCAREK, Director of CYO Athletics   
Saturday, 27 March 2010 00:00
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This basketball season has been a bittersweet one for me personally. I have watched my son (who is a high school senior) and his friends from grade school play CYO basketball together for the last season. Now I realize that many others have gone through this before and I have seen it, heard about it, saw the tears before, but until this year I have never had the experience.

Many of these boys began playing basketball together when they were in first grade and have continued throughout this past season. Some took a year or two off to continue playing for their high school and one boy played for all four years at his high school, but they have all remained friends.

WEB_MUG_Jeff_MielcarekI was fortunate to have the opportunity to coach these young men all through grade school, but not in high school, which I know was good for all those involved. I have seen them grow as young Christian people and also watched their parents all become close friends because of the link these kids have provided.

CYO basketball and athletics is much like the links and friendships that are formed while kids are in grade school and high school. These are the great times and none of us ever realize how quickly this time goes until it is nearly over. I feel fortunate to have been able to enjoy this time with my son and his friends. There were not too many times I stressed over a game. Sure, I wanted to win as much as anyone, but I came to realize early on that these are just games, and in the big picture, the outcome really doesn’t mean that much.

What I have really come to better appreciate is the link that CYO Athletics can provide with both youth and their families to the parish. In a society where more and more people seem to be drifting away from their faith, CYO athletics can sometimes provide the “bait on the hook” that keeps people or brings people back to the church. This is not the case for everyone, but what is? Nothing is perfect, but maybe just one youth or family involved has had an experience that helped to get them back, or better yet, keep them involved in their Catholic faith.

As ministers to youth (coaches, scout leaders, youth group leaders and others), we are given a great opportunity to help form the life of a youth. Unfortunately, there is not a light that goes on, an e-mail that gets sent or any other sign that tells us that this is the time for us to make a life-long impact on the youth we are serving. Because of the lack of signals, we have to put our best foot forward all of the time. The day that we least expect it might be the day that the youth need us most.

Clocks move fast, days go by and calendars flip months at a pretty rapid rate. Don’t sit back and wait for the right time. Reach out and make a difference in the life of a youth today. Young people are always looking for ministers to youth to make a difference in their lives. Why not you and why not today?

Last Updated on Saturday, 27 March 2010 00:00