Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Next Generation, Traditional Catholic Style

Fred Kroner, 35-year veteran sports writer for the News-Gazette in east-central Illinois, published a piece Saturday that describes his astonishment at the impressive conduct at a basketball game of the student body for a boys' parochial school I favor: La Salette.


From the article:

You'd swear the enthusiasm and energy generated by the young men was for a championship game. The cheering reached a peak at the opening tip and was unrelenting during the course of the 32-minute contest, won by La Salette.

They were cheering FOR their team, not AGAINST the opponents. I'm positive there were no negative comments directed to the three-man officiating crew. Nor were there taunts thrown to the other team. Beyond that, they showed their courtesy when players from either team were preparing to shoot free throws. As if someone were coaching them, there was total silence without any hand-waving distracting antics.

It was an experience I didn't think was possible. It reminded me of pictures my grandfather used to show me about crowds that attended games in the 1920s and 1930s. Men were attired in ties. Women were adorned in dresses. You could almost imagine the kinds of wholesome cheers that they brought and they weren't ones where you felt embarrassed to say you knew some of these individuals or sought to cover the ears of the closest non-teenager.

Profanity-laced tirades? The closest these students came to anything questionable was a momentary "air ball" when a Shiloh player missed badly on a shot attempt. A disapproving look from headmaster Father McMahon, keeping the scorebook, quickly stopped the chant within seconds.

The overall respect and sportsmanship demonstrated by the La Salette student body is truly unparalleled in the thousands of high school games I've seen. It's one thing to see exemplary conduct from two or three individuals, quite another to see it from each and ever spectator sitting (standing!) in a particular section.

It was heartwarming and refreshing. I'm told this wasn't a one-time spectacle. It occurs at every game where the team plays. Don't know when I will attend my next La Salette game, but I have a new memory that has vaulted into a position of prominence on my all-time top 10 list of favorite moments.

If these are the next generation of leaders in our country, wow, I can't wait for the future to arrive.

Thanks, La Salette. You made my day and reminded me that I truly haven't seen everything.

No comments: