I went to Mount Carmel High School in Chicago and we had some outstanding teams while I was there (1967-1971). In those days some of our football players went on to the top schools in the country–like Michigan, Notre Dame, and others. If you were in class with those guys they really were big men on campus in a sense, but I am not sure they got too much special treatment. But I do think they remembered and appreciated the attention they received from classmates and the administration. The number of players who went on to star in major college ball was pretty small. The competition got tougher in college and there were injuries and other problems. But I would like to say for the record that while the atheltes fame may have faded with age, they were very good about showing up at banquets and various affairs–supporting the school. Fame may fade with classmates and others at the school, but it is slow to die.
Of course, there are some players who went on to pros and they are going to be mentioned longer than most anyone else. You might see other guys in the coaching and teaching ranks.
I feel pretty good about promoting the good in sports with Sporting Chance Press. The athlete often were among the best of men at school and beyond.
With the Sports and Faith books that we publish here, I can live vicariously through the athletes we mention. I was a very active person, but so much of my life these paste decades has been about putting words on the page. I guess you could say that I am more of a Walter Mitty than anything else. In Patrick McCaskey’s Sports and Faith Series, he writes about gifted athletes who lead exemplary lives. As a publisher, I help him get the words to appear in print. Pat is connected with athletes through his association with the Chicago Bears, his athletic past, and his involvement with Sports Faith International an initiative that honors good athletes who are good people. Pat is also Chairman of Catholic Radio WSFI, 98.5 FM.
When Pat writes about people in our books it is usually short and direct. Each book covers a lot of ground and they are in a sense timeless books, but not necessarily available forever. Few copies of our first book, Sports and Faith: Stories of the Devoted and the Devout are available–so get them while you can!
In Sports and Faith: Stories of the Devoted and the Devout we included some of Pat’s noteworthy family friends and prominent heroes. We put our best foot forward with this book and it is beautiful. We have Father Freedy on the the cover who played football at the University of Buffalo. Freedy went from football to the priesthood. Wayne Gordon, Ignatius McDermott, and John Smyth are a few of the stories we cover. These are huge names in the sports and faith world.
In our second book, cleverly named, Sports and Faith: More Stories of the Devouted and the Devout, we stuck with the script of the first book, but expanded further geographically. On the cover is Father Burke Masters, a former second baseman at Mississippi State who is now a wonderful priest working tirelessly in his evangelical mission and media efforts–yet keeps his mitt in the game as the Chicago Cubs Chaplain. Social Media know him as the Baseball Priest. This book looks at many faith crusaders such as high school coaches Bob Ladouceur, Frank Allocco, and Dan Duddy. The book takes a glimpse at some tragic events that were taking place as the book was being written and the heroic response. Some exceptional athletes are discussed like Jim Ryan and Stan Musial along with Hall of Fame Philanthropist Tom Monaghan. Many great stories fill the pages of this book–all simply put, clear, and easy to read.
Our third book in the series is called Pilgrimage. On the cover is a photo of the author who is setting out on a family “pilgrimage” some time ago when his children were young.
In this book, the author writes that sports today includes many fitness efforts. Sports sometimes merges with activities that can point to faith and enlightenment. People make pilgrimages to places like El Camino de Santiago and great physical efforts are required. Each chapter in Pilgrimage looks at popular Christian pilgrimage sites like the Camino. The book offers a refresher course on Marian Appirations and the faith surrounding them. Still, the author takes the time to pepper the book with stories of athletes like Sister Miriam James, Kristin Holum (Sister Catherine Mary) and Sister Rita Clare Yoches who took their vows after promising athletic careers. Much research went into this volume to address the sites in a clear historical conception.
Book number four is Worthwile Struggle (only available at publisher’s site). Sister Jean of Loyola is on the cover and her story is discussed immediately after. This is perhaps the author’s most creative Sports and Faith book. Many great athletes and people of faith are discussed. But the book includes a refresher on a saint in each chapter along with a sports quiz to tickle the reader’s brain waves. Lots and lots of research and work went into this volume and we were still not finished with this book. Each Sports and Faith volume has small samples of the author’s poetry, but Worthwile Struggle included an entire chapter of his biblical poems. These are short, sweet poems reflecting the author’s faith and his love of literary and cultural humor (and the Bears). We have stock of this book now, but I have an organization that is considering buying the rest of my stock for distribution, so if you are intersted in this book, you might want to order one now.
The fifth book was published in 2020. We could call it our Covid Edition, but we don’t, we call it Sportsmanship. This manuscript came in ready for business with a 50 plus page calendar of historical Chicago Bears events upfront. The middle section of the book covers athletes and other exemplary personalities. In a bit of poetic license if you will, the author includes a chapter on his favorite writers. This as one of my favorite Sports and Faith features. We have a short piece on Commander Paul Bauer and another on Kevin Mattews “Broken Mary.” I find these stories particularly moving. Another chapter of biblical poems is included and the last section includes the author’s most popular presentations.
We are not finished yet. We do have a sixth volume in the works for next year.