Miracles Do Happen

There are 24,000,000 young people in the USA living without a father in the home. This is a catastrophic tragedy that too many sweep under the rug.

The teams that have been courageous enough to step up and work together with SportsLeader are doing something real, concrete and powerful to counteract that tragedy.
Many of you know about it, have participated in it and lead them with your own teams.
I wanted to share a few photos from different teams in the mid-west who have had these amazing ceremonies. The teams in the photos are Sycamore 8th grade, Mason HS, Xenia HS, Milford HS, Franklin County HS, McNicholas HS.
I was blessed to attend a number of them, Chris Willertz others, and there were miracles at each one. 
What has moved me the most this year is the number of players - the young men - who have been so emotional during the experience ... Seniors who are welling up even before the first Dad steps up to the microphone. You can tell that this means so much to them.
Last night in particular, a young man wet with tears, comes up to me and gives me one of the biggest bear hugs I have ever received saying, "Thank you, thank you, thank you for doing this. This meant so much to me. I'll never forget it."
I am truly proud of each coach who has made these happen with their teams.
Please help us spread the word!
Also, I'd like to share Sam Becker's second article - a testimony from his experience leading a retreat at his school.


Lou Judd

I hope all of you enjoyed my last article. It should’ve given you a basic background of who I am, where I’ve been, and where I plan to go. Over the next few months I have been given the opportunity to write weekly about how the McNicholas Rockets quest for their first state championship is going,  my insights,  future plans in athletics, and life.
This summer I was selected to lead 39 members of senior class on our summer Kairos retreat. It was an incredibly rewarding and enjoyable experience. I went on my own Kairos back in March so knew leading would be very different. I was blessed to lead with 7 of my friends, including my teammate, Josh Jubak.
The most nerve racking part of the retreat for me turned out to be my favorite and most rewarding experience of the week. Each leader, teacher and student, is required to give a 20 minute talk on a subject chosen for them. The teachers decide this by pray.   I was chosen to give the talk “Leaders.” (Ironically) I have always considered myself as a leader but not a great public speaker. I knew the pressure was on me to deliver an impactful talk to classmates because not only was it one of the last talks of the retreat, but it has been known to be one of the more emotional talks of the retreat.
From April to July I spent hours working on my talk, trying to find words to inspire, interest, and open the hearts of my 39 friends.  When I finished writing my talk in late July the two people who I let read it first, my Freshman basketball coach and teacher Jack Kaneicki and my best friend/teammate Austin Ernst. Both enjoyed it greatly and said everyone would enjoy it. They gave me the confidence to know I had something special and impactful to share with my class in this 20 minute speech.
Throughout the first two days on Kairos I could barely contain my emotions about my upcoming talk on the third day. At times I would even tear because  my nervousness and excitement was over whelming. Many of my friends and teammates would walk up to me and tell me how excited they were to hear my speech. I prayed that I could meet the expectations so many of the people had set for me.
The night before my talk everyone on the retreat, including the leaders, received letters from parents, loved ones, and friends, telling us how much we mean to them. I was in my room reading a very well written and emotion letter fromAustin. He told me how proud of me he was that was a leading this Kairos and that he knew everyone would be blown away from my talk. He said I was meant to give the “Leaders” talk Being not only my best friend, but an unquestioned leader on our football team, (who just recently committed to Ohio Dominican to play Quarterback) it meant a lot to me to hear that he looked up to me and thought that highly of me. Right when I finished the letter one of the teacher walked into my room asking if I was ok. He then told me my classmates needed to hear my talk. It was necessary for them to get most out this life changing retreat and said I would be able to get them to that point. I knew the pressure was on me to impact my classmates, and to be honest it made me feel less nervous. It felt like I was about to play a big game and all of my teammates and coaches were relying on me….
As I gave the “Leaders” talk the next day I shared with them how my CP and examples such Coach Steve Klonne, (now at Moeller) my friend Logan Shannon with Muscular Dystrophy, and my older brother Max shaped me into the leader I am today. I emphasized on service and setting a Christ-like example for all people who see and hear of you. You can imagine how emotional this was say. I didn’t know how my 39 classmates would respond. They saw the tears in my eyes during the 20 minutes, and by the time I said my last line and the closing song  came on I looked around the room and saw that many of my classmates, fellow leaders, teachers, and teammates were in tears. Nothing was more emotional for me than when a good friend of mine Danny Poole, whose promising athletic career ended when suffering a tore ACL 3 times, gave me hug crying right after I finished. Seeing how my talk hit home to a person in a very similar situation as I am made me realize how good of a job I did at delivering my message to them. It was like a dream situation, the talk couldn’t have gone any better. It felt like my coaches put the ball in my hand to hit the game winning shot and made I it as time expired.  After hearing about my talk, many of my friends and teammates who did not go on that Kairos, asked to read it. The responses have been incredible. I never knew I could impact people through my 8 ½ page paper. Words cannot describe how humbling it is.
The first game for McNicholas Rockets is this Saturday 1 P.M. at our home field, Penn Station Stadium versus Newport Central Catholic. Everyone in the McNick community is enthusiastic about the opening game. We have finally a field and stadium to call home for a full season. Despite our 2-8 season last year I am confident we will set the standard for what McNick Football should be for years to come. As we strive to make the playoffs and ultimately the State Championship, I will continue to lead by example in serving my teammates and my school. Whether I am recognized or not for my efforts, the only thing that matters to me is if the team as a whole succeeds not only on the field but off it as well. If this happens I know I did job right. As athletes we compete for the glory of God. I look at as a way to thank God for the talents He gave us.  If we all buy into this I know we will have a successful season.
I was privileged God gave me the opportunity to inspire my class, like I said it was extremely humbling. What I learned from this experience is that all of us, young and old, are called to help, serve, and lead others. No matter our struggles in life we all must set the example that Christ calls to. Everyone we meet is placed in front of us for a reason, it is our duty to lead and encourage them on the right path. You never know whose life you may change. We all have the capabilities to inspire and be a hero for someone else. Cherish the little things in life. Remember: Nothing is impossible with God; you just have to meet him halfway.
I look forward to writing again next week. Thank you
God Bless,
Sam Becker