Vincent Tallarigo Testimonial: 8th Grader with 8 Years of SportsLeader

The purpose of SportsLeader is to transform the culture of sports by forming coaches, athletes and parents in virtuous behavior.

We have 15 years of experience doing this with many inspiring stories.

Here is another example.

Cincinnati St Gertrude just had their Coaches Appreciation Dinner where they thank their coaches for all their hard work, celebrate the Coach of the Year award winners and hear from inspiring speakers.

One of the speakers this year was an 8th grade named Vincent Tallarigo.

Please watch and/or read how SportsLeader made a lasting impact in his life and share this with as many schools and parishes as you can.

We need more of this in our society!

Good Evening Ladies and Gentlemen, As Mr. Gerwel said, my name is Vincent Tallarigo. First, I would like to thank you all for coming this evening. I also would like to thank the St. Gertrude Parish Boosters and Fr. Andre Joseph for allowing me to speak at this event. I will be speaking to you all on behalf of my great experiences with SportsLeader and its effect on the players and coaches affiliated with it.

Before I start talking about SportsLeader and its effect on me , I will tell you all about myself and my history in St. Gertrude Sports. This year; my 8th grade year; will be my ninth year attending St. Gertrude School. Throughout those nine years I hove played nine years of football. In fact, I was the first ever kindergartener to play football for St. Gertrude's. I have also played six years of basketball. In football, my teams have had two undefeated seasons; a Division three championship and this past year we were moved up to Division one and knocked off Victory, Visitation, and IHM to win the Division One City Championship, which is the first in school history. In basketball, my team went undefeated in the regular season for both 7&8th grade. Now, for the reason we are all gathered together, to celebrate SportsLeader and the coaches that pass it on so well to the players.

SportsLeader was started in 2004, to better integrate virtues and the Catholic faith into the sports experiences of players and coaches alike. St. Gertrude took on this great program in 2011, when I was in first grade. Once a program takes on SportsLeader, as St. Gertrude has, that program will have the opportunity to participate in a rosary rally with both non-league opponents and rivals as well and pray the rosary together to be united under the most important thing, our faith.

At each practice, a coach will give the players the 3 virtues that they will focus on that season, such as Charity, Humility, and Courage. Throughout the season, the coach will tell a story about one of those virtues being exemplified in the world. My favorite was Herschel Walker pulling off a car door for a woman who was trapped in her car, and then insisting the woman not to pay him back for it. Of course this would exemplify all three of those virtues. Just one of my favorite ones that stood out. This helps me to think of celebrities as people, not idols. Just how that great athlete would do something that heroic and not want it to be publicized. In today's world that seems impossible. Then, the team will talk together on how those virtues are being exemplified. However, SportsLeader is not just for the kids. It is also meant for coaches and parents as well.

Throughout the year, there will be a father-athlete jersey ceremony where the father will take the jersey of that sport, present it to his child and tell him/her how much they mean to him in front of the entire team. Further on into the season each player will write a letter to his or her mother and read said letter to her in front of the team. This letter will include thank you's for things that moms do for their children and, as we know, that can be a lot of things. All of these experiences bond the team together and also strengthen the bond between the parents and their children. In my experience this allows a team to not only know their physical abilities but also to know their innermost gratitude towards their parents.

SportsLeader has really had a great affect not only on me but also my teammates bringing us together, to bond us as brothers. To support this statement, I have an experience from this past season. I was the backup quarterback and that week we were playing a team that we had already scrimmaged earlier and we knew that we were going to win handly. At the Saturday morning walkthrough I saw the effect of SportsLeader right in front of my eyes. When, my friend, the starter, Tommy Stines said, "I am going to let you start this week." In fact it was my brother's birthday the day of the game and he had always wanted to play quarterback. It was a gift that I never would've thought I would ever receive and I believe it is the effect of SportsLeader and its virtues that brought Tommy to do this for me and I am forever grateful.

I have another example from that same game of virtues being portrayed throughout an entire team. When we were playing our opponent, they were down on the scoreboard; and the only thing that they were doing was blaming each other. In contrast, when someone on our team made a mistake we didn't jump all over him, we just supported our teammates and this also was because of SportsLeader and its effect on us. Which brought us together as we made our playoff run from Division 3 to Division 1 as underdogs and ended up winning the First Division 1 football championship in St. Gertrude's history.

Throughout the season we really came together, but especially right before our playoff run, when we came together as brothers to achieve a common goal. It was SportsLeader and the coaches, some of them are here in attendance, that helped us to come together in this way. I will be forever grateful for the relationships and memories that we share.

Now I am going to use an outside example that uses similar values as SportsLeader that is leading them to success. I believe that when a team is truly bonded together with love and plays for each other and not for themselves it is remarkable what can happen. My example is the Archbishop Moeller High School Basketball team. If some of you do not know they just recently went undefeated and won back-to-back state titles. Through my brother's position of being the team statistician, I had the opportunity to watch the team up close, like a family.

The basketball team has 4 core values. 1. Arete. A Greek word meaning striving to be perfect, Moeller takes this word to heart by trying to be perfect in everything that they do. 2. First Class. Moeller tries to be first class in the way they act towards referees, opponents, and fans. 3. Toughness. As head coach Carl Kremer would say, Not the phony toughness that are society recognizes but true toughness. This means taking a charge, as Coach Kremer would say, the most selfless act in basketball. Finally, 4. Team Attitude. This means keeping your cool relying on your teammates and playing together, not as individuals.

The reason for this example is not to boast about where I am going to attend High School next year. In fact, that would be against those values. This example is portraying remarkably that when a group of people no matter their differences, if and when they buy into the same values while truly caring for each other bring out the best from them in life and on the court or the field. As Moeller's Football and Basketball programs are carrying out these values along with St. Gertrude's Varsity Football team prove SportsLeader and/or similar values of caring for others can impact a program and by extension a school.

SportsLeader provides these values to young people and their coaches to connect their faith to their sports which in this day and age are often separated. What I will remember most from these experiences is how close our teams were not just as friends or teammates but as brothers; and how the coaches and players together how we acted like a family, bringing the best out of one another. That is my biggest take away and something I will never forget. The scripture reading 2 Timothy 4:7 says "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith." I have fought the good fight. I have finished my St. Gertrude Sports race, and thanks to SportsLeader, I have kept the Faith. Thank You and God Bless.