Friday, October 30, 2009
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Sunday, October 25, 2009
I pray that this letter finds you well and that this retreat will be a turning point in your life.
I hope that you do not find it too presumptuous of me to write you this letter ...
You are truly blessed to have such faith-filled and loving parents. As teenagers we probably do not appreciate our parents as we should. I know I am guilty of that personally. I regret any number of things I said and did with my parents. Thanks be to God they are virtuous, faith-filled people as well ... and they have forgiven me (smile).
I'd like to share a story with you that truly helped shape my life.
When I was 10 years old my best friend was Jimmy Roma. He lived about 2 miles away from my house but we would always ride our bikes to and from each other's houses. His parents were very kind, always welcoming and I really enjoyed being around them. Jimmy was the 9th of 10 children. He had 1 younger sister.
From my 10 year old point of view - they were just like my parents: pretty good people, nice to everybody and cool to be around. They were not alike in one aspect I came to appreciate so much more later.
One day, I have completely forgotten the particulars, Jimmy, his younger sister and their parents drove over to the elest son's house to celebrate his birthday. The Roma's has one of those ancient station wagon's - with the "back-back" as we called it- where you could lay down and go to sleep. We had one growing up, too.
On the ride home from the birthday party, Jimmy and his sister were fast asleep in the "back-back". When Jimmy woke up his life would never be the same.
About half-way home a drunk driver hit them. His parents and sister were instantly killed. The only reason Jimmy survived was that he was thrown out the back window on the initial impact while the car was crushed into a tree.
Jimmy woke up in the hospital quite a few hours later. He had a broken arm, a broken leg, internal bleeding and who knows what else. Scrapes, bruises, stitches ... the works. He was also the only one left alive.
I immediately wanted to go see Jimmy in the hospital. So my Mom took me, all the while warning me that he was going to look a lot different due to all of the scars and such.
When we got to the hospital, Jimmy was alone in his room. His brothers and sisters had all left to have lunch. I had a good while to sit there and talk with Jimmy. He was so torn up both physically and spiritually.
After a while I tried consoling him the best I could. We began to talk about heaven, eternal life, the love of God ... Jimmy kept asking me lots of questions ... he knew that I always went to Church with my folks - this was the one difference I mentioned earlier - his parents really did not have that gift of faith and subsequently never went ...
As we were talking about God his brothers and sisters returned. They were furious with me. In their moment of despair and sadness they hated God ... They physically picked me up, through me out of the hospital room and told me never to come back as they slammed the door on me.
My Mom was just coming back from grabbing a bite to eat herself so she was spared the abuse ...
E, I will never forget that day because it was then that I truly began to value what the gift of faith was. The elder Roma's were lashing out at me because they had no hope, no vision of eternity - it was all sadness. Death of loved ones will do that to you without faith, without God.
I realized how blessed I was to have parents who taught me about the love of God.
E, you have been blessed in the same manner. DO NOT take it for granted. That is a gift many young men do not have and will not receive.
As you grow closer to the days when you will go off to college or whatever path you choose to take you will have a lot more independence. I would like to encourage you to NEVER be independent of God - our Lord and His Blessed Mother.
That is an independence I pray that you will never have.
May our Lord be your best friend. May you talk with Him like you would any of your normal buddies. May your love for Him be real, passionate, serious. Not just motions.
As you take these next steps into manhood, you need to have the personal conviction- that you NEED God in your life. Not because others say so, not because your Mom wants you to ... none of that!
It must be YOU who wants HIM in your life. Believe me, you will not regret it.
Im proud of you, E. I'm proud of the man your are becoming. A man of virtue.
If I can ever be of help, please never hesitate to ask.
God bless you, E, and thank you for all you do.
Your friend, Lou
Saturday, October 24, 2009
I received this email yesterday. I have been a little tired this week and I think God made this happen to “super-charge” my spiritual batteries.
Why do we coach?
This is why……Dear, Coach Traeger
I’m very thankful for the opportunities you have given me. The reason why I say that is because I was reading about mentors and it made me think of you. The way you live life is very admirable to me. Everything you taught me in the two year of football has shaped me into the person I am today and it still keeps shaping me everyday. I still have a virtue card with all the virtues to practice. I think it’s about 3 years old. I’m always going to feel like I’m in debt with you because you changed my life completely. I had no ambition or desire to do anything with my life before I started playing football. I wish I had been a better football player and also a better person in those two years. One of the things I regret is being a pre madona. I was young and stupid. Thank you again for listening to my business idea and helping me setup a good business plan. I am planning on starting the clothing company soon but school and work are taking most of my time. Hopefully I can teach other people all that I’ve learnt from you. Listening to your speeches and words of wisdom made me have a different outlook in life. It made me want to be somebody in life and for that, I thank you Coach Traeger. I’ll see you around.Sincerely; Luis
Friday, October 23, 2009
BY TRENT BEATTIE
October 25-31, 2009 Issue | Posted 10/16/09 at 3:13 PM
Paul Mainieri knows all about the World Series — the College World Series, that is.
In June of this year, the Louisiana State University head baseball coach guided his team to its first NCAA title since 2000, with a decisive 11-4 victory over the Texas Longhorns. Mainieri’s LSU Tigers started the season ranked No. 1 and ended the season in the same position, producing a 56-17 record overall.
Mainieri is two games shy of reaching 1,000 wins in his coaching career, posting a record of 998 wins and 554 losses. His 27 seasons of coaching include 12 as head coach at Notre Dame from 1995 to 2006, with a record of 533-213. Over the years, he has received numerous awards, including the 2009 Coach of the Year Award from the American Baseball Coaches Association.
However, win-loss records, rankings and trophies are much less important to Coach Mainieri than relationships with his players, fellow coaches and his family. External rewards can be fun, but what is most rewarding for him is trying to be the man God wants him to be, which he believes is expressed in how good a husband and father one is, before any career achievements. “I’d much rather be known as a great father, husband and Catholic ... than a great baseball coach,” he says.
Mainieri is the father of four children — ranging in age from 15 to 25 — with his wife, Karen, whom he met when he attended LSU as an undergraduate in 1976. He spoke with Register correspondent Trent Beattie.
Former UCLA basketball coach John Wooden, whose teams won 10 national championships, said, “When people ask me if I miss coaching UCLA basketball games, the national championships, the attention, the trophies and everything that goes with them, I tell them this: I miss the practices.” Is this your view, as well — valuing the game itself more than any outside rewards?
I do not think there is anything wrong in aspiring to be successful at anything you do. In fact, I believe that you are not doing God’s will if you don’t try to be the best you can be. I tell my players all the time, “Your talent is a gift from God. Your way of thanking him is to develop that talent to its fullest potential.”
With success come championships, awards and advancement. Those things come and go, though, and don’t mean as much as knowing you had a positive impact on a person’s life. For me, it is all about the relationships that are developed and knowing you have helped someone.
How does your Catholic faith impact the way you coach?
Very much so and in many different ways. To name a few ways: My faith gives me strength when the pressure is the greatest, helps me realize there are more important things in life when failures feel fatal, and it keeps me humble in success. I’d much rather be known as a great father, husband and Catholic ... than a great baseball coach.
How does your faith influence your daily life, and what do you think of the idea that faith should be a private matter?
My faith is with me all the time no matter what I do, whether I vocalize it or not. I will share with someone else why I think my faith is important if I think sharing those thoughts will help someone deal with issues in their life. However, I don’t think I can force it on my players for fear they may think I will hold it against them if they don’t believe as I do. In other words, I don’t want a player to ever think he is not being played because he doesn’t believe as I do.
Was there a decisive point in your life when you started to take your faith more seriously?
I was raised in a strong Catholic family where my parents explained why faith was so important. I never questioned it, so it has always been a part of my life. My inner happiness comes from knowing my roles in life ... and that eternal life is waiting.
What do you enjoy most about coaching?
Simply knowing that I am helping a youngster learn how to be successful. That was the only reason I went into coaching, and it remains my purpose today. Right now I am helping him be successful on the ball field or in school. Later on, he will use those teachings to be successful in the bigger game: the game of life.
I love it every time a former player will contact me years after playing for me to tell me how he thinks about the lessons he learned from me and that he applies in his everyday life.
Do you have a favorite saint and/or favorite devotion?
I say the Rosary a lot. My favorite saint was always St. Jude because my parents gave me his medal when I was young, and I wore it all the time.
Believe me, it helped me through a lot of “hopeless causes” as I was growing up.
What are some of your favorite (Catholic) books?
Hard one to answer, because I have to admit I don’t read enough anymore.
Who are some of your favorite coaches and players — either from an athletic standpoint or from an all-around human standpoint?
I have always admired the players that displayed the qualities of toughness, competitiveness, hardwork and leadership. Yet they also displayed the qualities of sportsmanship, unselfishness, teamwork, humility in victory and dignity in defeat. Some of my favorite athletes were Roberto Clemente of the Pittsburgh Pirates, Roger Staubach of the Dallas Cowboys, Pete Maravich when he played basketball at LSU, and Bob Griese of the Miami Dolphins.
My favorite coaches were and always will be: 1) my father (who is a Hall of Fame junior-college baseball coach), 2) Tommy Lasorda of the L.A. Dodgers, 3) Vince Lombardi of the Green Bay Packers and 4) Don Shula of the Miami Dolphins.
Trent Beattie writes from Seattle, Washington.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Below is a message from a coach to his former players. They may not be playing for you anymore - but they may need you more than ever before.
God bless, Lou
Had some tragic news on Saturday, a former student committed suicide and died. She was a wonderful, beautiful young lady. I don't know the whole story but evidently a boyfriend and a breakup was involved. Much, much, much was obviously involved, there is more to the story, of course. This is about the fourth suicide I have been intimately connected to in the past year. Wow! What is going on??!!
First, let me tell you all, you are very important to me. You guys are special, you have touched my life in a unique, special way, each and every one of you. My life is so much better because of my relationship with you. Never forget that! We've done something for each other, we are both better men because of our bond. Never, ever let anything get into your head that you don't matter, that you are a loser, that you are weak and can't be strong for yourself and others. You matter in the biggest ways. Those are demons telling you those lies. DON'T LISTEN TO THEM!
Second, if you are in a relationship with a girl or relationships with girls........STOP AND THINK! Are you taking advantage of the girl? Are you using the girl? Are you mistreating the girl? If you are, you better stop and think. Have a talk with the girl, a serious talk with the girl. What do you want, honestly?? What does she want, seriously? If the relationship is physical, which most relationships are these days, think about what you are doing. You may be in something over your head. You have NO IDEA what is like to really love a woman. Trust me, you don't. Are you really ready for a commitment for better or worse? If not, you better stop and have a talk because, trust me, most girls think and want a real commitment from you. Let's start acting like a man and be honest with the girls.
How would you feel if this girl had been your girlfriend?
Studs think with their brains and their spirit instead of their groins. Let's start acting like studs today!
Love and admiration,
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Faith, football and a fatherly instinct: Father John Hollowell knows joy and passion as a priest, teacher and coach
By John Shaughnessy
Michael Timko couldn’t believe it at first.
Then a huge smile spread across the face of the varsity football player for Cardinal Ritter Jr./Sr. High School in Indianapolis.
Looking into the offensive backfield, Michael focused on the unlikely uniform of the person who was lined up at the running back position for the practice drill.
The running back wore black running shoes, black pants, a black shirt and the white collar of a priest. Father John Hollowell also had his black baseball cap turned backwards—“for aerodynamics,” he said later.
As Father Hollowell took the handoff, the 30-year-old teacher, chaplain and assistant football coach at Cardinal Ritter High School sprinted downfield as the varsity defensive players swarmed toward him, working on their angles of pursuit.(Related story: A football Friday in the life of Father John Hollowell)
Fifty yards later, the former varsity football player at Roncalli High School in Indianapolis and Hanover College near Madison finally came to a stop. With the defensive players in their red jerseys still watching him and shaking their heads in amused wonder, Father Hollowell spiked the ball.
“I couldn’t believe how fast he was,” laughs Michael, a 16-year-old junior. “No one was sure if you could put a good hit on a priest. Everyone cleared out of his way. He split the Red Sea.”
Living the joy and the passion
Father Hollowell enjoyed the moment, too—even if it left him nearly breathless.
“Early in the season, as a coaching staff, we try to show them the discipline of the game and the need for developing good habits,” says Father Hollowell, who also serves as a sacramental minister at St. Malachy Parish in Brownsburg. “Now, it’s our challenge to get them to play with passion and, at the same time, enjoy it.”
Discipline, passion, challenge and joy—all four words describe the priesthood of Father Hollowell, who was ordained on June 6. There’s also an element of “surprise,” at least in the way he has used his priesthood to connect with people in the hope of bringing them closer to God.
Consider the first meeting that Father Hollowell had with Ty Hunt, the head coach of the Ritter Raiders’ varsity football team. Hunt thought that Father Hollowell would be the chaplain for the team, a priest who would pray with them and celebrate Mass for them before every game. When Father Hollowell told Hunt that he also wanted to coach, the head coach had questions and doubts.
“I wasn’t exactly prepared for him wanting to take an active role as a coach,” Hunt recalls. “Then he and I talked about wide receiver and defensive back techniques, and I knew he had the knowledge. It has worked out great. The kids see the passion in him—not only for football but for a Christian life. He shows them that if you want something, you have to go for it wholeheartedly.”
Hunt laughs when he talks about how that approach surfaces on a football field.
“I have the philosophy of bringing the pressure, of blitzing during a game,” Hunt says. “He calls our defense at the JV [junior varsity] level, and he blitzes on almost every single down, from every angle. Sometimes I watch the coaches on the other teams, and it’s something to see them look across at our defensive coach, who is a priest wearing his white collar, and he’s blitzing every down.”
Father Hollowell’s passionate approach also leaves even deeper impressions.
“What he does transcends football,” Hunt says. “More members of our football team have stood up as altar servers this year and have been willing to help others.
“He has a great way of showing that a priest is not just someone you see on Sunday. He is a reflection of what God wants us to do in life. We don’t coach for wins and losses. We’re coaching to help young people succeed. He’s been wonderful. There was a question mark in the beginning, and that question mark has been replaced with an exclamation point.”
Not just a game, a way of life
It’s the kind of praise that Father Hollowell immediately downplays. After all, he’s always been a team player first, starting on a Catholic Youth Organization football team at his home parish—Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ Parish in Indianapolis. Then at Roncalli, where he graduated in 1997. Then at Hanover College, where he graduated in 2001.
Yet while he is the ultimate team player, he also knows that every player on a team has a distinct role. And because he views his life as a priest as part of a greater brotherhood of Christ, he embraces his role of bringing young people closer to God as a teacher, coach and chaplain.
On football game Fridays, Father Hollowell not only teaches students in the classroom and coaches them on the field, he also celebrates a pre-game Mass with the team.
“I try to make the bridge between football and their life,” says Father Hollowell, who also coached football for two years at Bishop Chatard High School in Indianapolis before entering the seminary. “I think sports, in general, teach them about life. I wouldn’t be out there—and Archbishop [Daniel M. Buechlein] wouldn’t let me be out there—if we didn’t believe that.”
At 16, Cardinal Ritter sophomore Matt Swintz recalls one of Father Hollowell’s homilies that left its greatest impression on the football team.
“He was talking about how a fist is much stronger than an open hand,” says Matt, a member of St. Michael the Archangel Parish in Indianapolis. “He said if we were all together as a football team, we’d be much stronger.”
“I feel comfortable with him,” says Michael Birk, 15, a Cardinal Ritter sophomore, a Raider football player and a member of St. Malachy Parish. “I feel like I could go to him if I ever needed anything.”
It’s that sense of togetherness and passion that has always attracted Father Hollowell to football—a sport he describes as “a very Catholic game.”
“It’s oriented around discipline and family,” says Father Hollowell, the oldest of 11 children—a football team in itself. “If you don’t like the guys you are playing with—no matter how good you are—you’re not going to win. You’re not going to find success.”
Faith, football and a fatherly instinct
One of Father Hollowell’s favorite times on a football field has always been that moment just before the game begins—when all the hard work and preparation of a week of practice leads to the anticipation and excitement of the opening kickoff.
As a player, he couldn’t wait to get on the field to do everything he could to help his team win.
As a coach, he is just as intense, but his perspective has also widened.
“There’s a fatherly instinct that kicks in when the game is close to starting now,” he says. “You see these young men getting ready to perform on a stage in front of a lot of people. There’s always a deep concern for them to do their best. I want them to be able to do as well as they can for themselves and each other.”
He also hopes that when the young athletes look at his life, they will look beyond his intensity for football and see his passion for his faith—and the priesthood.
“There’s such a need for priests,” he says. “If we just had more holy guys who were willing to help, it would make such a difference. I want to encourage other guys to be part of our team. If someone became a priest because of me, that would be the ultimate compliment.”
So Father Hollowell keeps teaching, coaching and serving as a chaplain. He gives everything he has while knowing he has been given the greatest blessing of his life.
“For me, being a priest is truly a gift,” he says. “For the first time in my life, I feel like I’m doing what I truly should be doing.” †
A football Friday in the life of Father John Hollowell
For high school student-athletes and coaches, the day of a game always adds extra touches of excitement and anticipation.
So it is for Father John Hollowell, a chaplain, teacher and assistant football coach at Cardinal Ritter Jr./Sr. High School in Indianapolis. (Related story: Father John Hollowell knows joy and passion as a priest, teacher and coach)
Here is a look at his jam-packed schedule on football Fridays:
4:40 a.m.—The alarm clock sounds in Father Hollowell’s room in the rectory at St. Malachy Parish in Brownsburg, where he also serves as a sacramental minister.
“If I don’t have a Mass at school, I’ll get up at 3:45 a.m. and celebrate Mass,” he says. “Then I’ll have breakfast.”
5:30 a.m.—Father Hollowell arrives at St. Michael the Archangel Parish in Indianapolis, located next to Cardinal Ritter Jr./Sr. High School.
“They have a Blessed Sacrament Chapel where I do an hour of prayer. It’s nice to start the day that way. Sometimes it’s very hard to focus with all of the concerns I know I’ll have during the day. But it’s my desire to have that hour be prayerful. I wouldn’t cut it out of my day for anything.”
6:45 a.m.—Begins his daily workout in the high school’s training room.
“I usually work out for 30 to 45 minutes. They have a treadmill I like and I lift weights. I turn the radio to 92.3 [FM]. I’ve found that if I’m not able to work out or exercise, I don’t have the same energy for the day. It keeps me in balance, to have the physical and the spiritual in the morning.”
8 a.m.—He often shares a morning prayer with students through the high school’s public address system.
“I’m starting a new thing where I have other teachers do the morning prayer so the students see I’m not the only one in the building who prays.”
8:05 a.m.-11 a.m.—“That’s when I’m planning for my classes, grading papers, attending meetings. It’s my chance to be a presence in the school.”
11 a.m.—Lunch time. On one recent Friday, his lunch consisted of two small bags of pretzels and a bottle of water.
11:30 a.m.-3 p.m.—In the classroom, teaching “Modern Catholic Social Ethics” to high school seniors.
“It’s a Catholic understanding of justice, freedom and truth. For me, my journey to the priesthood was a lot of reading and studying. It was an intellectual journey. I want to pass along to the kids the things I’ve discovered along the way.
“I love teaching. I just didn’t want to be somebody who the kids saw in the hall. I wanted them to see me up close. My students and my players realize that I’m human, that I have moods, and I have some days that are better than others. As painful as that is to see sometimes, it’s better for them in the long run.”
3:15 p.m.-4 p.m.—Celebrates pre-game Mass with the football players and coaches.
“It’s awesome to be somebody who sees them all week in practice and school. I can usually tailor my homily to what I see in them. It’s good, too, because the same guy I was disciplining or getting on at a practice, I’m able to turn around and be his priest.”
4:15 p.m.—More time spent grading papers and preparing lesson plans for his classes.
5:30 p.m.—Boards the bus with the players and other coaches to leave for the game.
6 p.m.—Pre-game warm-ups begin.
“That’s when we take the field. I can start to smell the popcorn being popped, hear the band getting ready and see the sun beginning to set. You can see the look in the guys’ eyes, that something different is going to happen soon.”
7 p.m.—The opening kickoff. With his game face on, Father Hollowell spends the next two hours providing encouragement to the team, shouting tips to the players on the field, and giving individual instruction to wide receivers and defensive backs when they come off the field.
“As coaches, we get as fired up as the players.”
9:10 p.m.—He leads the team in a post-game prayer on the field.
10 p.m.—The team returns to the high school. Father Hollowell talks to individual players and then watches game film and/or gets something to eat with the other coaches.
Midnight—Returns to the rectory at St. Malachy Parish, checks a few high school football scores on the computer, says his evening and night prayers, and heads to bed.
“After the game days, I’m worn out, but it is a good feeling. Even though it sounds like a lot of work, it is actually very life-giving. I love all that goes into game day—all the energy, excitement and getting to be part of such a great game. It feels like a day off.” †
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Monday, October 5, 2009
With 433 career victories, Lewis is the seventh-winningest coach in NCAA Division III history, and only the 18th coach among all NCAA soccer coaches to reach the 400-victory plateau.
DARE TO BE GREAT