January 27, 2012

2012 Catholic Schools Week Supplement

Student learns life lessons in classroom of sports

The pure joy of boys getting to play football in the mud radiates from the faces of the fifth- and sixth-grade players on the football team of Our Lady of the Greenwood Parish in Greenwood. (Submitted photo)

The pure joy of boys getting to play football in the mud radiates from the faces of the fifth- and sixth-grade players on the football team of Our Lady of the Greenwood Parish in Greenwood. (Submitted photo)

By Dillon Bennett

I am so fortunate to be blessed with the privilege of attending a Catholic school. Many opportunities have been presented to me, one being Catholic Youth Organization sports, which I have participated in since third grade.

I have gained more through my experiences playing football than I ever would have imagined when I first walked out on the field over five years ago—experiences that have taught me qualities such as sportsmanship, piety, loyalty, diligence and teamwork.

When my team was winning a game by a reasonable margin, I witnessed my coach taking a more conservative approach in play calling, trying not to run up the score. Never once did a game end without shaking the hands of the opposing players. We prayed before and after games, praising God for the talents he had given us. We routinely knelt and held hands in respect for an injured player and prayed for his return to good health.

I built loyal, long-lasting relationships with my coaches. My teammates and I bonded so well through both winning and losing. After our first loss, we noted the things we did well and embraced the things we needed to work on during practice. Hard work between the lines translated to diligence in my studies.

The Catholic Youth Organization has made a positive, lasting impact on me. I will cherish my memories of playing football, and I will hopefully pass the virtues I learned to embrace to future generations.

(Dillon Bennett is an eighth-grade student at St. Luke the Evangelist School in Indianapolis.)

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