August 22, 2008

Web site focuses on sports teams from five Catholic high schools

By John Shaughnessy

As another year of sports begins for Catholic high schools, Bob Kelly knows the anticipation, the excitement and the strong bonds that the student athletes, their fans and their families are experiencing.

He had those same experiences when he played on the golf team and served as a manager for the football team and the boys’ basketball team at Roncalli High School in Indianapolis.

And he continues to savor that experience as he begins his second year of running a Web site that focuses on the sports teams of five Catholic high schools in Indianapolis—Bishop Chatard, Cardinal Ritter, Cathedral, Father Thomas Scecina Memorial and Roncalli.

“I strongly believe in Catholic schools, especially the archdiocesan parochial schools,” says Kelly, a 1979 graduate of Roncalli. “The parochial schools are a special place. I enjoy the moments when you see kids growing up emotionally and spiritually right before your eyes. They say a prayer together before and after games. And win or lose, they’re still there for each other. It’s a lot of fun to be around.”

While the 47-year-old Kelly once devoted his time and energy to playing a sport, he now brings that focus to his Web site at

It all started three years ago when the former sports reporter for several newspapers decided to create a Web site that focused on the Catholic and public high schools on the southside of Indianapolis. Last year, he narrowed his approach to concentrate on the five Catholic schools and also Heritage Christian High School in Indianapolis.

“I wanted something different,” Kelly says. “I wanted to go back to my roots because I have a lot of respect for all the sacrifices my parents made for me and my four brothers to go to Roncalli. This is neat covering high school sports this way.”

Beyond the usual coverage of football and basketball games, Kelly also uses his Web site to feature other high school sports—ranging from golf to soccer—that don’t normally get much coverage from major newspapers and television stations. He also tries to fill the Web site with photographs of athletes who aren’t necessarily the star players.

That approach is a reflection of his sports experience in high school. From those days, Kelly tells the story of how his father introduced him to golf during the summer before his freshman year in high school. Falling in love with the sport, Kelly desperately wanted to make his high school golf team. Instead, he was cut from the team during tryouts.

But the story didn’t end there.

“It made me want to work harder,” Kelly recalls. “With the guidance of my Dad, I was able to make the team my sophomore year. I was the captain of the golf team my senior year. I always get a kick out of it when a coach tells me about a kid who sets a school record or a personal best. Those are the kinds of things I want to highlight on the Web site.”

Kelly’s efforts mean a lot to the schools he highlights, according to Mike Ford, the athletic director at Bishop Chatard.

“He really does a nice job,” Ford says. “He provides some coverage for us as a smaller school that we might not always find in larger publications. He doesn’t neglect some sports that don’t always get the headlines. He covers the girls’ golf and the boys’ tennis and the soccer matches that don’t always get the same coverage like the football and basketball teams often do.”

The Web site is a labor of love for Kelly. He tries to cover a game or match every day during the school year, often heading to a gym, a course or a field soon after he spends a school day working as a substitute teacher in one of several Catholic schools on the southside of Indianapolis.

It can be a tiring schedule, but he’s ready for another year of fun.

“I’m looking forward to seeing what teams get better and how they do,” he says. “These kids work really, really hard.” †


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