May 13, 2016

Volleyball coach sets the example of ‘giving your all’

By John Shaughnessy

M.J. StallingsM.J. Stallings doesn’t hesitate when sharing her philosophy about winning and losing in Catholic Youth Organization (CYO) sports.

“I want them to come with the intention of winning,” says Stallings, who has coached volleyball for 26 years, first at St. Mark the Evangelist Parish in Indianapolis, and more recently at Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ Parish in Indianapolis.

“If you lose, that’s OK—if you’ve left everything on the court. I think that’s the way you should live your life. Every day, you give it your all.”

Stallings certainly has. Besides her extensive coaching, the mother of five has served 12 years on athletic committees and 17 years as a cafeteria volunteer. She has also been a substitute teacher, a member of the parish council, a concession stand manager, a baptism sponsor and an extraordinary minister of holy Communion.

“I love being busy and active, and I love being with the kids. I loved to see how they progressed from the beginning of the season to the end. I encouraged them in their classes, in their relationships, in their life.

“It wasn’t just coaching to me. Some of the girls came from different backgrounds, and they struggled. The relationships didn’t end when the season ended. The relationships carried over in my life. I called all of them ‘my girls.’ Some are married now, and they have babies of their own. When you coach that many years, you have so many girls and so many stories that still touch you.” †


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