June 1, 2018

Coach knows we have more to give

By John Shaughnessy

Mark McGuireWhen Mark McGuire shares tips to get his young wrestlers ready for a match, he always hopes the following lessons will prepare his athletes for the challenges they will face later in life:

Start with a prayer, your faith in God, and your belief in yourself.

Don’t define yourself by whether you’ve won or lost. Define yourself by your preparation and your effort.

Do away with the excuses. Approach everything you do with discipline.

Always have respect for the person across from you.

Then there are these words from McGuire: “There’s a way to be really good at what you do and still be a Christian.”

For the past 15 years, he has been preaching these lessons as the wrestling coach at St. Roch Parish in Indianapolis.

“This sport is just like life,” says McGuire, a 2018 recipient of the St. John Bosco Award, the highest honor from the archdiocese’s Catholic Youth Organization (CYO). “If these kids are able to conquer these matches, they’ll be able to conquer other challenging situations later in life.”

That belief leads McGuire to offer one more life lesson he shares with his wrestlers: Whenever you think you have given everything you have, dig down deeper and know you have more to give.

McGuire and his wife Julie have followed that guiding principle in the way they have grown their family. Blessed with two daughters—Sophia and Grace—biologically, the couple has added two sons through adoption, Brady and Vitya.

“After Grace, we thought we were finished,” he says. “Julie had the feeling she wanted to adopt a child from Guatemala. He was 9 months old. There’s no way to explain it other than it was a nudge from above, from God.”

That belief stayed with the couple as Brady battled through leukemia between the ages of 6 and 9.

“He’s perfectly fine now,” McGuire says about their 12-year-old son.

In September of 2017, the couple welcomed Vitya, an 11-year-old from Ukraine.

“He was shy at first, but then he warmed up to us, and we really clicked.”

For the McGuires, that feeling of knowing you have more to give permeates their lives. So does the feeling of how much God has given them.

“Everything we have done, I’ve been blessed my whole life,” McGuire says. “It’s all by the grace of God.” †


Related story: Archbishop salutes CYO honorees for living ‘the joy of the Gospel’

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