(This article appeared in the June 21st issue of America Magazine. I apologize for not obtaining reprint clearance beforehand but, this story was too good to ignore.)

<Begin Article>: On a playing field in Indianapolis a few weeks ago, Vince Lombardi’s slogan, “Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing,” would have been clearly out of place. The junior varsity girls softball team from Roncalli Catholic High was set to play Marshall Community, an inner-city middle school playing its first softball game ever.

After nine Roncalli girls were walked by the Marshall pitcher, the girls realized there is more to sports than crushing the opponent. They probably could have won 100 to 0. Roncalli had not lost a game in over two years but decided to offer to forfeit the game rather than humiliate the Marshall girls.

What happened next? The Roncalli team spent the next two hours teaching the Marshall girls how to get better instead of beaten. Together they practiced batting and fielding, running bases and how to use the equipment the Roncalli girls shared with them. Marshall had come with only two bats, no helmets, no cleats and five balls.

Even after the game, this spirit continued. Roncalli’s J.V. coach, Jeff Taylor, appealed to the parents of his girls for equipment for Marshall—used bats, gloves, helmets and team shirts. Reebok and the Cincinnati Reds also contributed to assist the Marshall girls. Instead of an embarrassing blowout victory for Roncalli, the loss became a win for everyone.

Blessed Pope John XXIII, after whom Roncalli Catholic is named, once remarked that he especially enjoyed being with children because they did not take him to be a pope with fancy robes, but simply an old man. We are sure he looked down with smiles upon the childlike spirit and friendliness of the two softball teams that day.  <End of Article>

Roncalli High Girls Softball

Click Here for an ESPN article about this inspiring team.

Click Here for information about “Sports Leader”, a virtue-based mentoring and motivation program for coaches.