Monday Night Sports League: more than a game Print
On His Time
Written by Kevin Wondrash, Catholic Herald Staff   
Thursday, Jul. 18, 2013 -- 12:00 AM
Two members of

Two members of "Faith, Friends, and Funnies (FFF)" try to move a disc during a game of Ultimate Frisbee against the team from Blessed Sacrament Parish in Madison. It's one of several games played by six young adult teams in the Monday Night Sports League. (Catholic Herald photo/Kevin Wondrash)

On His Time by Kevin Wondrash

From day one of journalism school, a reporter is told not to put him or herself into a story. Just learn

the facts, observe what happens, interview interesting subjects, and tell the story. Sometimes, however, the paths of reporter and story cross, and the reporter is in the story.

As a young adult in the Diocese of Madison, I am blessed to be part of many activities for Catholics my age in the area. One of them is the Monday Night Sports League (MNSL).

A look at the league

The MNSL started last summer with six teams. Young adults from my parish, St. Maria Goretti (SMG) in Madison, as well as teams from Cathedral Parish in Madison, Blessed Sacrament Parish in Madison, St. Paul University Catholic Center in Madison, St. Christopher Parish in Verona, and a team of friends called "Faith, Friends, and Funnies" (FFF) make up the league.

Last year, we played flag football, soccer, Ultimate Frisbee, kickball, and softball. While giving a spirited effort every time, my team, SMG, didn't win a single game. By contrast, the mighty FFF won every game.

This year, we added volleyball to the list of sports. We also began and will end the summer season with a cookout, so we can get to know the young adults on the other teams, and get to know each other better.

Despite a less-than-successful record, to put it lightly, we had many people who wanted to be on Team SMG again this summer, as well as some new friends who wanted to join in the fun. I was also blessed to be team captain this summer.

The matchup

With all due respect to my friends on Team FFF, everyone wants to take down the team at the top. After a tough week-one flag football loss to the team from St. Paul, the stage was set for our week-two matchup with the mighty FFF in the same sport.

Gametime!

As it got closer to our 8 p.m. kickoff time, on the backyard grounds of the Bishop O’Connor Center in Madison, the sun began to go down just enough to keep the sky perfectly lit, but make the conditions cool and comfortable for a game of flag football.

We met in the middle of the field to pray the Prayer of St. Michael the Archangel together and then it was time for the kickoff.

While Team SMG didn’t make a lot of noise in the first half, we were still in the game. Despite a couple of costly mistakes, we showed we could move the ball a little against them, and we held them scoreless on a couple of drives. We were going to get the ball after halftime only down 14-0.

I, in my role as team captain, wanted to put a smile on everyone’s face.

"We're still in this," I said. "We score here and we’re right back in this."

Sure enough, we moved the ball down the field, about 20 yards away from the end zone. Unfortunately, the turnover bug bit us again, and we threw another of a total of five interceptions on the evening.

Several unlucky breaks later, the game ended with FFF scoring 34 points, and SMG scoring zero.

Both teams met in the middle of the field at the end, like all teams do at the end of every game, to slap hands with each other and exchange a friendly "good game."

Heads held high

As the members of SMG -- tired from a big-hearted effort -- all converged on the sidelines, I expressed the happiness I felt over the game. The mood was pleasant, albeit exhausted, and we all felt upbeat and ready for the next game.

If there is a good way to lose 34-0, this is the way. As I drove home from the game, I really felt no disappointment, and I don’t think anyone on SMG wanted to beat FFF more than I did.

I felt blessed to be with a group of people, despite different skill levels and knowledge of sports, who share our faith together. If God shows himself through sports, it happens on the fields of the MNSL.

Now it’s time to rest and recover my nearly 30-year-old body, with average athletic abilities, and get ready for Ultimate Frisbee next Monday.

Win or lose, I’m blessed to be on my team. If we end up, yet again, finishing last in the standings, all clichés aside, we shall be first in our hearts with each other.

The Monday Night Sports League runs through August 19. For more information, visit the Diocese of Madison website at www.madisondiocese.org and click on "Young Adult Ministry" in the "Evangelization and Catechesis" section under the "Ministry" tab.

 


Kevin Wondrash is the reporter for the Catholic Herald in Madison. He is active in the young adult community in the Diocese of Madison. He is also involved with High School Youth Ministry and other activities at St. Maria Goretti Parish in Madison. You can follow him on Twitter @CHReporterKevin