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EPISODE #112
CATHOLIC SPORTS VIEW: GUEST IS KENDALL SAEGER

Host Bob Gibson interviews coaches and players throughout the various Catholic high schools in Orange County. His Twitter handle is: @catholicsv

Today’s guest is:

  • Kendall Saeger (track and field team @ Santa Margarita Catholic High School) – she and Bob talk about “Soles for Souls..”

 

 

 

Originally broadcast on 3/14/20

EPISODE #97
CATHOLIC SPORTS VIEW: GUESTS ARE DAN ALBANO AND DEBBIE SIMONTON

Host Bob Gibson interviews coaches and players throughout the various Catholic high schools in Orange County. His Twitter handle is: @catholicsv

Today’s guests include:

  • Dan Albano (OC Register and OC Varsity);
  • Debbie Simonton (head tennis coach  at Rosary Academy)

 

 

 

 

Originally broadcast on 9/14/19

EPISODE #95
CATHOLIC SPORTS VIEW: FIRST ANNUAL TRINITY LEAGUE FOOTBALL MEDIA DAY

Host Bob Gibson interviews coaches and players throughout the various Catholic high schools in Orange County. His Twitter handle is: @catholicsv

On today’s episode, Bob brings you a special Trinity League football preview!

Today’s guests include:

  • Bruce Rollinson (Head football coach at Mater Dei High School);
  • Tristen Wilson (athlete at Servite High School)
  • Karrington Dennis (athlete at Servite High School)
  • Brent Vieselmeyer (head football coach at Santa Margarita High School)
  • J.P. Presley (head football coach at Orange Lutheran)
  • Jason Negro (head football coach at St. John Bosco High School)
  • Pat Harlow (head football coach at J Serra High School)

 

 

 

Originally broadcast on 8/10/19

EPISODE #93
CATHOLIC SPORTS VIEW: GUEST IS FRED ROBLEDO

Host Bob Gibson interviews coaches and players throughout the various Catholic high schools in Orange County. His Twitter handle is: @catholicsv

Today’s guest is:

  • Fred Robledo (Sports Editor for the San Gabriel Valley Tribune, The Star News and the Whittier Daily News);

 

 

 

Originally broadcast on 7/13/19

EPISODE #83
CATHOLIC SPORTS VIEW: GUESTS ARE CRAIG JOHNSON AND RUSS SMITH

Host Bob Gibson interviews coaches and players throughout the various Catholic high schools in Orange County.

Today’s guest is include:

  • Craig Johnson (head hockey coach for the Santa Margarita Catholic H.S. “Eagles”);
  • Russ Smith (director of elementary school athletics with the Diocese of Orange)

 

 

Originally broadcast on 4/20/19

SPORTS ON SUNDAYS OK, EXCEPT WHEN USED TO SKIP MASS, SAYS VATICAN

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — A new Vatican document cautions against the dangers of highly competitive children’s sports, political and economic pressures on athletes to win ‘”at all costs” and the unsportsmanlike or violent behavior of fans.

The document on sports also calls on every group or institution sponsoring sports programs to have expert-guided child protection policies in place and it urged bishops, parishes and lay Catholics to be proactive in helping “humanize” sports.

The document, “Giving the Best of Yourself,” also condoned sports on Sundays as a means of bringing families and communities together in joy and celebration, but only as long as such events are not used as an excuse to miss Mass.

The document was released June 1 by the Dicastery for Laity, the Family and Life, and is the first Vatican document on sports, said Cardinal Kevin Farrell, the dicastery’s prefect.

In a message to the cardinal, Pope Francis applauded the document and said, “Sport is a very rich source of values and virtues that help us to become better people.”

“We need to deepen the close connection that exists between sport and life, which can enlighten one another,” said the pope, who often fondly recalls how he and his family cheered on his favorite soccer team when he was a boy.

The 52-page document highlighted the church’s positive view of the important values inherent to sport and blew the whistle on the growing threats in the sports world, including corruption, over-commercialization, manipulation and abuse.

The document — meant for all Catholics and “people of goodwill” — also was an invitation to the church to offer itself as a valuable resource, partner and leader in safeguarding the dignity of the human person and all of creation.

In fact, it made specific reference to the need to protect the environment when it comes to hosting sporting events and to respect animals involved in sports, ensuring “that they are treated in a morally appropriate way and not as mere objects.”

It also mentioned briefly the growing and lucrative business of e-sports, that is, video game competitions and tournaments that award large cash prizes and draw huge numbers of spectators.

While not trying to touch on every problem or concern or pinpoint one sport in particular, the document listed what it saw as four serious challenges that are the result of an obsession with success and the huge economic and political pressures put on sports and athletes: the debasement of the body, doping, corruption and the negative behavior of spectators.

“Sports that inevitably cause serious harm to the human body cannot be ethically justified,” it said. Given the greater understanding people now have about the harmful effects of some sports on the body, particularly brain damage, all of society must put the well-being and health of the person first.

People are not machines, it said, and parents, coaches and communities must avoid objectifying players, particularly with expectations they receive medals, scholarships, wealth or break records.

“Aberrations of this kind can be seen in highly competitive children’s sports,” it said, noting an increase in pushing kids to specialize — often starting very early in life — in one sport intensively year-round, which can result in overuse injuries or eating disorders, particularly in girls’ and women’s gymnastics.

“Parents have a responsibility of showing children that they are loved for who they are, not for their successes, appearance or physical abilities,” it said.

Among the rights of life, dignity and freedom that must be protected in sports is protection against abuse, it said.

“Incidences of abuse of children whether physical, sexual or emotional by coaches, trainers or other adults are a direct affront” to minors, it said, so “institutions that sponsor sports programs for youth, including at the elite level, must develop policies with the help of experts that ensure the safety of all children.”

The document called on the church to develop and promote an “apostolate for sports” that shows the church’s commitment to the integral well-being and development of the human person in sports and to directly initiate sports-related activities at the local level.

It asked for appropriate pastoral plans for players and athletes — including former professionals who sometimes experience depression and substance abuse when their career comes to an end — as well as for parents and volunteers.

It called for “an educational strategy” to help coaches, teachers and managers seek the “best, most holistic” ways to humanize sports, and it urged seminaries to include formation in the pastoral care of sport as well as opportunities to practice sports, noting its potential as a way to evangelize.

Santiago Perez de Camino, head of the dicastery’s Church and Sport Office, was asked about the impact of seeing religious and priests compete in major competitions, like U.S. Father Stephen Gadberry of Arkansas, who was appearing on the reality show, “American Ninja Warrior.”

Father Gadberry and all men and women religious athletes offer “a very beautiful witness of how to join faith with sport,” he said.

They also show a church that doesn’t wait for people to come to them, he said, but one that goes directly onto the field to meet people where they are.

The document drew upon talks and teachings from Popes Pius X to Francis, as well as St. Thomas Aquinas, bishops’ conferences and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. It also cited contemporary experts, theologians and athletes, including David Meggyesy, former St. Louis Cardinals linebacker, who detailed the dehumanizing effects of pro-football in his book, “Out of Their League.”

Lastly, the document emphasized how sports must always include fun. Competition is meant to fruitfully engage and draw the best out of people, it said, not to face “an enemy who must be annihilated.”

Pope Francis, it said, invites people not only to play, but also to “challenge yourself in the game of life,” striving for what is good with courage and enthusiasm.

“Don’t settle for a mediocre ‘tie,’ give it your best, spend your life on what really matters and lasts forever,” Pope Francis said.

 

CONTACT SPORTS: VATICAN OFFICIAL CONNECTS THE CHURCH AND ATHLETES

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — After more than four years in office, Pope Francis probably has one of the world’s largest collections of authentic soccer-team shirts. He receives them and other sports paraphernalia during meetings with pro athletes where he encourages them to be models of virtue for their younger fans.

But the high-profile visits are just a hint of the work the Vatican does each day to promote values that should shine on and off the field.

Since 2004, the Vatican office now known as the Dicastery for Laity, the Family and Life has had a special section dedicated to sports. Santiago Perez de Camino, a 31-year-old Spanish layman, heads the office.

Perez studied law at the Complutense University of Madrid, his hometown. He specialized in international relations, hoping someday to become a diplomat for the Spanish government.

Perez said his role as head of the Vatican sports and culture section has a “practical and diplomatic” purpose as he strives to build relationships between the church and the sports community.

One of those relationships is with the International Olympic Committee. For the 2016 summer games in Brazil, “we worked very closely with the Archdiocese of Rio de Janeiro and the IOC to allow all the Catholic chaplains who travel with the national teams — like Poland, Italy, Germany, Austria, etc. — to enter into the Olympic Village. We also worked to promote the construction of the chapel inside the Olympic Village after receiving funding from Adveniat, a German foundation.”

But the office also promotes and organizes initiatives on a much smaller scale, events that “evangelize and form values and virtues within younger generations though the practice of sport,” he said. “One of the programs I like the most was the ‘Holy Land marathon,’ which was a race that we used to organize from Bethlehem to Jerusalem.” The race brought together Christians, Muslims and Jews, providing a forum for interreligious dialogue and “to promote Christian ideals in society through sports.”

Sports are a “unique tool to connect society and the church,” he said.

The church must connect with society through popular culture such as music, art and sports, he told Catholic News Service in late November. “The church must be like a battlefield hospital. It must go to the peripheries and to the people, not expect the people to come to the church,” he said.

As a “diplomat,” Perez also organizes international seminars at the Vatican to promote values through sports. For example, the seminar in 2015 explored the role of coaches in the formation of the new generation of athletes — both amateur and professional.

The role of coaches in the lives of athletes is important because of how often the two sides interact, said Perez. Coaches have the ability to be a role model, or “just the opposite,” depending upon their behavior.

Perez also maintains highly important relationships with organizations such as the United Nations, International Olympic Committee and the Council of Europe. These relationships allow the church to promote practical guidelines that emphasize the respect of human dignity and Christian values.

Before he became head of the church and sports section in 2013, Perez worked for the World Youth Day 2011, which was held in Madrid. He said he was a “link between the Spanish government and Holy See,” and that is where the Vatican first noticed Perez. Then came a thorough interview and vetting process.

“It doesn’t happen every day that you have a cardinal as your boss,” he said, regarding his Vatican job.

Settling into the position was a bit rocky at first, he said. His predecessor was gone before Perez arrived at the office, so there was no overlap and no chance to brief him on his duties.

“Fortunately, the environment inside the office is incredible,” said Perez. “We are like a family here and everybody is open to helping you and giving advice. Everyone was willing to help anyway they could.”

Perez said he is grateful for the challenges of his job because he learns new things about the church each day and the position has shown him a “larger vision of the Catholic Church.”

One of the most important things he has learned, he said, is that the Catholic Church in different countries has different ways to connect with people.

“It gives you a totally different perspective of what the Catholic Church is and what we are doing to make society better,” he said.