MOSAIC Spring 2017 - Page 20

The 2016-17 Sacred Heart Lions placed second in a national all-seminary tournament. They are joined by a team of priests, Leo the mascot, and honorary coach Sr. Mary Finn, HVM. AN AUDIE N C E O F ON E Glorifying God comes first for Lions basketball team Matthew Wagner D URING MY JUNIOR YEAR of seminary studies in Minnesota, I vividly remember facing the Sacred Heart Lions in basketball at an annual seminary basketball tournament. As our team trailed by more than twenty points, I looked over the bench at an unconventional coach Fr. John McDermott SJ, accompanied by a tall mascot, “Leo the Lion,” who I would find out later is a current classmate of mine here at Sacred Heart and has turned out to be a great friend. I knew with confidence that we would be defeated by the Sacred Heart Lions that day. What I didn’t know was that I would be joining that same basketball team only in a matter of years, and that some of the men that I had played against then I would eventually recognize as my brothers now. Everybody’s Welcome We have a group of about fifteen men who meet twice a week for practice, and meet throughout most weekends from No- vember through February for scrimmages, games, and tournaments. Our competitors are diverse: we scrimmage a team from a 18 seminary in Texas, a team of priests of the Archdiocese of Detroit, and even a team of FBI members. No game is an easy game; we approach each opponent with a unique game plan and strategy. Playing basketball at Sacred Heart unites men from both the college and the theologate, banding together players who have a wide range of experience with the sport. While some come onto the team having played in high school or college, others may have never played organized basketball in their lives. Both types are welcome, and both types are encouraged to play. As a team we Sacred Heart Major Seminary | Mosaic | Spring 2017 practice and as a team we improve. The season concludes with two tourna- ments that take place shortly after return- ing for our second semester of studies. Mundelein Seminary, which is just north of Chicago, and the Pontifical College of the Josephinum in Columbus, Ohio, host a number of seminaries from across the United States. Bringing in hundreds of men who are all in formation and studying for the priesthood, these two tournaments are un- doubtedly the highlights of the season for all of us. What would otherwise be nor- mal weekends at Sacred Heart are spent as a team of brothers who take the time to travel, eat, pray, and compete together. It’s a privilege to be a part of such a varied group of men who work diligently throughout the season to build up one an- other individually and as a team. We need each person on the team that God has brought together, and the season wouldn’t be the same without those very people. Playing with a Purpose While we play so as to win, we also play—first and foremost—to glorify God. It’s evident that each of my teammates places Jesus Christ at the center of his rea- son for playing and his reason for living.