The mission of CYC sports is, “building communities of faith through sports.” We believe that sports can help us grow as missionary disciples of Jesus Christ by cultivating the values of Faith, Sportsmanship and Service.
Sports offers our athletes the opportunity to have fun, playing a sport they love. While doing so, our athletes have the opportunity to grow in virtues like fortitude, temperance, justice and prudence. Effort, dealing with adversity, respecting others, and working as a team all contribute to success on the field and in the gym. Beyond the game, these virtues equip our athletes to fulfill God’s call to all persons – to live a life of service to others.
This past twelve months, we have all dealt with tough times. Changes in our world and in our way of life have contributed to stress and hardship. We have learned to deal with this stress in different ways. Often times, the lessons we learned as athletes have helped us to cope with the stress and to find ways to make a bad situation better. Focus, determination, teamwork.
In May 2020, the death of George Floyd, brought out the raw emotion of racism in our communities. Unfortunately, we have seen this occurrence play out before, however, something about this time is different. Our world has begun to take a real look at the overall issue of racism.
More people are having a discussion about racism and how it has impacted the lives of others. They have forced themselves to look in the mirror and honestly assess what they have done to help or harm the problem. As a Church, we are called to be at the center of this discussion.
The CYC was started in the Archdiocese of St Louis in 1947, primarily to offer an opportunity for black youth to play sports in St Louis. At that time, they were excluded from other leagues because of their skin color. We are proud of our legacy of inclusion to all kids. We are one of the few CYC organizations in the country that allows anyone to play; regardless of where they go to school or church.
CYC sports have looked in the mirror. We believe this is a great opportunity to address this issue. While some of you may not think CYC sports has a racism problem, there are others who would disagree. Here are some comments we have heard:
- Why don’t the refs look like us?
- They play too rough.
- They play street ball.
- They play out of control.
- They are too loud.
- They are not very friendly.
What’s the common word in these statements? It is “they.” It is not a word that builds community. Our program needs to get together and discuss how we can work as a team to change “they” kind of thinking, to “we” thinking. It can’t be us versus them. We have a common humanity. We have a common baptism. We have to be ONE TEAM.
The CYC office has organized a committee to discuss the issues of race and sports in our ministry. To truly affect change, we need to hear everyone’s viewpoint. We are looking for suggestions to improve the experience of playing CYC sports for our athletes.
The committee has outlined specific objectives for the future:
- Educate the St Louis athletic community to raise awareness of the existence of racism.
- Provide more opportunities for integration based on the guidelines from the Vatican.
- Provide a means to report and address uncomfortable and inclusive experiences involving race.
- Promote the CYC values of faith, sportsmanship, and service into addressing the problem of racism in CYC sports.
- Provide an environment where every athlete can have fun and feel welcome.
Racism has no place in CYC sports. We can be better. CYC sports provides a great opportunity to form our athletes in Christian virtues and equip them to treat others with respect. Sports can be a unifier in our communities. We need to be ONE TEAM.
If you would like to participate with the ONE TEAM committee, please contact CYC Director, Dan Fitzgerald at DanFitzgerald@archstl.org.