SportsLeader is a burgeoning sports apostolate that serves to grow leaders in virtue ethics through comprehensive services and curriculum. From March 30th to April 1st, they held their inaugural conference in Cincinnati, Ohio, inviting relevant sports and faith practitioners who are seeking to better understand the role of intentional, Catholic formation for young athletes.
The Institute’s Eric Kindler had the privilege of attending and witnessing to the testimony and work that the organization has achieved. Beyond recognizing the fact that their curriculum has helped take many athletic programs to another level of competition, the belief in the process of this work was most striking. Time and again, individuals stood and attested to its relevance and how foundational it is to the growth of young people in Christ.
Among the attendees was Dr. Santiago Perez de Camino, the head of the Church and Sport office in the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for the Laity. In addition, the President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Archbishop Joseph Kurz, as well as Bishop Thomas Paprocki of the Springfield, Illinois diocese shared their thoughts on sports and faith.
Rooted in four pillars of development, the objective of SportsLeader is to implement the role of Director of Sports Ministry in dioceses across the nation. The Director of Sports Ministry, or ‘DSM’, would be responsible for working as a liaison with SportsLeader and the coaches that would ultimately need to champion the values of the curriculum to their respective teams.
Aside from the speeches by the various church leaders, the talks featuring coaches and administrators who have experienced the fruits of the program also shed a very memorable light on the impact of this form of development for young people wishing to succeed in athletics. While continuing to grow, the organization has now established itself with dioceses and schools from the Midwest across to the East coast.