An ECyD sports tournament in Michigan honored a new saint
in a special way the weekend of May 9-11, 2014.
17th annual John Paul II Sports Tournament took place this
month at Everest Academy in Clarkston, Michigan, just two weeks after
the tournament’s namesake was canonized by the Catholic Church.
and seventy five boys, organized into 24 teams, participated in
the three-day tournament, in hockey, soccer, basketball, and a catechism
“It is an opportunity to bring kids together from
different schools, provide an experience of friendship, sports, fun and
faith together, and hopefully also help them grow in their
convictions that will help them make good decisions going forward,”
said Br. Kramer Cameron LC, one of the event organizers.
“I think a sports tournament of 175 kids with Christ
at the center is a positive and powerful experience. I
love this quote from Pope Benedict: ‘The exact meaning of
(the word) Catholic is synthesis. I would therefore be against
having to choose between either playing football or studying Sacred
Scripture or Canon Law. Let us do both these things.’”
JPII Tournament, as it has come to be called, involves
single elimination competition with playoffs in all four categories.
finals for the senior division catechism, soccer and basketball games
took place in the main gym Saturday night in front
of an electrified crowd,” said Br. Kevin Gore LC, who
also helped organize the event.
The soccer games took place on
Friday and were played on the outside field, but were
threatened a bit by inclement weather. A bit of Divine
intervention may have helped, organizers believe, thanks to a tournament
tradition involving the recitation of the rosary. The first day
the boys had to come inside to say the rosary
in the school gymnasium following a severe weather alert. Afterwards
the weather cleared and remained clear the rest of the
weekend. Saturday’s weather was such an improvement that the rosary
was held in its usual location, around the outdoor campus
statue of Our Lady.
“It was a bit of a miracle,”
said Br. Kevin.
The tournament wrapped up Sunday with a Mother’s
Day Mass in which the participants each presented their mothers
in attendance with a rose. An award ceremony followed, closing
with a video chronicling the event.
“I was happy to
be part of the JPII organizational team because of the
spirit that we created,” said Br. Kevin. “I often wondered
why it is that we put on tournaments in the
first place – so many teams participate, but only one
takes the gold in each sport. But this year I
learned that competition isn’t primarily about winning – it is
about challenging yourself to become better. The JPII tournament is
an opportunity for these young men to grow towards maturity.
What a healthy way to spend the weekend -- having
a blast with friends and taking one more step down
the road to manhood.”