Monday, August 8, 2011

From the Free Throw Contest to Helping Haiti: Knights of Columbus live Sports & Spirituality

Walking out of mass at St. Mary’s parish in Walnut Creek, I was encouraged to see the Knights of Columbus still host their monthly pancake breakfasts. In a world that is increasingly more hostile to families and to their budgets, this event is both affordable and builds community. And, in case delicious pancakes plus the aforementioned reasons don’t suffice, the proceeds provide scholarship funds for seminarians and needy grammar school students. Thank you Knights!Perhaps your familiarity with the Knights is from your dad, an uncle or grandfather who served as a loyal member. Maybe as a child you entered their pro-life essay-writing contest, or purchased a steak sandwich at Notre Dame on a football Saturday, or participated in their free throw shooting contest….ok, maybe it’s the regalia?!

Considering the state of free throws in the NBA, this is one contest I believe many more players should enter. Any basketball purist cannot watch a game today and not leave it in total disgust. They are called “free throws” for a reason; those are free points. Long are the days of Chris Mullin who completed his career with a 86.5% free throw average (I am however pleased to report Steve Nash has a 90.5% average to date). It seems that performances like those of Shaq (52.7% lifetime average, he missed his 5000 free throw in 2008) are all too common. Practice, practice, practice! and make that practice a little fun—as the Knights’ competition did, while raising funds for CYO programs!

The Knights may have a way of instilling fundamentals, but they are also responding to new needs in our community. After the 2010 earthquake in Haiti a great need emerged—for prosthetic devices. Thus, through a partnership with Project Medishare, the Knights launched “Healing Haiti’s Children.” The medical group crafts and fits prosthetic devices and provides ongoing physical therapy. The Knights provide the funding, awareness and support. Some recipients are members of an amputee soccer club called Team Zaryen. This team “is about more than soccer. The players are committed to setting an example for all those who face difficult and life-changing circumstances.” We all have something to learn from these talented and spirited athletes.

To me, the Knights of Columbus are a wonderful example of a community that models Sports and Spirituality at its best. They are a gift to the Church and I hope we support their efforts in a church and a world that needs their example of service, community, discipline and generosity. Again, thank you Knights!

Photo Credits
Team Zaryen
Chris Mullin--Lefty Free Throw
Knights & Team Z

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