Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Serena Williams and the Role of Men in the #MeToo Movement

This morning, I was able to watch first round action of the French Open through....a treadmill of all things. Much to my delight, the Tennis Channel featured Serena Williams vs. Kristyna Pliskova. Most people probably made note of one of two things about this match. Williams returned to tennis for the first time since she took maternity leave and did so dressed like a superhero. That's right, Serena defeated the number 70 player in the world in straight sets, wearing a lycra bodysuit that she admitted "had been inspired by a Marvel movie." However, what struck me the most was something I rarely see when it comes to Serena. Sitting in her box were three men: her husband, her coach and her hitting partner. Their presence—a striking visual—got me to raise a question I would like for women and men to discuss. I believe it's one Serena would appreciate as well. What is the role of men in the lives of women? And what, if anything, is the role of men in the "#MeToo" movement?
Williams has a legacy of strong women in her life. At most matches you will find them sitting together, offering their support in their presence and the relationship they share. I could easily write a treatise on the significance of each one of them. They're fascinating... strong women often are. Though none were in the stands today, you will typically see:

Her best friend, greatest opponent and older sister by just 15 months, Venus continued the legacy of Billie Jean King and fought for equal pay for women at Wimbledon. She succeeded! (If you want to learn more watch ESPN's Nine for IX:  Venus vs.) If she's not playing a match, she's either sitting in the box or getting ready to play Doubles' tennis with Serena.

Her agent:
Jill Smoller is indeed a "Cornerstone of Serena Williams' Inner Circle" According to the ESPN-W piece, "the relationship between Williams and Smoller, a former player who now works for WME-IMG, runs far deeper than looking after the athlete's commercial interests. "Jill goes beyond the call of duty when it comes to being an agent. When I was in the hospital [with a blood clot on my lung], Jill was one of the first people I called," Williams has said. "She was there for me throughout that entire ordeal that shook up my life." She also joined Serena and her husband at the Royal Wedding of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry.
Jill is in the pale blue suit behind Serena & Alexis
Her half-sister, Isha Price is a lawyer who often sits with their mother, Oracene. Though Richard Williams is largely touted as the madman/genius behind the success of his daughters, Venus and Serena, I have always believed that Oracene Price, their mother is the unsung hero. As written in "Ten Things You Ought to Know About Serena Williams Part 1"
Before they were born, Richard Williams devised a plan—one he committed to writing—outlining how his children would become the number one tennis players in the world. Much could be said about the plan, what is involved, etc, but one simple truth emerged from it. Although he worked with both Venus and Serena, Richard invested more of his time and energy into Venus’ game. 
However, Serena’s mother, Oracene Price worked with Serena in a way Richard did not. This combination allowed her to develop a game that suits her athletic ability and her mental game.
There is no Serena Williams without Richard or without Venus, but I firmly believe the "x-factor" to her greatness is Oracene's vision, support, and encouragement. Serena took it from there...and she's still running...and winning.

Serena, who came into the 2018 French Open unranked won the first round match 7-6, 6-4. I have to admit, I was surprised she did. Pliskova, a lefty served 15 aces. However, Williams did what she has always done as the greatest female tennis player in the game: she made adjustments where necessary, played up her own strengths and aimed to minimize her opponent's. Mission accomplished. 
What a powerful example she is to women and to the world. Nine months after having a baby—a girl named Alexis Olympia Ohanian, Jr.— she has conditioned herself mentally and physically to return to Roland Garros and get the win. However, she hasn't done so with the support of women alone. No. Serena Williams doesn't get to Paris or to the winner's circle without the very men sitting in the box: Patrick Mouratoglou, Alexis Ohanian, and Jarmere Jenkins.

Her coach:While fans would not be surprised to see Mourtatoglou watching Serena, casual fans might not understand the impact he has had one her game. ESPN-W writes.
It was in the days after Williams' deeply disconcerting first-round defeat at the 2012 French Open, to an opponent ranked outside the top 100, that she made contact with Mouratoglou. Williams, who had remained in Paris, where she has an apartment, needed somewhere to train before that summer's Wimbledon. Mouratoglou invited her to practice at his academy outside the city, and the connection was made.
That connection has paid huge dividends. Mourtatoglou took Williams' games to new heights. Her success under his tutelage is an isotope that continues to trend upward. From what I have read, he pays as much attention to detail as she does.
Her husband: Alexis and Serena Williams got married on November 16, 2017, in New Orleans, LA. From the Ted Talk: On Tennis, Love, and Motherhood with Gayle King, Serena admitted that her husband is a "bit of a nerd. Can't you tell he is super into technology?" She added that he is loving, kind and considerate; he makes her very happy.

Not to be crass, but I have often wondered who has a greater net worth? I'm honestly not sure who does. Regardless, he plays an important role in this new phase of her life and her career.

Her hitting partner: An important player in "Team Serena" is the man who serves as her hitting partner, Jarmere Jackson. For eight years, she worked with Sascha Bajin, who became such an integral part of Williams' life that he also acted as her confidant and bodyguard. In fact, she came to describe him as "family." Today, Williams works with Jackson, who led the Cavaliers of the University of Virginia to their first tennis national championship in 2013. The 27-year-old Jenkins, a former UVA standout, won singles, doubles and team titles in his college playing days before turning professional. He won his first pro event in 2013 before retiring from ATP play in mid-2017. His brother is the hitting partner for Venus.

One doesn't hear about this role often, but when it comes to athletics, women have an advantage that men do not. Ironically, their advance is through men. Players like Venus and Serena would not be able to find another female player who is bigger, faster or stronger than they are. However, by hitting with a male playing partner, they do. Male players like Federer or Nadal are forced to hire men that are younger and fitter. They can't provide the same challenge that a "better" player might, but it's something.

This training technique isn't uncommon in sports like women's basketball; the Notre Dame women's team has a practice squad that consists of male players—all of who played varsity hoops in high school—and know the game. They often play the role of the opposing team, mimicking plays and defenses that the Irish anticipate in the next game.
As much as I want to honor the strong women in Serena Williams life, to construct "Team Serena" without men would be a falsehood. That image of three men sitting in the box—analyzing her game, supporting her return, and encouraging her to victory—struck me for a reason. Serena has not and cannot win without them. She's smarter, faster, stronger and better with both. I think there's something here...women can't win without women, and they can't win without men either. Men can't win without men and they certainly can't win without women. We need each other. 

So where does that take us in settling the tragedy, the violation, the struggles and pain that launched the #MeToo campaign? A male friend responded by saying "the role of men is to listen, support and offer their gifts as necessary." That's a good start. Worth discussing more.... 

Photo Credits
Coach M

Monday, May 28, 2018

A Case for Being Your Own Biggest Fan: Steph Curry

For the fourth straight year in a row, the Golden State Warriors are headed to the NBA Finals. The 2017 Champions got there in a dramatic fashion—winning Game 7 on the road is no joke. The only time the Dubs led the series was when they returned to Oakland, following two games in Houston. The Warriors captured Game 2 and took Game 3 as well. Though the words of Steph Curry that fans will remember about Game 3 don't apply to the final game in the Westen Championship contest, I think his explanation does. 
Jeff Smith of the "Warriors Wire" wrote,
In arguably one of the most epic moments of the 2018 NBA Playoffs, Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry gave a rowdy crowd reason to get even crazier during Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals. 
With his team up 80-56 after his bucket, Curry had some words directly for the crowd. After scoring on a tough floater in the lane, Curry faced the home crowd and emphatically yelled, "This is my f---ing house!"
Warriors fans in attendance loved his expletive declaration as it signaled that after struggling to find his shot (in the first two games), Curry was back to his usual high scoring self. While many of his teammates and even his coach enjoyed seeing Curry catch fire, not everyone inside of Oracle shared those sentiments. 

Curry is a devout Christian, a loyal husband and doting father to two daughters (with another child on the way!). His parents are at the majority of his playoff games. Minus his tendency to chew on, if not throw his mouth guard, the 2016 MVP's reputation is squeaky yes, some fans were surprised and displeased when this role model dropped an "F-bomb" on national TV. Curry said, my mom "was telling me how I need to wash my mouth out, saying to wash it out with soap. It's a message I've heard before. She's right. I gotta do better. I can't talk like that." He added, "A lot of it was just talking to myself almost like you've got to be your biggest fan sometimes." 
I appreciate his insight. In fact, I have thought more about those words than the ones we weren't supposed to hear. Why? Because it's true: sometimes we DO need to be our own biggest fans. When we have a challenge or a difficult task, we have to affirm ourselves, encourage ourselves and focus.

I like to think that I am a discerning fan. I value qualities and characteristics in an athlete and seek to learn more about them...what makes them they work...what they do to cultivate their talent. I wonder: How do they shape their discipline? What do they eat? How do they condition themselves physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually? I look up to them because they have mastered something I admire. I look to them for guidance on how to get there...or how to improve...and how I can become the best version of myself. For me to be my own biggest fan would imply that I am taking inventory in the same way. A little self-knowledge never hurt! and yet, I want to tell my own athletes and students something more. Sorry, but I want you to be your biggest fan when you know you've put in the time and the effort. Believe in yourself, when you feel good about the strides you have made it working toward your goal. I won't tell you to be your own biggest fan because I'm supposed to. No, I want you to work toward something. This is a different way at viewing self-improvement. Go for it. 

When Steph Curry said, "This is my f---ing house!" I was disappointed. A lot of athletes say those words—or want to. Bad language is everywhere. Part of me is surprised the "F-word" still has power it's used so frequently. And frankly, I think it's easy to be like everybody else. I think what makes Steph Curry so remarkable on both a personal and professional level is because he is not....and I don't want him to be. We need role models who are different. Who choose to be better....who want more for themselves...and for us. 

Thank you, Steph for bringing the Warriors to the Championship Series. Many people here are your biggest fans...and you should be your own biggest fan. I have a feeling the only person that works as hard as you is on the opposing team. Game 1 starts on Thursday, May 31, in...YOUR house. team. 

Photo Credits
Head down yelling
My House

with KD

Sunday, May 20, 2018

What Really Feeds JJ Watt

JJ Watt, Defensive End for the Houston Texans eats 10-12 eggs a day. He said, "I probably eat 7-8 times a's about every hour and a half, every two hours—depending on the schedule. But I'm always eating, whether it's before a meeting, during a meeting, immediately before practice and after practice." Standing 6'5" and 290 lbs are you surprised?! He added, "You have to fuel the machine. So, I will start the day with 5 eggs over medium, two pieces of toast, oatmeal, yogurt, milk, water, orange juice, an apple and a banana. You can't go on and do a full day of activities without something in your stomach. That's what you've got to do." Though his $300-$400 weekly grocery bill fuels the three-time defensive player of the year, JJ Watt's announcement to pay for the funeral of the most recent school shooting, has proven to me that something other than healthy food nourishes and sustains him: his charity work.

Watt was named Sports Illustrated's Sportsperson of the Year, an award he shares with fellow Houston All-Star, the Astros' second baseman, Jose Altuve. Altuve was named the American League MVP and helped his team capture their first World Series title with his .452 postseason batting average. No one will argue that all 5'7" of Jose Altuve was a worthy candidate for SOTY. Watt, on the other hand, may have been a surprise. He experienced a devastating knee injury a little more than six weeks after Harvey’s landfall which sidelined him for the rest of the season. However, what Watt did with that post-surgery time, is not only remarkable, it's a reflection of who he is, how he was raised and what sustains him. 

With all three sons now in the NFL, the Watt family has always had a hefty grocery bill. But they were known for feeding half of J.J.’s football team out of their kitchen. “The boys depleted our savings for college as our food bills skyrocketed and the travel bills went up,” says John. “We said, ‘I hope they get scholarships.’ ” They did..and they didn't. J.J. left his scholarship at Central Michigan to pursue his dream of playing at the University of Wisconsin. Fortunately, his success as a Badger paved the way for his younger brothers Derek and TJ. Madison to fit those bills. 
The Watt family's sense of giving was in no way limited to the dinner table. Robert Klemko writes, "By J.J.’s teenage years, the lessons imparted on the Watt boys were being put into practice. When J.J. was 13 and his mother was offered a full-time job that would require her to stop volunteering at the local elementary school, reading to children, it was Watt family code that she’d find a replacement before accepting the new gig. Says Connie, “And J.J. right away said, ‘I’ll take over your volunteer hours.’ And he did.”

Watt raised $37 million for the relief efforts in Houston. What is both inspiring and impressive is yes his commitment, dedication, and sheer desire to use his platform for good, but moreover that his works fuel others to do the same.

Of no surprise, back in Pewaukee—Watt's hometown, Connie, his mother, helped organize a food-and-supply drive that ultimately sent 10 semi-trucks and a cargo plane headed to Houston, packed with goods. Local farmers and truckers donated not only their time but also the money required to get a convoy of 18-wheelers across the country and back. “We begged them to let us at least pay for gas,” Connie says, “and they just refused.” 
A five-hour drive north of Houston, in Hudson, Iowa, Kevin Yoder and Michael Roberts, volunteer co–head coaches on their sons’ third- and fourth-grade flag football team, wondered if their boys would be interested in helping out. After all, they were extended members of the Houston family—months prior, in a random draw, their team was assigned Texans-branded uniforms. 
“We gave them the challenge on Tuesday night [after the hurricane],” says Yoder. “ ‘Go home, do extra chores, turn in your pop cans, and we’ll see how much we can raise by Thursday.’ We thought they might come back with $50.” 
Instead, the boys returned with $559. They printed up a novelty-sized check and sent a picture, along with the money, to Watt. Yoder, meanwhile, was reminded of a Bible story that his sons, Anderson and McCoy, had studied. The Lesson of the widow’s mite, from the Book of Mark, describes Jesus observing wealthy people donating to charity in large amounts—and a single widow donating a few cents. Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.” 
Even with his $100 million dollar contract ($59.1 million of which is guaranteed), Watt has given generously—reminding me the lesson of this parable is not for him, but for me.
On Saturday, May 19, Watt announced that he would pay for the funerals of those killed in the shooting at Santa Fe High School. "Ten people were killed Friday morning and 10 more were wounded when a 17-year-old carrying a shotgun and revolver opened fire at the high school about 30 miles from downtown Houston." The Texans have confirmed his statement. I should be surprised. I'm not. Amazing.

I've always been partial to comfort food. It lives up to its name. My hope is that the students and faculty at Santa Fe High School are finding comfort in meals made by neighbors, in the love and support of one another, in prayer and in time for grief.....and I'm sure in the gifted charity of J. J. Watt—his other great fuel and sustenance. 

Photo Credits

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Got Inspiration? Thank You, Frank Allocco

What I'm about to write isn't rocket science. I'm confident this message has been shared with me by my teachers, coaches, parents, and friends but we all need reminders. Twine not required.
I haven't been feeling very inspired lately. As a sports fan and a teacher of a course called Sports and Spirituality, I'm not often ISO inspiration. Besides, inspiration is everywhere: all one needs to do is turn on any given playoff game, attend a high school senior day game or pick up the now biweekly edition of Sports Illustrated and you will find that for which you seek. Perhaps I haven't been tuning in or paying attention, but my lack of inspiration means I'm less inclined to write a blog posting or share a story with a friend, yielding an unwelcome cycle. Why? because inspiration begets inspiration. So what do you do when it's missing...when you go through the motions...when things feel well, meh. Fortunately, my annual guest speaker, Frank Allocco reminded me of an answer. 

Frank Allocco is the Executive Senior Associate Athletic Director of External Relations at the University of San Francisco. I know Frank because not only was he the quarterback at the University of Notre Dame he founded the Excel basketball camp my brother attended many times while growing up. He was the head basketball coach at De La Salle High School where he won two state championships. He is a husband, father, grandfather, son, brother, coach, poet, athlete and a friend. A true Notre Dame man, he is a motivational speaker who never fails to make an indelible impression on my seniors. He is visionary and wise. In short, he is an inspiration.
I left our class yesterday feeling the way I hadn't in a long time. If you want inspiration...if you're seeking to be inspired, surround yourself with inspiring people. These words, this insight was not the message of Coach Allocco. No, this insight was a by-product of his presence. I am ever grateful for his time and attention. He gives one of the greatest gifts anyone can give: he gives his time, attention and his presence. Given the pace and demands of this world, that might be one of the most inspirational things about him. However, there is much can start by reading "Lofty Dream and Buried Blessings" and conclude with his insights from his 2018 talk at St. Ignatius. Here are but a few...

1. Have a sense of urgency about what you do. 
Life presents a wealth of opportunities, some of which we capitalize upon. When and if we do. we can make minutes into memories. However, none of this happens without a certain sense of urgency. Coach Holtz said we should continually ask ourselves: What's Important Now. The "now" speaks to that urgency. Get it done. Do the work. Not tomorrow...not next

2. Put your athletes in a position where they become role models.
It's one thing to tell your team that they are role models—or expected to be— and another to provide the tools so they can grow into them. Coach Allocco told us that before every game he made sure that his players, the boys' varsity basketball team, found the kids in the stands and shook their hands. This small act of kindness is important for two reasons: it reinforces the virtue of gratitude. It's never a given that someone can or will show up for our games...but we are glad they do! A handshake is a "thank you" and a welcome in one. Second, this deed helps a teenager realize the impact they (may) have. They might have been a kid in the stands in the pasting—dreaming of wearing a varsity jersey. Others might make a connection with those they encounter. This small gesture is an act of service. If we can do the small things, we can do the big ones too.

Coach Allocco's own coach and personal hero.
Ara greatest legacy was left off the football field.
3. The world can be a cold and dreary place....
Coach Allocco has more than his fair share of good stories. As I listened to some new ones, and others I had heard before, I realized why he was able to tell so many good ones. Yes, the words of Greg Boyle, SJ ring true: "good stories come to those who can tell them," but I also think good stories come to those who reach out to others. That's what Frank does. He meets people while swimming in a pool, he greets strangers and has welcomed them to Notre Dame, he pays attention to a button you might be wearing and wants to know more about its message. In short, he erases the lines between us and them....until there is "just us." 

I found myself thinking how much warmer and brighter the world is because of people who build that bridge—welcoming the stranger and feeding the hungry. In this case, we were hungry for his wisdom and insight. I found myself hungrier than I knew and feasting on inspiration.

Thank you, Coach Allocco. So blessed to have your friendship and now....more inspiration.

Photo Credits

Sunday, May 13, 2018

A Prayer for Moms....Priests at the Wheel

Every job has its grunt work. For teachers, it's grading the interminable pile of papers. Not
all homework, tests, and quizzes can be reduced to a scantron sheet. Grading is a thankless, though necessary task—that's what grunt work is! Athletic directors find the grind in the endless scheduling of games, meets and matches—securing their location and referees—only to put out the fires when one piece of that puzzle goes missing. Every coach can name their grunt work in two seconds or less. As a cross country coach, leading runners through dynamic stretching and line drills was a drag. I was supposed to get angry when they were off task or going through the motions. I understand their importance, I just found it difficult to expend the energy to get fired up or angry. Couldn't we just run?! Today, I find the grunt work in driving the team van along the WCAL highway. Having to back this 10 passenger vehicle into a tight spot at the end of a long day put the "grunt" in the work. So where does this realization take us? Fortunately, the words of Oscar Romero taught me that the places that are tiring, demanding and unpopular, the work that is thankless and banal can also serve as the place where we are transformed. Those unlikely and unsuspecting spaces are where God can show up—in our lives in the lives of those we serve. I have a feeling that Moms already know this is true

The Salvadoran Archbishop and Martyr wrote,
How beautiful will be the day when all the baptized understand that their work, their job, is a priestly work, that just as I celebrate Mass at the altar, so each carpenter celebrates Mass at the workbench, and each metalworker, each professional, each doctor with the scalpel, the market woman at her stand, are performing a priestly office! 

How many cab drivers, I know listen to this message there in their cabs; you are a priest at the wheel, my friend, if you work with honesty, consecrating that taxi or yours to God, bearing a message of peace and love to the passengers who ride in your cab.
I hope that everyone who reads his words can discover how their job can be priestly work. For moms, that might just be inherent in the job description—knowing that one piece of the job is serving as the family taxi driver—a thankless though necessary task.
I too have a sense of this responsibility as a coach. Driving the team van to practice and to matches, I have listened to many candid conversations—some which sought my opinion and others in which it was unwelcome. I have had to discern when to respond and when to just keep listening. I want the team van to be a place where my golfers can be themselves, where they can be honest and open and allow others to do the same. The van can be a place where student-athletes can vent and work through questions and quagmires, but it also ought to be a place that doesn't grow negative or ungrateful. I have no tolerance for disrespect or entitlement. I remind my golfers that Mean people suck. We are called to so much more....and so am I.

Romero states that one's taxi—for me, it's a van—can be a transformative place and space. The shared ride can yield messages of peace and love. Wow. God can do that work—all I need to do is hand that over to God—God will take the wheel on that one. This might be an important message for Moms to hear.
And, I write this piece on Mother's Day because I know just how many Moms shuttle their children to and from school, practice and games. Though the responsibilities of parenting and (hopefully) increasingly more equitable, I think back to my experience on JV Tennis at Carondelet. During my freshman year, we got to our matches thanks to the taxing of moms. I made it to every swim practice and swim meet, basketball game and Irish dancing because of my mom. The term "soccer mom" (though often not a positive moniker) doesn't exist for nothing. The women who have helped children learn a sport, master a skill, become a member of a team and pursue a dream are honored today—as they should be. They have taken us there and home, allowing us to talk, listen, vent and celebrate—with a message of love.  Being a mom is so much more than being a taxi driver (though I know how many feel reduced to that job—replete with grunt work). No, theirs too is a priestly office. Thank you, Mom. 

Photo Credits
Celebrate Grunt Work

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Vocations Promotion Day 2018: The Heart Speaks

For the fifth year in a row, the Religious Studies Department at St. Ignatius (where I teach) hosted Vocations Promotion Day. Though the prior focus of #VoProDay in the past has addressed a calling to religious life—as a priest, sister or brother—this year, we included a panel of speakers to share their thoughts and stories on living their vocation as a layperson. Both groups offered a beautiful witness to the joy of the Gospel and the power of God's love. Lay or religious, ultimately, a vocation is a call to love. How we do that—generously, selflessly, and wholly is our story. The Spirit calls and hopefully, we listen. Many times throughout the day, I realized I wasn't listening to the speakers in the way I usually do. No, I was listening with my heart. I can't think of a better way to hear, understand, and learn. Let me explain.

SI is very proud of Ryan Mak, SJ. One of our own, pursuing a religious vocation with the Society of Jesus
The men and women who spoke about their religious vocations are young (read: younger than me). They are dynamic and energetic, full of vim and vigor. They have given their lives to the Lord freely and wholeheartedly. They love God and the Church—messiness and all. As they shared their stories of choosing to respond to their call, of moving toward ordination, taking vows, living in a community, why they serve, and how God is at work in their lives, I realized they were speaking a foreign language. I wondered if my students could understand what they were talking about. I thought about the chasm that exists between the life these men and women have chosen amidst the culture in which we swim. Could they handle that our guests were this unapologetic about their belief in God and love for Christ? Would they understand faith and love demands something of us? It's not often my students hear a message this direct.

As I considered these questions and looked around the room, I paid attention to what I was feeling. Something was stirring in my heart. Though their message might seem foreign, the language of God's love is universal. Though not everyone in the room might feel like these men and women do or hold what they believe, hearing and learning about the love of God is a message for every human person—language, a degree, age, race or gender is irrelevant. I'm grateful my students had the opportunity to hear about the many ways young men and women are responding to this call to love. 
One might wonder why so few young people today are pursuing this call. Nothing about that call—the call to love— is easy. Lay or religious, ordained, single or married, love is scary. We run the risk of being hurt, we must make sacrifices, we are made vulnerable and we reveal our true selves. But the call to love is unyielding, relentless and transformative. It is something we must do in order to become fully human. We must do it afraid, but we do not do it alone. God meets us more than halfway. Every speaker gave testimony to that truth and how they have responded in their own way. The language might have been foreign, but the message wasn't.

One need not host a vocations day to promote this call to love...this challenge to do it afraid. Thanks to the Grotto Network, we have a testimony from (soon to be? Father) Anthony Federico in "From ESPN to Seminary: A Comeback Story." Their website states After he was fired from ESPN, Anthony Federico wondered where he could possibly go next. He remembered a voice once telling him, "One day you will be a priest" — and he couldn't ignore his calling any longer.
I shared his story with my own classes to prepare for Vocations Promotion Day. They appreciated the message he got from his mother. I was impressed by the fact Jeremy Lin reached out to him. Though his mistake at ESPN still confounds me—one for which he paid a big price—it is important to hear how it served as a path toward his vocation. 

Mother Teresa said "We can't all do great things. But we can do small things with great love." Something tells me that if we do respond to God's call to love in our lives, the small things will add up. For some, it will be in giving their lives to another person in marriage, for others in service as a deacon or a lay minister and still others it might be leading us to lead the faithful as a sister or a priest. My simple advice is to listen—not with your ears but with your heart. As John Dunne, CSC wrote, "the heart speaks." It will.

Photo Credits
Vocation Diagram