In a fast-paced world filled with text messages and “snaps,” the written letter has truly become a long-lost art. Through Althoff Catholic’s new Sports Leader program, which is based on the four pillars of virtue, ceremony, mentoring and Catholic identity, our student athletes are asked to write a letter to their mothers for presentation in front of the team at a mid-season “Letters to Mom Ceremony.” In a previous blog story, we highlighted the girls’ soccer team’s “Father-Daughter Jersey Ceremony” as experienced by the Kaltwasser and Jones families. In this story, we continue to follow the progress of the girls’ soccer team with the Sports Leader program by sharing the experiences of the O’Dells and the Jacksons with the “Letters to Mom Ceremony.”
“The Sports Leader program has impacted me by drawing two very important things in my life together, my faith and soccer,” said Amanda Jackson ‘18. Introduced for the first time at the beginning of the spring sports season, the girls’ soccer coaches and team have embraced every aspect of the Sports Leader program. The girls and coaches agree that the program has drawn the team closer together because of the opportunity to tie faith and virtue into something they are all so passionate about. “The activities and discussions we do through the weekly virtues helps us represent our school and our faith on the soccer field in a new way,” said Amanda. “One of the weekly virtues was ‘other-centered.’ This virtue made me think of others’ feelings and their situations before mine. The virtue taught me to think before I speak because you never know what is going on in another person’s life.”
The virtue of the week is the thread that ties the program together throughout the season. The two ceremonies offer opportunities to incorporate athletes’ families into the program in a meaningful way. “The letter ceremony was so special. I don’t think there was a dry eye in the room,” said Jeannie O’Dell, mom to Lindsey O’Dell ’18. “I know that it took a lot of courage for the girls to get up in front of everyone and read their letter. It was so nice to see the girls show such emotion as they thanked their mothers. I think the ceremony showed all the girls on the team that it is okay to show your parents how much you love and appreciate them.”
Lindsey O’Dell appreciated the opportunity to share her letter with mom as much as her mom appreciated receiving the letter. “My mom is my best friend and I look up to her in everything I do. She is the strongest, kindest, most selfless person I know, and she is the best role model. As I mature, I find myself becoming more like her in my faith and in my everyday life.”
Amanda’s mom, Rebecca Jackson, felt honored to be part of the ceremony. “Some of the letters made us cry and others made us laugh,” said Rebecca. “I do not get to make it out to many of Amanda’s games because of health issues. I was truly blessed to participate in this new tradition at Althoff Catholic. I loved my letter.”
The opportunity to share a letter with her mother also meant a lot to Amanda. “I am not always the most sentimental person to my mom,” said Amanda. “I am not always sure she knows how much she means to me. I feel as this really hit home and showed her how much I love her.”
At Althoff Catholic we consider ourselves blessed to teach not only outstanding academics, but life’s most important lessons. “By fostering faith and virtue in our students we are truly teaching the whole person and that is a real gift,” said Principal Dave Harris. “I am excited to see more of our athletic teams adopt this program in the way that girls’ soccer has. I am also looking forward to implementing the 18-mintue virtue period into our academic day next year so that all of our students are able to benefit from having these important virtues in the forefront of what we do at our school on a daily basis.”
We are thankful to Mrs. O’Dell and Mrs. Jackson for sharing their experiences with us. We wish them and all of our Althoff Catholic moms, past and present, a very Happy Mother’s Day!