Having grown up in Towson, I attended Immaculate Conception School from second through eighth grade. Of course, the ICS that I attended is not what it is today. Before the school took over the vacant building that was the former Towson Catholic HS, we didn’t have a cafeteria, so we ate at our desks for lunch every day. In addition, like many other elementary schools, we didn’t have a field on which to play, so we spent our afternoons running around the parking lot after the 12:00pm Mass concluded each day. As well, we unfortunately did not have access to a gymnasium. Instead, we had a multipurpose room with six metal columns conveniently placed within the main portion of the room. Of course, I used these poles to my advantage when we played floor hockey during Physical Education class. When Towson Catholic closed its doors in 2009, this sad day would eventually provide my grade school alma mater with a cafeteria, a playing field and a regulation size gym. Although I cherished my years at ICS, one of the drawbacks to our lack of facilities was that we were unable to participate in the Catholic Youth Organization basketball league. And sadly, as a somewhat diminutive athlete, my basketball career was a season or two playing hoops for the Towsontowne Recreation Council.
Fortunately for the young students of BEAR NATION, they won’t have that memory experience. Having daily access to the amazing gymnasium we have at St. Agnes isn’t only limited to our school-wide Community Meeting each day, or P.E. classes or performances, assemblies or service projects; it also serves as the home for our parish CYO basketball league. From November through March, you can’t drive down Old Frederick Road without hearing the echoing rhythm of bouncing basketballs each night through much of the school year. While there are many advantages to our students participating in this league, the benefit of a uniting activity where parish and school students come together with one goal – having fun in the Light of Christ. Regardless if a student is a novice or a superstar, there is a place on every team for all those who are interested. And as a parish ministry, the purpose of this Archdiocesan CYO league is “to empower athletic leaders to animate Gospel values in Catholic youth sports and encourage young people to live as disciples of Jesus Christ.” As we are all disciples of Christ, we want our young people to see themselves in this same role. From the first prayer on the court, to every encouraging word on the bench, even in every difficult defeat, our St. Agnes athletes are taught to be followers of Jesus in both word and action.
While there are too many volunteer coaches to list, I would like to extend my heartfelt gratitude to Sue Bianco for her countless years in guiding and leading this CYO program. And as one might imagine, arranging the practice schedule for so many teams can prove to be a logistical nightmare. For this reason, I would like to also extend my appreciation to Joe Boland for all that he does in managing the use of our gymnasium space. Thank you Sue, Joe and all of our team coaches! We are grateful for your commitment to our young people.