Special to The Southsider Voice
Eighty years of faith, football and fabulous camaraderie were celebrated and remembered Saturday night at the first Catholic Youth Organization football reunion at the Indianapolis Colts Training Facility.
Several Southside residents attended the event, including CYO Executive Director and former Roncalli football coach Bruce Scifres, former St. Jude CYO footballer and Ball State University kicker Mike Tinder and Roncalli football coach Scott Marsh.
The event, open to all former CYO football players and coaches, included remarks from Scifres and former Indianapolis Colts player Joe Reitz, who played CYO football in Hamilton County.
Scifres emphasized all the great qualities and lifelong lessons people learn by playing youth sports, qualities such as hard work, loyalty, dedication, mental toughness, leadership and teamwork. He also said faith is at the core of what makes Catholic football so special.
“I learned early on in college to take God in your heart on every play. I told my players to ask God for courage, for intensity and to take that with you on every play.”
That advice, along with strongly disciplined and well-coached athletes, paid off as Roncalli won seven state championships during Scifres’ tenure to tie for fifth most in Indiana high school football history.
The event featured some good-natured fun as former players and coaches competed in throwing and kicking contests on the Colts’ practice field.
Scifres said the event will become an annual one and will grow as the years progress. The CYO also plans to host a yearly reunion event for kickball players, with the first one planned for next spring.