Friday, March 30, 2012

Quintin Coples: Top Defensive Prospect in 2012 Draft

One of the top defensive prospects in the 2012 draft is Quintin Coples former defensive end and tackle of the North Carolina Tar Heels. Coples who most consider a defensive end moved over to tackle in 2010 when the Tar Heels needed help at that position. Based on the pro salary differences between defensive end and tackle, one would have to think that end is where he wants to be positioned for the draft.

According to Spotrac.com there are 8 defensive ends that have base salaries of over $10 Million dollars now in the NFL. Defensive ends are one of the premier positions in football as the need for an effective pass rush has become such a critical part of the defense.

Coples is 6'5-6'6" and 275-285 lbs. depending upon the source. He reminds some physically of the super athletic Julius Peppers, also a former Tar Heel, who is a relentless defensive force for the Chicago Bears now. There are some different views of where Coples might end up in the pros, but most of the teams interested in him are in the market for a pass rusher.

Different scouts suggest that he is remarkably strong, quick, and a very versatile athlete. Some suggest that he is a player who looked after his future in the NFL by playing under control his last year in college thus bringing his stats down, but avoiding injury. It's hard to say and probably unfair to guess at something like that. During Coples collegiate career, the Carolina program was investigated, NCAA sanctions were made, and a head coaching change was implemented. I think most people would expect these things to have some impact on play. Most analysts suggest that Coples is the top defensive linemen and a superb athlete who has the gifts to be great.

Regardless of who is right and who is wrong about Coples, the different views on Coples show how difficult it is to determine who will be great and who will not be great in the NFL. All the talent in the world does not mean a player will live up to expectations in the NFL. By the same token, a college player who thinks ahead to the pros while playing in a troubled program is not necessarily indicative of someone who won't give 100% to his NFL team.



----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Sporting Chance Press is the publisher of Patrick McCaskey's Sports and Faith: Stories of the Devoted and the Devout and other fine sports books. Sports and Faith: Stories of the Devoted and the Devout is a personal chronicle of Chicago Bears Senior Director Patrick McCaskey that looks back at decades of spiritual enrichment and life lessons from athletes, coaches, religious and everyday people. McCaskey recalls the stories of those who strived to make the cut on and off the field—plus people who left comfortable lives to serve the under-served in extraordinary ways.

Patron Saint of Booksellers

People in the business of selling books today need help. There is nothing easy about being an author, a publisher or a book seller today--sports books included.

In some circles, people pray to saints asking them to intercede on their behalf to God. To many this seems odd, some see it as a kind of polytheism, but for many it's a wonderful way to include a whole "village of holy people" in their lives. There are endless stories of saints that make up an enormous literature of faith and inspiration.

Saint John of God is what reporters today would call a "great story." John was born in Portugal in 1495--just a few years after Columbus "sailed the blue." He came from modest, but devout parents. As a youth, he was innocent and virtuous. But when he joined the military of the King of Spain Charles V, well that's when things went south. According to Butler, the "licentiousness of his companions" led him to lose his fear of and devotion to God. Eventually, he renewed his faith, but not after he had done some things that he would regret for the rest of his left. He went about like some were wont in those days to seek martyrdom.

Traveling to Africa, he prayed, repented, and slavishly served a Portuguese gentlemen and his family who had fallen on hard times. In time, he was somehow convinced that martyrdom was something that one should not seek directly. He left Africa and traveled to Granada where he started to sell little devotional books and statues as something fitting a pious man that might help others find virtue. His brief bookselling days earned him the title of Patron Saint of Booksellers (including others involved in the book trade) long after his death.

After hearing a sermon by a famous preacher of the time, John D'Avila, Saint John went mad with guilt and remorse--he cried out in church and then ran around the streets where people threw things at him. He gave away any money he had made and all his possessions. D'Avila tried to talk some sense into him and it seemed to work for a while, but then a kind of madness crept back and he was committed to a "madhouse." A madhouse was a place where mentally ill patients were treated cruelly in that time. D'Aila must have been appalled when he heard of John's fate and set out again to set Saint John right. D'Avila convinced him that he could do more positive things than punish himself--he had been punished enough at that point. Thus, Saint John went out renewed with piety and charity to serve the poor, the sick, and those who were the most vulnerable in the society. He created a hospital.

Saint John became so well known for his piety and devotion to the poor, that the rich were often competing with each other to offer the most support and aid to the "hospital" he created. He seemed to have no interest at all in even being esteemed by anyone for anything--including holiness. When one woman called him a hypocrite, it was said he gave her some money and asked her to go out in public and proclaim the same. When a complaint came to the Archbishop that Saint John was harboring bad women and the idle, Saint John prostrate himself before the man and cried out that he was the worse person at the hospital and that he had fallen short of serving others like the Master they both served.

In time, everyone in the area just looked at Saint John as a force for virtue and holiness. He gave 100% to his "mission." When he took ill, he had to be ordered to leave service at his hospital. As he neared death, he gave one final blessing to the community. He died at exactly 55 years of age.

Saint John would receive credit for the founding of the Order of Charity, which was in fact formally organized after his death. He wasn't in the book business for long, but he certainly followed his heart and his convictions.

Copyright 2014, Sporting Chance Press
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Sporting Chance Press is the publisher of Patrick McCaskey's Sports and Faith: Stories of the Devoted and the Devout and other fine sports books. Sports and Faith: Stories of the Devoted and the Devout is a personal chronicle of Chicago Bears Senior Director Patrick McCaskey that looks back at decades of spiritual enrichment and life lessons from athletes, coaches, religious and everyday people. McCaskey recalls the stories of those who strived to make the cut on and off the field—plus people who left comfortable lives to serve the under-served in extraordinary ways.

Three Teams Looking Hard at Tannehill: Others Peaking Through the Fence?

Texas A&M's former QB Ryan Tannehill finally had his day before the NFL evaluators yesterday and from all accounts, he did not disappoint. He hit practically all his passes and showed observers he can perform the requisite moves for the position--and he also ran with respectable speed (4.62 in the 40-yard dash). His foot appeared to be 100% as well.

While Tannehill is considered a grade below the two top QBs in this year's draft, Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III, many believe he is the best of the remaining class. All three top quarterbacks played their high school ball in Texas.

The Indianapolis Colts, who have the first pick, released Peyton Manning and are expected to grab Andrew Luck. Many believe Luck can perform very quickly at the NFL level. Second in line in this year's draft is the Washington Redskins and they are expected to snatch Robert Griffin III, who likewise looks both gifted and NFL ready. Even if the Colts decided to take Griffin, most believe the Redskins would grab Luck.

Three teams that have been reported to be most interested in a QB after the Colts and the Redskins are Cleveland Browns (picking 4th), the Miami Dolphins (picking 8th) and the Seattle Seahawks (picking 12th). But you have to wonder if there were a few others peaking through the fence as well--not expressing an interest, but quietly evaluating and putting Tannehill on their "draft-if-available" list.

Cleveland is difficult to read, but in my opinion from the coaches quotes there seems to be a certain lack of satisfaction with the team's young QB, Colt McCoy. They are either trying to light a fire under McCoy or quietly looking for a replacement. McCoy is slightly undersized by NFL QB standards and he suffered a concussion last year.

Miami has been severely criticized from many quarters about the team's direction and development. They have Matt Moore at QB and added David Garrard from Carolina. Moore who is 27 years old carried a 60.5% completion rate and an 87.1 rating in 2011. Garrard was 64.5% and had a 90.8 rating, but he is 34 years old. Frankly, both quarterback numbers are not bad, but some Miami fans are still looking for another Dan Marino to carry the team.

There has been a difference of opinion from scouts and other talent evaluators about whether Tannehill should be a first round selection. Some believe that like some other young quarterbacks, he could get thrown under the bus if selected by an NFL team that wants him to play before he's ready. Some NFL analysts suggest that if a young QB is thrown into games before he has time to mature, not only is he destined to fail his first few seasons, but such failure takes its toll on his confidence level and career.

Tannehill does not have nearly the QB experience as Luck (three full seasons at QB)and Griffin (three seasons) because he played wide receiver in his first 2 1/2 years in college. When he did take over at QB, the Aggies ended the season at 9-4 in 2010 and 7-6 in 2011. Most people believe that he may have tremendous talent, but he will need NFL seasoning.

Tannehill has been training with Director of IMG Madden Football Academy, Chris Weinke, who is known for his program that helps prepare QBs for the NFL. Observers at yesterday's event have given Weinke praise for his work to help improve Tannehill's pro-skills.

Where Tannehill falls in the draft remains a mystery, but based on scouting feedback from yesterday's workout, it sounds like he will definitely be a first rounder.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Sporting Chance Press is the publisher of Patrick McCaskey's Sports and Faith: Stories of the Devoted and the Devout and other fine sports books. Sports and Faith: Stories of the Devoted and the Devout is a personal chronicle of Chicago Bears Senior Director Patrick McCaskey that looks back at decades of spiritual enrichment and life lessons from athletes, coaches, religious and everyday people. McCaskey recalls the stories of those who strived to make the cut on and off the field—plus people who left comfortable lives to serve the underserved in extraordinary ways.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Matt Kalil: A Top 2012 NFL Draft Prospect

University of Southern California left tackle Matt Kalil is one of the top draft prospects for 2012. Some believe he will be picked number three after this year's big two quarterbacks--Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III.

The offensive tackle position has become a premium post in the NFL because it requires quick moves and intense blocking skills for today's complex offenses. Often the left tackle must face the defensive end--who is often a pass rush specialist. If the offensive tackle cannot hold off the outside pass rush, the quarterback does not have enough time to get the ball down field and passing plays cannot develop. It's common for a top left offensive tackle to be selected in one of the top five spots in the draft.

The Minnesota Vikings have the No. 3 overall pick and many believe they will spend it on Kalil. Kalil is 6'7" and 303 lbs and has great genes. His brother Ryan has proven his worth as offensive center on the Carolina Panthers in five seasons of play. Ryan signed the biggest contract ever to an NFL center. Matt and Ryan's father Frank played in the USFL--so the bloodline is plenty strong.

If for some reason, either Luck or Griffin are available when the Vikings pick, they may change direction and pick a quarterback. It seems unlikely this will happen and it's not likely the Vikings would trade up for a better pick--they have a young and talented quarterback Christian Ponder in the house already.

Because the required movement and very difficult blocking assignments of the left tackle injuries are becoming more common for players in this position. Barring such injuries, Matt Kalil looks like a good choice very early in the draft who can help the Vikings.


Team order for the first round:

1. Indianapolis Colts

2. Washington Redskins (from St. Louis Rams)

3. Minnesota Vikings

4. Cleveland Browns

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

6. St. Louis Rams (from Washington Redskins)

7. Jacksonville Jaguars

8. Miami Dolphins

9. Carolina Panthers

10. Buffalo Bills

11. Kansas City Chiefs

12. Seattle Seahawks

13. Arizona Cardinals

14. Dallas Cowboys

15. Philadelphia Eagles

16. New York Jets

17. Cincinnati Bengals (from Oakland Raiders)

18. San Diego Chargers

19. Chicago Bears

20. Tennessee Titans

21. Cincinnati Bengals

22. Cleveland Browns (from Atlanta Falcons)

23. Detroit Lions

24. Pittsburgh Steelers

25. Denver Broncos

26. Houston Texans

27. New England Patriots (from New Orleans Saints)

28. Green Bay Packers

29. Baltimore Ravens

30. San Francisco 49ers

31. New England Patriots

32. New York Giants
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Sporting Chance Press is the publisher of Patrick McCaskey's Sports and Faith: Stories of the Devoted and the Devout and other fine sports books. Sports and Faith: Stories of the Devoted and the Devout is a personal chronicle of Chicago Bears Senior Director Patrick McCaskey that looks back at decades of spiritual enrichment and life lessons from athletes, coaches, religious and everyday people. McCaskey recalls the stories of those who strived to make the cut on and off the field—plus people who left comfortable lives to serve the under-served in extraordinary ways.

Another Quarterback Delima in 2012 Draft: Some Answers Today?

Much has been written about the top pick in the 2012 draft--Indianapolis will have to choose between Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III. But for those teams who do not have a top draft pick and need a quarterback there is Texas A&M's Ryan Tannehill. Tannehill is a big gutsy athletic guy at 6'4" and several scouts say he has pro skills and talent. According to the scouts, Tannehill has a strong arm and can make all the NFL throws. He can move either right or left and make throws on the run. He has nice touch and he is fast enough to scramble in the big league. At A & M, he played his first two years at wide receiver because his coaches wanted to get him on the field. Thus he is a late developing quarterback that some scouts suggest is not at the same level of maturity as others who have more experience.

Another question mark with Tannehill is that while preparing for the Senior Bowl, he broke his fifth metatarsal --one of long bones in the foot that lead up to the little toe. Surgery in which a screw was inserted followed and he was not able to compete in the Senior Bowl, the Scouting Combine and other such activities that would provide an opportunity to show his stuff.

Tannehill first scouting workout is happening today, March 29--the first time scouts will see him since he led A & M in the Meineke Bowl on December 31st. Tannehill's pro day at Texas A&M has attracted 20 NFL teams.

The Dolphins who hold the number 8 draft pick will be looking over Ryan Tannehill today. Dolphins offensive coordinator Mike Sherman was Tannehill’s head coach at Texas A&M where he ran a pro-style attack. Sherman has given the young QB high marks.

Tannehill has been training with Director of IMG Madden Football Academy, Chris Weinke. See USA Today film on Weinke's work with Tannehill. After today, Tannehill's stock could move up or down--or remain a bit of question mark going into the draft.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Sporting Chance Press is the publisher of Patrick McCaskey's Sports and Faith: Stories of the Devoted and the Devout and other fine sports books. Sports and Faith: Stories of the Devoted and the Devout is a personal chronicle of Chicago Bears Senior Director Patrick McCaskey that looks back at decades of spiritual enrichment and life lessons from athletes, coaches, religious and everyday people. McCaskey recalls the stories of those who strived to make the cut on and off the field—plus people who left comfortable lives to serve the under-served in extraordinary ways.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

NFL Draft Choice Dilema

The NFL draft helps to invigorate interest in football at a time when it would normally be pretty much out of the picture for most sports fans. But unlike your basic sports off-season hype, the draft is a very real event that helps make or break teams. Certainly, most single drafts do not completely rejuvenate or ruin a team the way some people would portray, but they are important. No one can argue that over a period of seasons, drafts will have a lot to say about the character and success of a team.

There are at least two basic draft strategies--perhaps many more, but here I just want to mention two.

1. You draft the best athlete available at the time. or
2. You draft according to your needs.


On face value, these two strategies would be very difficult to carry out completely. They generally have to be modified.

For example, say you are a team that usually picks players you absolutely need to fill a void and you are lucky enough to have your key money positions covered--positions like quarterback, number one receiver, and running back, and you have a great number one draft pick. Your greatest need may be offensive linemen. You may want to parlay your top pick in a trade that will give you more picks later on where you really want to operate. Or you may want to swap your draft choice for a proven veteran in a trade.

A team, say that looks for the best athlete with their premium draft picks may see a top middle linebacker who is best of class in a draft year that offers several. They might just stick with their pick if they think they can get that linebacker even if they have a good one on board already. In this way, they may be able to build a team of great players.

These are two basic strategies although certainly both will need modification depending upon a lot of unknown factors.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Sporting Chance Press is the publisher of Patrick McCaskey's Sports and Faith: Stories of the Devoted and the Devout and other fine sports books. Sports and Faith: Stories of the Devoted and the Devout is a personal chronicle of Chicago Bears Senior Director Patrick McCaskey that looks back at decades of spiritual enrichment and life lessons from athletes, coaches, religious and everyday people. McCaskey recalls the stories of those who strived to make the cut on and off the field—plus people who left comfortable lives to serve the under-served in extraordinary ways.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Unexpected Comings and Goings of Tebow and Manning

It's hard to really understand all of what goes on in professional football. It seems there are hundreds, if not thousand of stories, written about every major development. In the past year, there are two stories that no one would have gleamed before the start of the 2011 season.

Peyton Manning Gone from Indianapolis


Peyton Manning underwent a couple neck operation that kept him off the playing field for the entire season. Colt fans saw Manning miss the first game of his career and then go on to miss the entire season. The 36-year-old four-time league MVP and Super Bowl XLI MVP had a “single level anterior fusion” on September 8th. He ended a streak of 208 regular season starts that began in September of 1998. The Peyton-less Colts fell from a perennial playoff team to the weakest team in professional football.

The Colt's season tanked. First, the team notched 13 straight losses. Then they finished the season with at 2-14. The Colts were the worst team for the 2011 season, earning the right to the first overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft. Who would have imaged the Colts would be so bad without their quarterback? Colts owner Jim Irsay fired Bill and Chris Polian--key members of his front office and then fired coach Jim Caldwell as well.

There are two excellent, seemingly "sure-thing" QBs in the draft this year: Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III. Having the first draft pick, the Colts new front office decided it was time to move away from Manning, his salary, and the inherent risks in retaining an older quarterback coming back from neck surgery.

Manning to the Mile High City


Manning was released by the Colts and picked up by the Denver Broncos. According to Manning, his own doctor as well as doctors from the Broncos, Titans and 49ers all think he’s going to be perfectly fine to play football for years to come. Denver was listening.

Denver Tires of Tebow


Despite all the great things the Denver Broncos said about running quarterback Tim Tebow, it is likely the front office is glad to be rid of him and focusing now on a conventional offense. John Elway experienced a wild first season as Executive Vice President of Football Operations for the Denver Broncos. He was named to that position by Owner Pat Bowlen on Jan. 5, 2011. According to the Denver Broncos web site, Elway calls the shots when it comes to managing the team.

Some have suggested that Manning's release by the Colts gave Elway an opportunity to go against the fans' love of Tebow. Only by acquiring a first-class talent like Manning, could Elway have traded fan favorite Tebow--at least that's how some of the sports writers see it. Remember, Denver's starting QB Kyle Orton was having a respectable career for the Broncos when he was sacked for the free-range running Tebow early in the 2011 season. Orton was no Elway, but few are.

Some suggest that the move was driven more by the fans looking for a Tebow miracle than by calculated football strategy. Tebow did go on to lead the Broncos to the playoffs with a series of unexpected victories and a first round playoff win against the mighty Pittsburgh Steelers. But the miracles ended after the first playoff game.

Jets Take on "The Saint"


Elway traded Tebow to the Jets. Tim Tebow's place on the Jets' depth chart is the No. 2 quarterback, behind starter Mark Sanchez. When you see the Jets coaches talk about Tebow, they are very clear to say that Sanchez is their number one guy.

Jets Coach Rex Ryan said that the team will be creative with Tebow. Having Tebow on the Jets will tax opposing defensive teams as they will have to prepare for two different offensive schemes. Of course, at the same time, it will take time and attention on the Jets part to add plays for Tebow and to plan for his style of play.

Sanchez Performance Has Been Good


Some in New York have grown impatient with Sanchez at times, but his passing percentage and quarterback ratings have climbed from one season to the next. Physically, he is gifted with a great arm and he is also known for his calm approach to the game. Just what will happen between Tebow and Sanchez is anyone's guess. No doubt if Sanchez has a couple bad games, the fans will be shouting for Tebow, regardless of whether it makes much football sense of not.

Best Fit for Tebow?


One has to wonder if the Jets are the best fit for Tebow. To think of Tebow in New York and working for Rex Ryan seems a bit out of character for everyone. Tebow might do best with a franchise that was willing to develop an option type attack, not just with Tebow, but with a second quarterback who would back Tebow up. The problem teams had when looking at Tebow was they had a tendency to look at him as a one-off. Long term they were unwilling to develop an offense that would feature his strengths not just when he is in, but committing fully to a different style of play for the offense with other option type QBs backing up Tebow. My sense is this is the only way Tebow would be used to his full potential.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Sporting Chance Press is the publisher of Patrick McCaskey's Sports and Faith: Stories of the Devoted and the Devout and other fine sports books. Sports and Faith: Stories of the Devoted and the Devout is a personal chronicle of Chicago Bears Senior Director Patrick McCaskey that looks back at decades of spiritual enrichment and life lessons from athletes, coaches, religious and everyday people. McCaskey recalls the stories of those who strived to make the cut on and off the field—plus people who left comfortable lives to serve the under-served in extraordinary ways.

Barber Retires: He Made 2011 Season Interesting

Last year we wrote about criticism that was directed towards Marion Barber after the Denver game. Barber was asked to fill in for Matt Forte as the Bears starting back against the Denver Broncos. The Broncos featured an improving and punishing defense that focused on Barber. Barber threw himself against the opposition with his usual abandon and gained 108 yards rushing on the day.

While Barber generally gets the call to run up the gut, the Bears had him running on the edge sometimes--presumably to mix things up for a defense that wants to plug the middle. On one such play when Barber was bashing outside toward the end of the game, he found himself being pushed out of bounds stopping the clock when the Bears needed to tick off the seconds. It was oh so clear to those of us watching on TV that the last thing the Bears needed was the ball out of bounds, but it's a little different when you are clawing and scratching for yards--thinking first down. It was then that Barber became a goat in a game in which he had done so much to get the anemic offense points.

Adding insult to injury, in overtime, once again Barber was called upon to be the Bears battering ram as they were moving into field goal range for a win. Just as Barber was accelerating and moving out of reach of defenders on a rush that featured a gaping hole in the Denver defensive line, a single hand thrust out in desperation and caught Barber's arm. There was no one beside Barber. There was no one fronting Barber. The arm was that of linebacker Wesley Woodyard whom Barber was leaving in his dust. In an ugly twist of fate for Barber and a moment of redemption for the Broncos defense, Barber was stripped of the ball. Once again, it was easy to sit there on the couch thinking how could he fumble, but Barber view on the field would be a lot different from the couch. Barber would have seen a blur of 300 pound lineman and 250 pound linebackers and an open field in front of him--one more kick and he was in the endzone--game over.

We don't really know why Barber retired, but some are suggested he suffers from a nagging leg injury and the Bears have beefed up their roster at running back adding Michael Bush from the Raiders this off season. The Bears 2011 season fell apart when Jay Cutler (Nov. 20) was injured along with Matt Forte (Dec. 4). Having their two most important offensive players out did not bode well for the Bears.

Marion Barber gave the Bears a spark in a season that generally will be remembered as one that started promising and then fizzled out. Frankly, the Bears were going nowhere even if they would have beat Denver. We hope Barber is remembered for his energy and enthusiasm, rather than a couple bad plays.

Bears Getting Better

Moves by the front office in the off-season have focused on adding new players who might be able to keep things going for the offense should key players go down again. One would think that Bush will make an excellent substitute for Forte. The Bears acquisition of Jason Campbell and the emergence of Josh McCown as backups to Cutler give them more experienced depth there as well.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Sporting Chance Press is the publisher of Patrick McCaskey's Sports and Faith: Stories of the Devoted and the Devout and other fine sports books. Sports and Faith: Stories of the Devoted and the Devout is a personal chronicle of Chicago Bears Senior Director Patrick McCaskey that looks back at decades of spiritual enrichment and life lessons from athletes, coaches, religious and everyday people. McCaskey recalls the stories of those who strived to make the cut on and off the field—plus people who left comfortable lives to serve the under-served in extraordinary ways.

Friday, March 9, 2012

McCaskey Talks to Hibernians in Advance of St. Patrick's Day


Chicago Bears Senior Director and Sporting Chance Press author Patrick McCaskey will speak on Sports and Faith to the Milwaukee Division of the Ancient Order of the Hibernians on March 14, 2012 at 7:15 p.m. - Derry's Pub, 54th and Bluemound. McCaskey speaks about his life with the Chicago Bears and how faith has played an important role in his family and those he's known in his 37 years with the team. McCaskey is the author of a Sports and Faith: Stories of the Devoted and the Devout published by Sporting Chance Press.

Most people have some sense of the achievements of Patrick's grandfather George "Papa Bear" Halas who helped found the NFL, played professional football himself for 10 years and coached the Monsters of the Midway for 40. But few know that Patrick's dad Edward came from a highly successful and honored family from Lancaster, Pennsylvania that includes generations of highly decorated military men, a noted music publisher and an educator whose name adorns a large high school. In Patrick McCaskey's book, Sports and Faith: Stories of the Devoted and the Devout, he relays a few brief stories that his father passed down about his family including Patrick's grandmother Kit. Perhaps one of the least known of the McCaskeys from out east, Kit was a great source of pride and love in the McCaskey family.

The McCaskeys were a mix of Scots and Irish going way back. Mixing the Scots with the Irish was good thing in the opinion of Patrick's father Edward. According to the book, Kit was Irish through and through. Kit alone ran a household of many children and three adult men. Only God knows the number of others Kit reached out to help from her household in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, but she was known for her kindness to anyone who came to her door--and many did.

Kit had a deep faith and her answer to any problems was "that was a sign." Like many of the Irish, Kit believed that God's hand was an active one in our lives. According to the author, when Ed and Tom McCaskey came home from Caddying one day, their father told them that their mother was in the hospital. Kit had miscarried twins. Edward ran off to see his mother at St. Joseph's hospital. When he got to his mother's bedside, she said, "I'm all right Edward, the Little Flower sent me a shower of roses."

Saint Therese, the Little Flower, had lived a short life. Famous for her childlike trust in God, she didn't see death as the end of her work for God. She looked forward to working after death in God's name and she had said, "After my death, I will let forth a shower of roses, I will spend my heaven doing good upon the earth." Saint Therese's "Little Way" was her belief that God is everywhere--in every situation and every person--and in the ordinary, simple details in life.

Ancient Order of Hibernians is America’s oldest Irish Catholic Fraternal Organization founded concurrently in the coal-mining region of Pennsylvania and New York City in May, 1836. Its roots trace back to similar societies that existed in Ireland for more than 300 years. The Order provides a continuing bridge with Ireland for those who are generations removed from their ancestral homeland.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Sporting Chance Press is the publisher of Patrick McCaskey's Sports and Faith: Stories of the Devoted and the Devout and other fine sports books. Sports and Faith: Stories of the Devoted and the Devout is a personal chronicle of Chicago Bears Senior Director Patrick McCaskey that looks back at decades of spiritual enrichment and life lessons from athletes, coaches, religious and everyday people. McCaskey recalls the stories of those who strived to make the cut on and off the field—plus people who left comfortable lives to serve the under-served in extraordinary ways.