Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Life Lessons from Father Joe Freedy

In Patrick McCaskey's book Sports and Faith: Stories of the Devoted and the Devout, Father Joe Freedy is the first athlete featured in the book and his image appears on our cover. For Sporting Chance Press Talk, we have been writing recently about life lessons learned in sports and Father Joe's story is worth repeating here.

Joe Freedy was a typical young man in many ways, yet he was exceptionally gifted in athletics. Coming from a strong Catholic family, he was expected to go to church and practice his faith--although young Joe Freedy was going through the motions. Like many of us, he was attracted to those things young people find exciting--the admiration of our peers, parties and the thrill of being a big shot. But once on scholarship at the University of Buffalo, he was "hitting" just 1 for 3. Although he was an excellent high school athlete, he was so far down the depth chart, he had about as much chance of playing in a game as the team mascot. He was not the admiration of his peers nor was he a big shot. So party he did.

After his red-shirt freshman year, a series of mishaps to every quarterback ahead of him on the depth chart reminds one of Old Testament stories of Divine Intervention in battle. Joe Freedy was thrust upon his team as the top quarterback. When the rubber met the road, young Freedy worked extremely hard and was up to the task. He excelled. At the same time, a young woman came into Joe's life and also helped him find his way. A third positive influence was his dad and one of his dad's books that helped him make sense of a faith he had taken for granted.

In the next few years in school, Freedy would develop a sense of priorities that included faith, hope and love over fun, self gratification and recklessness. For Freedy, sports had pointed in one direction at one time in his life and then pointed in another. His path led him to a life of service. The discipline required of Freedy to develop into a true Division One quarterback in the face of many challenges and mistakes comes in handy today in his new job--Vocation Director for the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh. Freedy still holds records at the University of Buffalo and the track record of vocation growth at the Diocese of Pittsburgh looks bright as well.
Copyright 2012 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. Order online.

No comments:

Post a Comment