[This is taken from Sports and Faith: Stories of the Devout and the Devoted by Patrick McCaskey published by Sporting Chance Press.]
As a young man, I was called to be a Boy Scout. I was in Saint Mary’s Boy Scout Troop 22 in Des Plaines, Illinois. Joe Stucker was the Scoutmaster from 1958 through 1966.
Meetings were held in the old school hall on Thursday evenings at 7:30 p.m. We played tackle pom-pom before the meetings started. When Mr. Stucker’s hand went up in the three-fingered Scout salute, the mouths were to be shut. That was the theory. The adult leaders were very dedicated and knowledgeable. Mr. Gilbert, Mr. Littwin, and Mr. Whelan were active adult leaders during Mr. Stucker’s reign. The Scouts were a lot of fun and a great peer group. There were overnight outings at Camp Baden Powell and retreats at Villa Redeemer. On Friday, July 27, 1962, I wrote this letter from Camp Napowan to my parents, Ed & Virginia McCaskey.
Dear Mom and Dad,Get set for a shock. We had the Order of the Arrow election and I made it. We, John Hannon, Andy Stucker, and I had to sleep in a barn that night after the tap-out ceremony. We would have had to sleep under the stars but it was pouring rain at the time. The next morning we had to find our way back to he Mess Hall by ourselves to get our instructions. Our instructions were Number One: no talking all day except for two question-and-answer periods. Number Two: only bread and milk all day. Number Three: We would work more than we ever did in one day in our whole life.The work we had to do was cut down about ten huge box cedar trees and clear that area for storage. Of course we didn’t do it all by ourselves. We had help from candidates from other units and Mr. Whalen also got tapped out. We had nothing but a couple slices of bread and a little milk all day until the banquet at about 10 o’clock that night after the closing ceremony where we received our sashes. I’m working on about five different merit badges: Lifesaving, Nature, Leatherwork, Cooking, and Camping. I’m Senior Patrol Leader for the last five days for our troop.Could you please send up the latest major league standings?Your loving son,Pat
Copyright 2014, Sporting Chance Press. Patrick McCaskey is a senior director of the Chicago Bears, Chairman of Sports Faith International that recognizes athletes who lead exemplary lives, and Chairman of Catholic Radio Station WSFI 88.5 FM. Sports and Faith: Stories of the Devout and the Devoted by Patrick McCaskey published by Sporting Chance Press and available on Amazon and selected stores and public libraries.