This is an excerpt from the October 24 Full Curl published by Frank Ostanik, Monroe Athletic Director
My mom sends me an email, pretty much every day, regarding a “Saint of the Day.” She has done this for the better part of two years, I believe. Out of respect for my mom, I made an effort to read these as often as possible. Sometimes I would read them right away and sometimes I would binge read, taking in the lives of four or five Saints in one sitting. One thing that struck me was how many Saints are martyrs.
The martyrs always seemed to get my attention. In fact, whenever I realized the saint I was reading about was a martyr, I would go back and reread the text, making sure I was showing proper respect for someone who had given the ultimate sacrifice for his or her faith. Invariably, I would ask my self the same question: would I give my life for my faith?
The answer is always the same; I don’t know. I don’t believe anyone could say what they would do without actually being in this position. However, I know what I want the answer to be. I know I am hopeful I would say yes. I am in awe of the martyrs. I am in awe, because I think of the incredible commitment to their cause. To be so completely and totally invested in a cause that one would give one’s life for it commands my respect. All of us have causes we would give our lives for. The majority of us would gladly lay down our lives for our spouse or our children, no questions asked. However, while these causes are of course important, they are essentially innate, almost instinctual. I am of the opinion we all need more than this.
It is unrealistic to believe a high school student knows what their cause in life will be. It is important however to understand the need for a cause. Your cause today doesn’t need to be your cause in ten years. Regardless, you will need a cause. Most of us are not employed directly within our cause, meaning we will get up and go through the daily grind and then have to find time for our cause. Why would we do this? Because your cause gives you purpose. Because your cause gives you hope.
The joy derived from giving your heart and soul to something you do not have to do is unexplainable. I can’t define it and I don’t think it can be defined. It can only be felt. I asked the students to look at adults they respect and see if they can identify the individual’s cause. One thing I know and believe is that the greater the cause one chooses to give their heart and soul to, the happier they will be and the greater the sense of fulfillment they will take with them.
As I mentioned, your cause can change. Nine years ago, my cause, beyond my wife and son, was my basketball program. It took time, but I came to realize this was too self-serving. The first time I ran a basketball camp Mr. Fantazzi and I raised about $500. I couldn’t comprehend the notion of the money going to “athletics,” and not directly benefitting my program. I have since evolved and come to understand the importance of a cause greater than me. I get it now and I am better for it.
My cause is not unique. Ms. L and the rest of the gals who work passionately in HIPOW share it. We share it with many, if not all, of you. I saw that cause in the eyes of Mrs. Fritze, Mrs. Bennet, my sister and all of he ladies who gave of their time to make the holiday bazaar a success. I see it in Mr. Ribar, who will show up and keep score for a volleyball game eight years after his last daughter graduated. This shared cause is our school, our community.
In the end, if you can look in the mirror and know you gave your heart and soul to a worthy cause, isn’t that a life well led? I believe so, and I am grateful my mother took up the cause of educating me on the Saints. I know I am better for it.
You can follow all Monroe sports events by following Frank on Twitter: @thefullcurl.