‘Why keep doing it?’ Print
On His Time

The eight-year won/loss record reads 19 wins, 40 losses, and five ties -- a winning percentage of .322

As a note, by the time this column goes to press, one of those totals will be one number higher, hopefully in the win column.

In most major sports, those numbers would necessitate sweeping personnel and management changes, but not here -- the wins and losses aren't what's important.

Much like on a professional level, former Wisconsin Badgers football great and career member of the Cleveland Browns in the National Football League Joe Thomas had a less than .300 winning percentage over his decade-plus career, and he is probably headed to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.

On a not so professional level, the previously-mentioned .322 winning percentage is owned by a few of us, including yours truly, lifetime members of "Team SMG" from St. Maria Goretti Parish in Madison, part of the Diocese of Madison Young Adult Monday Night Sports League -- perhaps hall of famers of a different sort.

Even if that loss total of 40 goes to 41 and 42 over the next couple of weeks, we'll keep coming back for more.

Eight years of faith and fun

Since 2012, the Monday Night Sports League (MNSL) has brought young adults in their 20s and 30s together from all over the Diocese of Madison in a mostly friendly athletic competition.

The prominent sports have been flag football, soccer, ultimate Frisbee, softball, and kickball on a rotating basis, usually two weeks of each sport per summer.

Most of the faces have changed over the years, due to people moving away or moving on, but the spirit has always been the same -- wear your team colors proudly, do your best, and let God take care of the rest (Yes, I stole some of that from the Christian sports movie Facing the Giants).

The current teams that make up the league are from Cathedral Parish in Madison, Blessed Sacrament Parish in Madison, St. Paul University Catholic Center in Madison, two "wild card" teams made up of parishioners from parishes on the east and west side of Madison, and my own team, from St. Maria Goretti Parish (SMG).

During the games, score is kept. During the season, wins and losses are kept tracked of. And, at the end of the season, a champion is crowned.

Despite all the losses over the years, we did win the championship in 2015 with a 4-1 record.

Our cumulative record also includes an 0-10 season during the inaugural campaign in 2012.

Maybe that has a lot to do with the title of this column -- "Why keep doing it?" Why keep coming back with many of the original teammates and opponents moved on and a championship dynasty still a work in progress?

Why?

During that first season, most of the games weren't even close. Being on the wrong end of a 20-0 kickball game was not uncommon, but we kept coming back. We kept coming back, knowing full well we might not win a game that year.

The following year, word spread. Everyone knew what our record was, but more people wanted to be on the team, saying it sounded like fun.

Eventually, we started to win a game or two, and probably didn't know exactly how to feel about it.

Actually, during the second season, finishing in "not last" was the highlight and a major accomplishment.

As the next few years went on, "sports league" became a thing, as we'd get close to June, every year. People would ask about it, when it was going to start, and what sports we were going to play.

I don't have to repeat to you, again, how many games we won versus how many we lost over these years, but SMG and sports league was still something people, both new and returning players, wanted to be a part of.

So, let's get to the why.

It's good to get outside during the summer and actually do something, see friends, and get a glimpse of the children our parent teammates have.

As for me, and those who've been with us though it all, it's a chance for something special to happen every week.

It's a chance to come together as a parish community, work together toward a goal, step out of our comfort zones, try to make a spectacular play or two, and maybe even show off a little.

Being a part of all of our wins, losses, and ties, I know the record better than anyone, but the score only matters at the end of the game.

Everything that happens before that, during the game, can be a blessing and downright awesome.

Even if we lose again on Monday, I, and the other SMG "lifers" will be there. As I've told my team for years now, no matter what happens, "we got this."

If you'd like to join a team in the Monday Night Sports League, email Connor, the commissioner, at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


Kevin Wondrash is the reporter for the Catholic Herald newspaper in the Diocese of Madison. He also serves at the coordinator for the young adult group at St. Maria Goretti Parish in Madison.