Listen to Michael Carens ’16 accept the Prayers for Life, Pro-Life Award on behalf of the Saint Viator Varsity Lacrosse team at the Sports Faith International 2015 Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. The team was inducted into the Sports Faith Hall of Fame Sunday, May 24, 2015. (Read his full speech below.)
As Coach Sanford said, thank you to Sports Faith International for putting on such a fantastic event and recognizing our team. Also congratulations to the many others being honored this afternoon, for I am truly inspired by your stories and how you integrate your faith into sports.
When Coach Sanford first asked me to do speak at this event, I was quite shocked but honored that he chose me. To be honest, I kind of feel uncomfortable accepting this award with just Coach Sanford and myself because I would have liked everyone from the Friends of Jaclyn Foundation and our entire school community, including my teammates, up here on this stage to accept this award. Although that would be impossible, I truly feel this award reflects the values emphasized by the Saint Viator community. This is not simply an award for our lacrosse team, but this is an award for all of “Viator Nation.”
When I think about the meaning of the Prayers for Life, Pro-Life award, I interpret it as our community stressing the promotion and protection of the life and light of Christ in our world. I believe the way in which we cherish and celebrate life is what makes our community stand out. This was something I considered when choosing what high school to attend before my freshman year. There is so much more to life than thriving academically, in sports, or other extracurricular activities. In reality, it is most important that we seek to model our lives after Christ and to form positive relationships with the people around us. The Saint Viator community and lacrosse team embodies these ideals whether it be through our friendship with Dylan Full, completing service in our local communities, or simply cleaning up after ourselves and using our manners when we are at an away game or traveling out of state. Most of these examples come from an area beyond the classroom or athletic field. Saint Viator High School and the lacrosse program is changing the lives of their students to carry these contagious attitudes into the real world.
I have witnessed these attitudes create bi-products of success in our lacrosse program as we have become a well-respected lacrosse team across the Midwest (and nation). A consistent off-the-field attitude translates on the field. The combination of faith and sports is so unique because of the commitment, passion, pride, and tradition involved in both. These shared characteristics in both faith and sports make for a successful sportsman and faith-filled person. I am grateful to have experienced the power of sports and faith in harmony and for the opportunity to attend Saint Viator and play on the lacrosse team.