Parents keep the games going at Cathedral

They take play seriously at the School of the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen – and not just the kids.

In fact, the school’s philosophy that every child who wants to play sports gets to play requires legions of parent volunteers.

Some 325 children compete in sports at the school, said Mike Edwards, the school’s athletic director.

“You’ve got to have a lot of volunteers to keep that going,” he said.

About 90 percent of the coaches are parent volunteers, while teachers and others fill the remaining slots, Mr. Edwards said.

Along with soccer, the biggest sport, Cathedral students compete in basketball, hockey, volleyball and lacrosse. For older children, single-sex teams compete in Catholic Youth Organization, Catholic War Veterans and private school leagues.

Teams for the higher grades are more competitive, but no students are cut from the rosters.

“If you sign up, you get on a team, you play; that’s always been the philosophy,” said Diane Melia, a volunteer girls soccer coach. “It does not have the recreation department mentality.”

Ms. Melia, the mother of two Cathedral students – Owen, 12, and Anne, 10 – said she had volunteered in classrooms often before taking to the field as a coach three years ago.

“In the classroom, they’re inside the lines, so to speak,” she said. “On the field, you see the girls excel and grow emotionally, physically and socially.”

The Mustangs teams she has coached play against other Catholic schools and travel no farther than Essex, she said.

And the Mustangs draw a good crowd of their fans, wherever they play.

“Parents always turn out in force,” Ms. Melia said. “From my experience in coaching, the parents’ support network is fabulous. Almost all the players’ parents come to all the games. That makes it so pleasant.”

Cathedral teams use fields and athletic facilities at nearby schools, including St. Mary’s Seminary and University in Roland Park, the Bryn Mawr School and University of Baltimore fields in Mount Washington.

Catholic Review

The Catholic Review is the official publication of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.