“A nun walks into a locker room…” It sounds like the beginning of a terrible joke. It really was the situation, though, that Sister Ginny Scherer SC found herself in this fall during the football season. Why? What could be the reason? What do nuns know about football? Why tell this story now?
Let’s answer the last question first. We are in the midst of the most surreal time most of us have lived through. The fall season of sports and football seem like ages ago. The spring sports season, at least in Ohio, has just been definitively and finally cancelled. A lot of students have seen their worlds turned upside down. It is precisely in these times that stories like this matter. It is important that we remember not just the good times, but the reasons why those good times were so good. It is important that we remember the reason why sports are played, how they form us, and why it is so necessary that they be played again in the future.
So, back to the point. What could have induced Sister to be in the football locker room? At the annual Lehman Catholic Harvest Auction someone purchased the privilege of being football coach for a game. Knowing the great love that Sister Ginny has for all things Lehman and Lehman sports in particular, they donated their privilege to her. It meant that she would be able to be on the sideline with the team, wear a headset connected to the other coaches, and address the team in the locker room. Fittingly, the game she was asked to coach in was the senior night game. Sister Ginny has been the Senior class advisor for many years and to put Lehman, sports, and seniors together seemed a perfect combo.
While the entire experience was a memorable one, the part that impacted her the most was being a part of the senior night football ritual. In that locker room, on that night, she was able to witness each senior stand up and address their teammates and coaches. They testified to the family their team had become. They testified to the growth that their coaches had drawn out of them as they moved from being boys to young men over the seasons. They testified to the reality that on the field, each player protects each other in a comraderie and brotherhood experienced few other places.
While our first thought of a locker room might not be of a place where tears are shed and a religious sister gets to see the gratitude, virtues, and faith of young men; on that night in the Lehman Catholic football locker room, that truly unique reality took place.
Sister wanted to make it known that she is “eternally grateful” to the anonymous donor who made her experience possible. A momentous occasion for her, hopefully its retelling will remind us to be grateful to the coaches and teammates who impacted us in our lives and when we are able to play again, remember the beauty, possibilities, and value of sports and the lives they mold.