(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Monday, 1 February 2016–Catholic Schools Week)
Let us remember we are in the Holy Presence of a Loving God.
I have to admit that I was a little nervous about leading prayer this morning for the entire school, especially following in the footsteps of so many great people and their wonderful morning prayers while trying to live up to that expectation. But, just like I ask my students and athletes to step out of their comfort zone, I am going to get out of my comfort zone today…
Just like many of you, sitting in your seats right now, stressed out awaiting your college acceptances, trying to cram in studying for a test or quiz, busy with extracurricular activities and balancing all of that with having a family and social life, I too once sat in those same seats here at La Salle and I wondered…
What am I going to do with my life? What is God’s plan for me?
I never had any intentions of becoming a teacher or coach. In fact, I wanted to become a lawyer and I actually put that on my college applications and I also knew I was going to play Basketball in college. That was it, nothing else. I had all of the answers and no one was going to tell me different. That was going to become my life after La Salle. Play basketball in college and then become a lawyer.. Yup
Except, God didn’t exactly see it that way…
I did move on from La Salle and play basketball, except I got hurt at the end of my freshman year, re-injuring an old injury that was going to take a lot of rehab and a long time to heal; and, on top of that, I needed to stay at school all Summer to treat it if I was going to be able to play again any time soon.. No family and no friends back home. At that point, I made one of the toughest decisions of my life.. I moved back home to pursue my education and I stopped playing basketball.
That was it.. My sports career was over in the blink of an eye and this is when God’s plan went into effect.
It started with a simple conversation and one that I will never forget.. “Coach,” I said, “I am done with basketball..”
“Michael, what are you talking about? If you are not going to play, then you need to coach because you would be wasting your talent.” At that moment, my life and future were shaped. I started my coaching career that Fall as the Freshman Basketball Coach at La Salle.
Coach Heroux or Mr. Heroux, as most of you know him, Is the reason why I am speaking to you all today. He is what made me want to pursue teaching…A role model, a coach, an educator, a friend, and most of all a father-figure to me.. He has been someone that has helped me get through some of the most difficult times in my life. When my father suddenly passed away 5 years ago, he was there. Whenever I need advice he is there. He’s also been a part of some of my greatest memories and I am proud to say that he was able to attend my wedding when I got married to my wonderful wife, Erin, in 2011. He has always been there, for Michael, the person and not just when I was a Sophomore, Junior or Senior athlete on his basketball team. Our special relationship is something that I will forever be grateful for. He has taught me so much and he is the one whom I give credit to for molding me into the teacher and coach I am and the one whom I try to emulate every day.
Thank you, Coach, for believing in me when I didn’t always believe in myself. Thank you for giving me an opportunity to find myself and for giving me a chance to do something in teaching and coaching that I love to do every day.
When I hear that God truly has a plan for all of us, I truly believe this but we all need to be open to some guidance and help from coaches, teachers and mentors to help get the best out of us sometimes. They know our potential.
Let Us Pray,
Let us be willing to try new things and to be open to Your plan for us. Thank you for giving us teachers, coaches and great role models to help guide us to fulfill the plans that You have for each one of us. Amen
Saint John Baptist de La Salle…Pray for Us.
Live Jesus in Our Hearts…Forever.
Michael McParlin–Social Studies Teacher