Skyhawks Show Courage on the Field, Compassion off the field

July 31, 2019

Throughout their time on campus, students often hear the words of Blessed Basil Moreau: “The mind will not be cultivated at the expense of the heart.” 

That wisdom, often applied to academics, is echoed each summer through Fr. Matt Fase, C.S.C., Stonehill’s athletic chaplain. During preseason, Fr. Fase shares those words with our new and returning athletes while adding, “If at the end of four years all that you are is a better athlete, that’s not enough. Your work here is about being a better person, a more whole human being.” 

For our student-athletes, that notion goes beyond developing a strong work ethic or earning good grades. Skyhawks recognize that altruism is just as important as individual accolades, which is why every team at Stonehill participates in programs meant to improve the lives of others. 

Annual Team IMPACT drafts match a child with a life-threatening or chronic illness to the new members of eight teams on campus, building a bond that strengthens over four years of practices, partnership and competition

Athletes are regular participants in Stonehill’s Community Engagement program, taking days to serve in the community. And the new Benching to Break Barriers weightlifting competition, coined by Strength and Conditioning Coach Mark Zabicki, raised nearly $2,000 to build awareness for sexual assault and domestic violence.

For nearly a decade, volleyball’s Aces Girls wellness and mentorship program has been working with young women in the area on the importance of fitness, mental health and inclusivity. Baseball’s annual Blood Bowl donation drive with the Red Cross gets students, faculty and staff to give blood. And field hockey won last year’s athletic Community Service Award for the team’s work in food pantries and soup kitchens, volunteerism with the Special Olympics, visits to Trinity Catholic Academy in Brockton to assist in reading programs and cancer awareness fundraising.

Meanwhile, the College’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee was recently recognized by the Northeast-10 Conference for its fundraising in support of the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

At every sporting event, Make-A-Wish donation buckets are in the stands. Those efforts, along with the first Rock-a-Thon this past spring, which saw six purple rocking chairs stay in motion for a full day, raised more than $6,600 for the foundation.

“Our students see the value of sacrifice and hard work,” says Fr. Fase. “They see the results in their exploits on the field, so it’s pretty easy to then say, ‘We need to turn this effort outwards and better not just ourselves, but also our community.’”