Mathcounts Reinstates Homeschool Teams

August 23, 2010

PURCELLVILLE, Va. (MetroCatholic) — Last Friday, Mathcounts, a prestigious foundation dedicated to advancing math skills among middle school students, partially reversed its August 17th ban on homeschool teams.

For the upcoming 2010-11 school year homeschool teams who participated in last year’s Mathcounts competition will be grandfathered in and allowed to compete this year. “We appreciate Mathcounts making this change,” said Michael Smith, president of HSLDA. “Many homeschoolers were already hard at work preparing for this year’s competition,” he added.

The initial ban on homeschool teams stemmed from Mathcounts’ difficulties identifying homeschool competitors and ensuring that students from public, private, and homeschools are treated equally.

In order to make sure all options were being considered representatives from HSLDA and Mathcounts met on Friday, August 20th. The policy change was the result of the meeting as well as a commitment to find a long-term solution which would allow homeschoolers to compete as teams.

Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) is a 27-year-old, 85,000 member non-profit organization and the preeminent association advocating the legal right of parents to homeschool their children.

CatholicSportsNet to Provide “One-Stop Shop” for Catholic Sports Fans

July 27, 2010

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (MetroCatholic) – Many media outlets cover the booming industry of sports, but only one can lay claim to the sole reporting of Catholic sports – CatholicSportsNet.

Based in Louisville, Ky., CatholicSportsNet (CSN) is a new media company that recently launched its flagship entity – www.catholicsportsnet.com – a website that will serve as a national showcase for on and off the field achievements of male and female Catholic high school, collegiate, and professional student-athletes, teams, coaches, and administrators.

Serving nearly 1,200 high schools, 160-plus colleges, and over 70 million Catholic Americans around the country, CSN will provide up-to-date news, feature articles, student-athlete spotlights, national rankings, recruitment information, and a comprehensive multimedia unit that will include weekly newscasts, interviews, and streaming video.

CSN founder Steve Fehder, a 26-year broadcast veteran and entrepreneur, developed this concept after noticing a tremendous void in the coverage of local and national Catholic sports. A Catholic himself, Fehder believes CSN will satisfy the insatiable appetite of the rabid alumni and fan bases of Catholic schools and their athletic teams.

“What makes CatholicSportsNet unique from any traditional sports site, is that we are 100 percent dedicated to serving the ‘huge niche’ of Catholic sports and that Catholicism will be the underlying theme of all content,” Fehder said. “The tradition, the values, the alumni base, the success of athletes and programs across the country, and the incredible stories are what makes this venture so special.”

Joining Fehder’s team is author, writer, and former Louisville Courier-Journal sports editor Billy Reed. Member of both the U.S. Basketball and Kentucky Journalism Hall of Fames, Reed has written over 800 articles during a 29-year association with Sports Illustrated, and has penned over a dozen books pertaining to topics ranging from Freedom Hall to Paul Hornung to the world-famous Kentucky Derby.

“I’m excited to be a part of this new venture because it will embrace two things that are dear to me – high journalistic principles and positive stories about the sports world,” said Reed, CSN’s senior editorial advisor and consultant. “CSN should be the place to go for anybody interested in what’s happening with Catholic schools and athletes both locally and around the nation.”

CatholicSportsNet has other projects on the horizon, including the development of local and regional Catholic sports sites that will provide hyper-local coverage to the schools and teams of specific cities around the country. In addition, CSN plans to schedule a series of online “webinars” that high school and college athletes, coaches, and fans can attend virtually. They will feature and contain compelling topics and guest speakers who will educate and entertain the viewers.

CSN will offer a wide variety of marketing options for traditional advertisers, in addition to the opportunity for schools to put their campuses, programs, and achievements on display within the CSN College Roadshow – a resource that will give potential students a chance to learn more about educational opportunities at various Catholic institutions.

“From online to on the field, our goal is to be the leader in Catholic sports,” said Fehder. “Our team is extremely excited about the potential of (CSN) and looks forward to connecting with thousands of Catholics who share the same values and passion for sports. As we say at CSN, we are Catholic sports.”

CatholicSportsNet (CSN) is a media company that serves as an aggregator of news and producer of content pertaining to the overall achievements of Catholic high school and collegiate sports teams, student-athletes, and coaches. CSN houses nine employees in Louisville, Ky., in addition to a stable of national contributors and analysts. More information on CSN can be found at www.catholicsportsnet.com

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Vatican sports foundation criticizes FIFA for trying to ban religious expressions

July 20, 2010

Rome, Italy  (CNA) — The president of the John Paul II Foundation for Sports, Eddio Constantini, has severely criticized the president of the International Soccer Association Board (FIFA), Joseph Blatter, for seeking to prohibit religious speech during matches. Blatter’s action came after the Brazilian team huddled for a prayer at the conclusion of the Confederations Cup.

Constantini explained that “Blatter and the soccer federation Denmark are mistaken, it is an error to purge sports of those ethical values that the Christian faith and the Catholic Church have defended for centuries.”

His statements came in response to comments by the FIFA president about the Brazilian players huddling for prayer after their victory over the United States. He called their gesture “a danger” and said there was “no room for religion in soccer.”  Blatter has also promised he would prohibit any kind of religious expression during the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

Constantini said the comments by Blatter were not new and pointed to his “ultimatum” to the Brazilian team for a similar gesture after the 2002 world championships.  “I would argue that it is precisely the gradual abandoning of religious and ethical values that has been the cause of the moral degradation that is affecting soccer and sports in general,” he added.

“Only a revolution from below that is capable of training wholesome athletes and individuals will be able to restore the authentic meaning to sports that is under threat from violence, drugs, racism and money,” Constantini stated.

The John Paul II Foundation for Sports was launched in July of 2008.  Among its objectives is the organization of a triennial program of national and international sporting events focused on promote human dignity, especially among young people.

On that occasion Constantini said it was not coincidental that the launching of the Foundation coincided with the opening of the Pauline Year.  “In his letters St. Paul often refers to the Christian life as a sports race which at the end will be awarded with an imperishable crown.”

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Gun Saint Society Honors Fort Hood Police Heroes

April 5, 2010

TITUSVILLE, Fla. (MetroCatholic) Fort Hood, Texas police Sgts. Mark Todd and Kimberly Munley this week wore St. Gabriel Possenti Society honor medallions presented by Society Founder-Chairman John M. Snyder here at the American Police Hall of Fame (APHF) during its Law Enforcement Officers of the Year banquet.

(A high resolution image of the photo by Ling Woo is available on request by email to [email protected].)

On November 5, Todd and Munley responded to a call at Fort Hood shortly after a suspect had fatally shot 13 people and wounded 31 others. They apprehended Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, and likely prevented other deaths and injuries. Munley is still recovering from injuries received during the incident.

Munley and Todd told reporters they were within feet of the suspect when he was shot and captured.

“Sgts. Munley and Todd exemplify the courage, commitment to justice, and skillful use of handguns so appreciated by the Society,” said Snyder. “Indeed, it is a pleasure as well as a privilege to honor them.”

The Society’s patron, St. Gabriel Possenti, used handguns in 1860 to rescue villagers in Isola del Gran Sasso, Italy from a gang of terrorizing marauders. He died of natural causes in 1862. Pope Benedict XV canonized him in 1920. The Society seeks his official Vatican designation as Patron of Handgunners. It emphasizes the historical, philosophical and theological bases for the right of self-defense.

Snyder serves on the boards of the National Association of Chiefs of Police (NACOP) and the American Federation of Police and Concerned Citizens. Both support APHF.

According to the recently-completed NACOP postal survey of America’s chiefs of police and sheriffs, 77 percent of the nation’s law enforcement command officers believe general recognition throughout the states of permits to carry concealed handguns issued by a state would facilitate the violent crime-fighting potential of the professional law enforcement community; 71 percent think qualified, law-abiding armed citizens can be of assistance to the professional law enforcement community in promoting justice and reducing the incidence of violent criminal activity; and 95 percent believe any law-abiding citizen should be able to purchase a firearm for sport or self-defense.

A former National Rifle Association magazine editor, Snyder is Public Affairs Director of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, and Treasurer of the Second Amendment Foundation.

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