The other day brought a serious ethical dilemma.
One of my sons plays on a basketball team within the Stonington Community Center, affectionately known as “The COMO”.
Mystic Aquarium is very supportive of COMO as an important community resource. They do so much good work beyond sports, including after school youth programs and many charitable endeavors.
So apparently The COMO named a basketball team in honor of Mystic Aquarium, and it turned out that my son’s team was playing the Mystic Aquarium team! What a test of loyalty!
It reminded me of my time as a youth worker in a little town called Hartford, Kentucky located in Ohio County, in the western part of the state.
Sadly, and not unlike many other communities, there was palpable misunderstanding between people of different faiths and backgrounds. In this case, Catholics were very much a minority religious group and not very well understood. Many of the Catholics in the area had moved in from other parts of the country in recent years, and there were a growing number of Mexican Catholics immigrating to the area. They were all “outsiders” and, as the sign above says, a few “soreheads” would lead the grousing.
Basketball is a big deal in Kentucky. The regional high school championship came down to two teams; Ohio County High School (OCHS) and Owensboro Catholic High School (OCHS).
Father Joe O’Donnell was the pastor of three Catholic parishes in Western Kentucky and well known and respected for his work in bringing various faith groups together. But still a few of the soreheads always tried to trip him up.
As the championship game approached, he was being asked more and more everywhere he went, “whose side are you on, Father, our home team or the Catholic team?”
His answer was always the same, spoken with a broad smile, “Why I’m for OCHS, of course!”
My son’s game was incredibly close. At 1:44 the game was tied 33 to 33. With just 51 seconds left, one of the teams scored and then scored again, quickly for a final score of 37 to 33.
I won’t tell you who won or whom I was cheering for. I will say that my son was happy and I took this picture to capture my sentiments:
Our mission might sometimes be Conservation, Education, Research and Sports! It was great to see the excitement that permeated Mystic Aquarium before, and then after, the Superbowl LI, via a challenge to Georgia Aquarium and then naming a soon to be released seal after a Patriots player.
The New England Patriots have appreciated the support they received from the Mystic Aquarium team. Please click this link to read an article featured on their website.
Thank you to our Facilities staff and many others who worked so hard to clear the campus of snow and ice – and a tree – over the past week’s storms. We appreciate your dedication and diligence.
See you all soon!
Dr Stephen Coan | May 19th, 2017
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