by Marc and Julie Anderson
TOPEKA — There will be six men ordained to the priesthood for the archdiocese this month. And that still won’t be enough to field a basketball team of the size of the Runnin’ Revs’ perennial opponent, the Serra All-Stars.
That’s because the All-Stars, composed of eighth-grade and high school players from Catholic schools in Topeka, outnumber the Revs — composed of priests of the archdiocese — nearly four to one.
But numbers didn’t count for everything at the game played at Hayden High School in Topeka on April 29.
The event was one of two annual games held to raise funds for the archdiocese’s 31 seminarians. The Revs also played at Bishop Miege High School in Roeland Park on March 4. Together, the two games raised $3,153.03 — all of which will help the seminarians pay for books and supplies during their years of study and preparation for the priesthood.
Prior to the game, Father Dan Morris, the archdiocesan vocations director, noted that while he played basketball at Seaman High School in north Topeka, he typically didn’t get to play on what is now known as the Ben Meseke Court located in Hayden’s Ken Bueltel Activities Complex.
“I was never good enough to actually play on this court back in the day,” said Father Morris, but joked how he appreciated the Hayden High School community readying the court for his return.
He also explained how the game had only two rules. The first, he said, is that the young men on the All-Stars team who make the first two baskets have a special mission.
“Those men have been named by God to enter the seminary,” he said, drawing more laughter from the crowd.
The second rule, said Father Morris, is that a player could not foul a Catholic priest as it constitutes a mortal sin.
If they did, however, not to fear. Monsignor Mike Mullen, who served as the Runnin’ Revs coach, was available for confessions on the bench.
Again, his comments drew much laughter from the crowd.
After an opening prayer led by Father Morris, the tipoff landed the ball with the Runnin’ Revs, who failed to score on their opening possession.
In fact, without a shot clock, between two and three minutes elapsed before the priests scored their first basket. And for much of the first half, despite several fouls, the All-Stars, coached by Hayden president James Sandstrom and Louis Funk, led against the Runnin’ Revs.
By halftime, the score was 26-22 in favor of the All-Stars. But the priests bounced back in the second half. When the final buzzer sounded, the Revs won the game by a margin of 12 points, with a score of 61-49.
The event concluded with both teams and visitors enjoying pizza and fellowship in the school cafeteria.