Leo Alumni pump several hundred thousand dollars into financial assistance that helps the current 'brawny stalwarts' get a quality Catholic college prep education.
The Leo Alumni are largely middle aged white Catholic guys from the parishes and Leo students are black kids from the neighborhoods of Gresham, Auburn, Grand Crossing, Chatham, Brainerd, and Englewood - most are non-Catholic.
Tough guys give back.
Last night Leo played two very tough sophomore and varsity Brother Rice basketball teams. Both games were squeakers - by 4 points. The Varsity behind Paul Beene, Issac "Too Much Science" Smith and my pal Malcolm McFarland managed to get by a tough disciplined and graceful Brother Rice Squad 76-72.
Paul Beene, Malcolm McFarland and Isaac Smith III keyed the Lions (12-6, 5-3) victory. Smith opened the overtime with a layup to give the Leo the lead it would never relinquish. McFarland followed that with a spinning layup and Beene connected on three of four free throws to put the Lions ahead 66-59 with 1:29 left in overtime. Rice (11-5, 5-3) committed four turnovers in that same time frame.
Beene held the hot hand all game and led the Lions with 26 points including 8 of 10 from the free throw line in overtime. McFarland added 16 and Smith contributed 14.
The Lady Who Holds My Heart accompanied me to Leo High School's storied gym and witnessed real life played out on the same hard-wood floors that formed the character of Illinois State Senator Ed Maloney, Legendary Sports Journalist Dan McGrath, Insurance Man Frank McDermott, NIU Coach and Toronto Raptor Star Donnie Whiteside, Bro Farrell,Jackie Schaller, Bill and Jack Hessian, Bob Kozlowski, Ray Topps, Jerry Schimtt, Chico Driscoll, Harry Valadex, Bobby Lake, Tom O'Malley and the legendary Jack Fitzgerald.
Alumni President Rich Furlong along with Larry Lynch, Gene Earner, John Gardiner, Dave Cheval and the ever present Frank McDermott herded more than one hundred Alumni Association members to cheer on the Young Lions. There always Alumni at Leo Games, but this crowd was especially animated to meet the challenging squads of Pat Richardson's Crusaders ( Rice and Leo, along with St. Lawrence in Burbank were directed by the Irish Christian Brothers).
The Old Lions have teeth that gnaw into savings and checking accounts to make sure that our young Leo Lions bite hard.
God Bless All Leo Men.
My beautiful, elegant and delicate Love of My Life judged "They are all such gentlemen."
Tough guys always seem to be just that.