Calvert Hall's Sean Mayberry smiles after watching Thomas… (Monica Lopossay / Photo…)
The Calvert Hall boys basketball team spent part of Monday at Loyola's gym, but the typical intensity that comes when the rivals are together was nowhere to be found.
Instead, there was common ground.
The usual competitive fire will resume Thursday when the teams meet in the Baltimore Catholic League quarterfinal round. But for Calvert Hall, Loyola and the six other BCL schools Monday, it was an invaluable chance to give back.
All eight teams spent the day providing various community services, paired in two and working in conjunction with the Catholic Charities of Baltimore.
Players from Calvert Hall and Loyola shared their basketball skills with Gallagher Services, an organization that cares for people with developmental disabilities.
John Carroll and St. Frances, one day removed from playing in Sunday's Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference championship game, came together to visit the Jenkins Senior Living Community. Mount St. Joseph, Mount Carmel, Archbishop Spalding and St. Maria Goretti also reached out to the community with planned activities.
"All the schools in the Catholic League are about service to others. It's an enriching day for our individuals — it's just outstanding. I think what the boys will learn today is that this experience is as enriching to them as it is for the individuals from the Catholic Charities," said Bill McCarthy, executive director of Catholic Charities of Baltimore.
Last summer, school administrators and BCL officials met and an idea emerged to reach out and give back to the community. The idea was impressively executed Monday.
"For years, it was all about basketball and Catholic schools playing basketball together," said Loyola principal Anthony Day. "The principals got together and thought it would be a great idea to highlight what we're all about — the heart of our mission — and that's putting the needs of others in front of our own. It also was an opportunity to bring all the schools together and enjoy each other's company outside of the competition."
So there was Calvert Hall red and Loyola blue scattered all over the gym — coming together to play a number of three-on-three games with eager participants from Gallagher savoring their time on the court.
"It's definitely a different experience and we're having a lot of fun with it," said Loyola senior captain Dave Marsh. "I know a lot of people did a lot to make this happen and we want to thank them for that. We're just doing our little part to help out."
Celebrating its 40th postseason tournament on Thursday, the BCL hopes to see the volunteer day also become an annual event.
"Hopefully this is the first of a long thing," said BCL commissioner Jack Degele. "I think this is an excellent opportunity for the league, the schools and the kids to give back to the community."