By CHRISSY SMITH
Slidell Sports Editor
SLIDELL – Getting pumped up before the season is always an important part for any team.
The Pope John Paul Jaguars got that pep talk last week when Country Day Head Coach Tommy Mathews and Fellowship of Christian Athletes Regional President Gary Fayard spoke to the PJP athletes at their annual spaghetti dinner banquet.
PJP Head Coach Mark Jeanmard kicked off the dinner by saying, “We are a family; not just a team. So that’s why we all eat dinner together. It’s been a family affair this season.”
Mathews spoke before the spaghetti was served. As a former Tulane baseball player and Tulane Baseball Hall of Famer, Mathews told the crowd that they are lucky to have Jeanmard as a head coach and athletic director.
“He’s very dedicated and keeps trying to be the best. It’s amazing the things that can happen if you have the right mindset,” Mathews said.
The CD coach played five years in the minor leagues after being drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals.
“I had a coach who was really tough on me, and I never knew why until I was drafted. When your coaches are tough on you, it’s not because they are making a lot of money; it’s because they love you. Have a good attitude and do all you can,” Mathews said. “You have one shot at this. You don’t want to live with regret because that’s a tough emotion to live with. Years from now, you want people to have positive things to say about you.”
Raffle tickets were purchased after Mathews spoke for a Drew Brees signed football and $200 gift certificate to Schaeffer’s in Slidell.
Fayard then spoke to the crowd and focused on being the kind of person God wants each individual to be.
“Do you want God to use you this year?” Fayard asked. “God wants to use you, but you need an attitude of being unstoppable. The enemy of great is good. This might be the last time you ever play this sport, so be unstoppable.”
The banquet raised $1,000 for PJP athletics. Eva Traider, who purchased several raffle tickets, won both the Schaeffer’s gift card and signed Brees football.